The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts
- Marcus Aurelius
Thoughts such as anger, resentment and frustration set our mental filter, distorting our perception and increasing whatever feeling is boiling away. That moment of road-rage is caused by a distorted view of an innocuous event, but we were already angry or frustrated, our perception makes the action of the other driver a personal attack ‘how dare they’.
While Thinking or feeling such thoughts it is impossible to see happiness or beauty, or more simply to see the events for what they are. When we hold virtuous thoughts such as compassion, contentment our mental filter prioritises the things around us that stimulate happiness.
When we are angry we see ‘that darn bird making all that noise’, when we are compassionate we will see ‘that bird, working so hard to find food in the morning for its young’ and likely briefly smile! It’s the same bird just doing its thing, the quality of our thoughts determine whether we perceive seeing the bird as irritation or something that nourishes us.
With our close colleagues and family the same filtering occurs, depending on our quality of thoughts our kids DIY drum kit brings a smile to our face through their ingenuity or a noisy interruption to our phone call.
Compassionate thinking in regards to ourselves and others is a powerful way to hold quality thoughts. Techniques such as mindfulness meditation to bring awareness of our thoughts and daily gratitude lists to focus our perception on what nourishes us help increase the quality of the thoughts we hold.
When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.
- Marcus Aurelius
Keen to know more about Marcus Aurelius? Read my review of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor