“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
Peace of mind can only come with the realization that there is never going to be a point in your life in which you are finally “complete”, a point where everything is in place and in order, a place where you don’t have to work or move anymore, it’s inexistent (actually, no, there is such a point, it’s called death).
But while you’re still in this world, you still have to live, you also want to live good, so peace of mind is a must in the business of living.
Peace of mind will only arrive once you close and kick off the loop of “work/do — get — be happy/fulfilled — repeat” and realize that the thought of needing to get “somewhere” all the time is false, you’ve always been already “there”, there never was nor is anywhere to go but where you are right now.
Peace of mind will not come once you “make it”, you’ve already “made it”, you are “making it” at every moment. You don’t need anything outside what you are at any moment to have peace of mind and feel complete and at ease, everything else is a lie.
Wherever you go, there you are — Buckaroo Banzai
Okay, this needs some serious explanation, doesn’t it?
Right, let’s understand the need for completion first.
Once you’ve fulfilled your basic needs, there comes a point in which you are looking for fulfillment. I want to talk about that craving, which has become a toxic trait of our society.
Since you were a kid, you were conditioned to believe that you needed to do several things in life to ‘make it’. Such as marrying a good girl or man, going to school, get a good job and the classic stuff you already know. Society makes you believe that once you get that next thing and set your life in order you will feel complete and free to enjoy life.
It’s almost as if society gave you a list with a couple of checkmarks that, once marked, you’d be given permission to enjoy and lay back, to finally have peace of mind, to be liberated.
But the thing that they don’t tell you is that the checkmarks are infinite, there is always going to be more and more. Add to this the uncertainty of life and the fact that everything can fall apart just because.
This “search” is the same as the one of the heroin addict. It’s an endless search of highs and lows that will always leave you wanting more, never fully satisfying yourself.
Peace of mind will not come with this mind frame. It will just worsen.
If you look around you, you’ll realize that we all are within this impossible mind frame. Always looking for more and more, never satisfied with what we have. Do you remember the first iPhone? What number are we now on? It’s manic.
“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. ” ― Seneca
You cannot rely on this manic cycle to feel good about yourself, be fulfilled, and possess the liberating peace of mind we are all looking for.
Close the loop and embrace incompletion
So, basically you are saying that I should not care about getting anything anymore?
It’s not that simple. Caring about the joys of life is not inherently bad, what can be good (beneficial) or bad (not beneficial) for you is the place where you are coming from. (If you are interested in this topic, go to the stoic indifferents)
If you think that you’ll eventually find peace of mind once you get something, you are already wrong. Nothing external can provide you with peace of mind if that is what you are looking for. There is always going to be more and because of this, peace of mind is unachievable within that mind frame.
Is peace of mind possible after all?
Yes, but not on that paradigm
So, the first step to find peace of mind relies on knowing that completion is not the way to obtain it.
Incompletion is, paradoxically, completion, it has to become your new comfort zone.
The only thing that is constant and that you can rely on no matter what is yourself.
You and only you are the one that “live”. Not your car, not your achievements, nothing but you and the present moment. The highest value, therefore, is yourself, you and your responses, you and your attitudes, the person you become at each moment, the person you choose to be at any moment.
And the good news is that you don’t need anything, you are you all the time, you are “already there”.
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
― Marcus Aurelius
Bear this in mind, if you don’t embrace the moment and yourself in it, if you don’t stop running and take hold of yourself again, you’ll end up chasing ghosts your entire life, and you will realize at the end of it, that you didn’t live one day at all.
Living can only happen at the moment and you cannot enjoy the moment and yourself in it if you’re always thinking that “something is missing”, you don’t need anything else other than yourself and your capacity to face situations at each moment.
The fun part about life is finding value in who you are and what you are becoming at each moment, and if you are able to understand this, you’ll not just have peace of mind, you’ll begin to find life fun and engaging, you’ll be able to find life as a game again.
The solution is simple, just like freedom, no one is going to give it to you, you have to take it for yourself.
Close the cycle. Realize that there is no completion, there is not one point where you will be “enough”, in the paradigm of the search.
So close it, be ok with being incomplete, stop needing everything to achieve peace of mind, realize that you don’t need anything to be ok other than who you are at any moment. If you do this you’ll realize that you are, paradoxically, complete at each and every moment, ready to rock life.
a great complement to this read: Why And How To Focus On The Present Moment
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