“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” – Marcus Aurelius
The general idea that you have complete control of how you react to external situations has recently been bombarded at me from a number of blogs that I follow and the ever growing list of audiobooks I have been tuning into will trekking around Ann Arbor (He’s Just Not That Into You, The Four Agreements, A Return to Love, Spirit Junkie, and currently A New Earth, all within the last 2 weeks to be exact… I do a lot of walking).
Last night I think that I had a breakthrough. I’ve recently been struggling – more so than usual – with the idea of doing things that I don’t enjoy doing. Specifically my physics homework. Don Miguel Ruiz, in the Four Agreements, speaks of embracing death in order to truly appreciate the joy that is life. Essentially, how would you act if it was the last day that you were alive?
Let me tell you, if it was my last day on earth, I would not be staying up until 5 a.m. trying to get my Python program to pump out a correct graph of a Fourier transform. I wouldn’t even do that if I knew it was my last year on earth.
With this situation, my rational mind always steps in and reminds me that I have less than 2 months left in college (insert happy dance here). Yes, I could drop out now. Or switch my major. But I’m not going to do that. Unless I have some divine intervention and find out that my death is more looming than I realize, but let’s not go there…
My external situation of taking a class that does not rev my engine like frolicking around in the sunshine, reading a good book, or chomping through a salad does, but it is a situation that is not changing in the present moment.
So what am I going to do about it? Stop complaining. Stop procrastinating. Make friends with the present moment. And choose to find the zen in the numbers.