"What's in your mind?" Do you even dare ask it? Do you ever explore that territory, or is it uncharted or unfamiliar? A penny for your thoughts...
There is much trouble in the world today. That is actually a gross understatement. But it has always been true - there has always been trouble in the world.
I just came across a quote by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor (161-180), last of the five “good emperors” of the Roman Empire. To be sure, I do not ascribe to this entire quote as truth. I merely find it interesting - it is a jump-off point for some thoughts. Here it is:
“Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, sea-shores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind. Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself; and let thy principles be brief and fundamental...See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present, and the emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and want of judgement in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of the space within which it is circumscribed, and be quiet at last. For the whole earth is a point, and how small a nook in it is this thy dwelling, and how few are there in it, and what kind of people are they who will praise thee.”
Marcus Aurelius is known to be a proponent of the stoic philosophy which was a major body of thought during the Greek and Roman period of history, before and after the life of Jesus. There are so many directions that this article could go, but I will allow the reader to explore the other directions. The Greek philosophy that grew and developed into Western thought patterns is fascinating.
I would like to focus on just what is in our minds. What fills our thoughts?
If our minds are filled with trash, then to "retire into thyself" (from the above quote) would be to enter a sea of trash, like jumping for some into a virtual cesspool of filth! Not very peaceful, to be sure. How might we change that? How can we have peace in this world of trouble and chaos?
We choose what to put into our heads, by what we read, what we see, what we hear, what we fill our hearts with.
"The steadfast of mind You (God) will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You." (Isaiah 26.3)
"...and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Matt. 22.37; Mark 12.30; Luke 10.27)
"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so." (Rom. 8.6-7)
A few verses from The Bible always come to mind for me when I wonder what can bring some peace to the troubled soul. I have spent much time studying the Bible, for in it we can learn such incredible basic elements for understanding and living life, for dealing with life's issues. Trust me - The Bible is not just an ancient irrelevant book! It is filled with truth, and wisdom, and the best of the best philosophy ("love - or lover - of wisdom") for life.
One more very key passage from the treasures to be found in The Bible:
Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4.5-9)
The key to all of this is knowing that God loves you - He created us, He knows what we need, He loves us, and He is always near us. Many today (and throughout history) say this is a fairy tale or just hooey. I trust it, and you can as well. It makes a lot more sense to me than that we all just came from nothing. You can believe what you want, but as for me, I will trust in God's love.
Quotes are from a computer program called "BerBible," using the New American Standard Translation.
BerBible is simplified Bible freeware with an easy learning curve because only the most used capabilities are implemented with the getting started 'Minimal Layout':
* lookup a specific verse (such as John 3:16)
* find verses with one or more words (super-concordance)
BerBible has tutorials for new and experienced users. There are menu-items within 'Help' to view the basic and extended tutorials online.
Context-sensitive-help can be shown for any toolbar button by 'hovering'. Get help for other controls by clicking on the "What's This" question-mark icon in the upper right and then clicking on what you want information about.
Build Date: 2009-Jan-05
Web Address: http://www.berbible.org
Copyright: ©2003-2009 ... Lynn Allan