Friday, December 14, 2012


Sometimes life can feel like a war with its conflicting desires and hopes and anguish and joy. The gnashing and clashing are sometimes louder, sometimes softer, but whatever the volume and intensity, still the desire to be at peace infuses what can seem like a battle ground.

This morning I find myself thinking of Marcus Aurelius (121-180), a Roman emperor whose "Meditations" remain to this day as examples of a man with peace on his mind. He wrote the "Meditations" over a ten-year period (170-180) while he was in an actual-factual war, extending and consolidating the reach of the Roman Empire. So, on the one hand, there was the war without and on the other hand there was the war within, each seeking peace of one kind or another.

Is there a truer aphorism than "misery loves company?" Maybe so. Maybe not. But it does seem to bring a little perspective in a personal life to recognize that others in distant times and faraway places were doing precisely the same thing and fighting precisely the same battles that anyone involved in spiritual (or any other?) practice might. Not that their experience or conclusions need to cloud the latter-day scene ... it's just a bit consoling to think that Marcus Aurelius or Lao Tzu (if he existed), or Jesus or Gautama or your grandmother or grandfather, or ... pick your fave... were doing the same stuff.

Misery loves company.

A consolation of sorts.

But can consolations ever truly console that which seeks peace?

I doubt it.

Now get to work. :)

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