“A bitter cucumber? Throw it away. Brambles in my path? Go round them. That is all you need, without going to ask, ‘So why are these things in the world this way?’ This question would be laughable to a student of nature, just as a carpenter or cobbler would laugh at you if you objected to the sight of shavings or cut-offs from their work on the shop floor. Yet they have somewhere to throw their rubbish, whereas the nature of the Whole has nothing outside of itself. The marvel of its craft is that is sets its own confines and recycles into itself all within them which seems to be decaying, growing old, or losing its use: then it creates afresh from this same material. This way it requires no substance other than its own, and has no need for a rubbish-dump. So it is complete in its own space, its own material and its own craftsmanship.” – Meditations 8.50
See things as this, that in regard to our ultimate reality, there is no end nor beginning from our atoms to our environment. When a thing blocks your path or creates a bump in your road, simply manoeuvre, there is no need for some panic. You will get to where you’re going like all of us in the end. From your mistakes to other’s mistakes, do away with it and carry on. In the case of Marcus Aurelius” bitter cucumber, we find a solution such as learning to wait until it ripens or find a better grocer. What panic is there? If we find our loves failing us and our hearts fatiguing with each latest drama or shadowed causation, what is there to do other than identify, do away, and move on?
It’s Todorov’s Narrative Theory making its way into my thoughts again:
- Recognition of disruption
- Attempt to repair
- New Equilibrium – link back to Step 1.
Things are as they are, and we can only control our reactions to them. It is down to us to decide whether to react or overreact to stimuli – of course, the former being the only logical choice in regard to the benefit of the self and humanity entire. What does making a scene over bitter cucumbers do? What does making a scene about a friend ghosting you on social media do, or ignoring facemask regulations during a pandemic, or being stuck in traffic? Hot air does nothing but contribute to global warming, I say.
You have everything you need in life whether you realize it or not. If you have nothing, you have everything and if you have everything, you have nothing. I pity the morose billionaire in their Dubai mansion with an M&M dispensary room and three home cinemas, I really do. How discontent with their own being they must be to crave and desire more and more brick and mortar. It all returns to the earth in the end and as fleeting as a tent in a side street of London.
Live and breathe your path and the obstacles you come across can be overcome without so much a whisper of contempt. No time machine exists to remove them before they appear so you can only accept that they do and will and that you will overcome them.
With a smile, always. It may take you a while to smile, but you will.