Silent Retreat: My Take-Away Thanks to Marcus Aurelius


How was your silent retreat yesterday? Remember that it doesn’t matter if you had 15 minutes or the whole day to spend in silence. The point was to sit in silence so that you can listen and hear what’s within you–what’s always been within you.

For my silent retreat, I chose to contemplate a few thoughts of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor:

“Where a man can live, he can also live well.”

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

“Remember that very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

To me, what these quotes are saying is that no matter what has or hasn’t happened in my life, if I lived to tell about it–if it didn’t kill me–then I still have the ability to live well, as long as I choose to live well.

I can let situations, issues, past events, other people control me and direct my life. But it would be me choosing to let the outside have power over me. It wouldn’t be them–the people, the situations, the past–demanding and imposing their power on me, it would be me giving them that power.

So if I have the power, then I can do something about beautifying where I am right now.

Marcus Aurelius’ quote “…very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, your way of thinking.” points the way. It’s up to me to choose to enjoy the very first moments of the new day, for instance, whether it’s sunny or rainy, whether I live in a mansion or a studio apartment. Even if I work in a job I dislike, I can choose to pause a moment and remind myself that this job is a stepping-stone to something better. I can also pause a moment and remind myself of the skills and knowledge that I am gaining, even in a job I dislike.

I can pick a few wildflowers and put them in a vase on my kitchen table; I can keep my environment neat and tidy, even if it is very humble; I can give others the benefit of the doubt; I can go to the public library and use their resources to improve myself….

None of these things takes a million dollars; none of these takes special skill; none of these require that I be a rocket scientist!

Every single one of these things are well within my abilities to do for myself. And you can do them, too!

Such good news!!

What was your take-away from yesterday’s Silent Retreat? Let me know in the comments below!

Please pass this post along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


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