Monday, May 14, 2012

Marcus on Monday: Meditation 4:17


Last week I skipped because I did not realize I had already written one of these out. Also, I was having some Frantic Flailing and Panicking to get out of the way. 

Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good while life and power are still yours.

It seems to me that most people end up living from moment to moment. They are not able to plan very far ahead because the situation they are in is too unstable. They may also lack the ability to organize their lives for one reason or another. Having been (and being in) that situation makes you wish you had a few hundred years of breathing space, but I can’t really think of anyone who has ever been in a situation where they actually did have all the time they needed on their hands.


(But Marcus Aurelius was an emperor, so maybe he had all the time he needed.)

This meditation is about opportunity and a little bit about luck, or making your own luck. It is about finding that perfect moment where you can take action and that action will have a result. (Most of the time, it can seem like any action you take will either result in nothing at best and failure at worst.)

The problem here is recognizing that moment before it passes you by, which is another thing that many people have trouble with doing. How do you recognize that moment? What separates a good opportunity from a pipe dream? Can one turn out to be the other? It is very normal to hesitate, to lack confidence, especially when you have had previous moments where you took a risk and had the goal you were reaching for blow up in your face.

A phrase about getting back onto the horse that threw you comes to mind at the moment, but that might not always be good advice. (For instance, the horse may have headed off around the building and you might have broken bones.) Being too cautious on the other hand just means that you are stuck in a rut or paralyzed. Neither situation is one you ever want to be in.