How does one achieve an organized mind? First, let’s see what Marcus Aurelius says about this.
“You need to avoid certain things in your train of thought: Everything random, everything irrelevant. And certainly, everything self-important or malicious. You need to get used to winnowing your thoughts, so that if someone says, ‘What are you thinking about?’ you can respond at once (and truthfully) that you are thinking this or thinking that.”
Thinking is not easy. Just as I’m writing this I am struggling to correct my train of thought so that I can be clearly understood. I hope I’m successful in my intention. I want to talk about two bad habits we all inccure into when we think.
#1 Self absorption
There is a difference between doing something and “trying to do something”. When we are actually doing something we enter into the famous and thoughtless flow state. When we are merely trying to do something, the ego comes into play and it becomes a very, very strong obstacle to do what we intend to do.
The ego becomes a heavy burden and makes us care about what is not even important. Being self-absorbed is a terrible habit. My first glimpse of this bad habit was while I was still in university and I raised my hand to answer some question in a geopolitics class. This was a hard topic and to think about a solid answer is hard, but what made it even harder was thinking about how I looked while answering the question.
What made the task hard was choosing the words and the attitudes to “try to appear smart”. When you are at the ego mode of doing stuff you do not care about doing the right things and do them correctly. You are to busy monitoring yourself to maintain an image that you deem important, shooting yourself in the foot because you are not doing what needs to actually be done. This is the difference between trying and being. When you “are” something, there is no ego, there is just right action and a comforting silence in our heads.
#2 Not being clear on your purpose
You can tell the size of a man by the size of his problems.
You are quite unique you know. You are quite random as well. There is not one single person in the entire universe (really) that has experienced the same stuff you have. This is your most valuable asset. You are valuable not in how similar you are to others but in how different. This concept is extremely important, to define your purpose clearly you need to do the highest possible good. This is contribution. What do you like the most, what are the unique ways in which only you can contribute?
Think about this, you may think that you have to scorn the things that you like to not be egoistic (like maintaining your hobbies just as “hobbies” and keep working at something you hate). But by not giving the world the gift of your specific set of traits and abilities you are actually priving us of the best stuff you can offer. If we do not like our job or life situation and we keep at it as if we were being forced, we are just reenforcing us being egoistic and afraid. This is where the bad habit #2 comes into play. We have to contribute by being the best possible self we can aspire to be, be that writing, dancing or fixing cars. This is why you have to be clear on what you want so you can be it and become absorbed in the process and not in how you look while doing stuff you don’t even like.
If you correct these two bad habits, you will have an organaized stoic mind. You will live in the present and you’ll enjoy more life generally as you are doing what you and what everyone of us needs you to be doing, contributing. Farewell.
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