"...from the thoughts the soul takes its color" - Marcus Aurelius

"According to the nature of the objects which you imagine most frequently, your mind will also be directed; for it is from thoughts that the soul takes its color."

- Marcus Aurelius

First, I'd like to put this quote into slightly more modern words to make the content a little more understandable.
"Your mind will take the form of the thoughts you most often imagine. So will your attitude; for from thoughts the mind takes its color."

So let's think often about how well we are doing:

  • That we have a full stomach.
  • That we are healthy.
  • That we had a nice day with friends.

This is how we shape our minds in a positive direction.

However, we often think about how bad we are.

  • That we would like to have a faster car.
  • That we should be more beautiful.
  • That we do not have the latest clothes.

This is how we shape our mind in a negative direction.

I chose this quote because Marcus Aurelius lived over 1800 years ago and was way ahead of his time. Because especially in modern psychology there is the phenomenon of selective perception.

According to this, we humans look for patterns in everyday life and find them even where there are none. We take actual information and relate it to unrelated events. For example, we draw the conclusion that we are stupid from a bad grade in school. Or from a hot cup of tea that the rainy weather outside is nice.

In order to draw information for our mind from the outside world, we must consider that each one of us perceives everything around us very individually and subjectively. That this perception, like a filter, works for life as it actually takes place.

The first filter is our sensory organs. That is: seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting.

These are the interfaces of our body with the outside world. If someone works a lot with their hands, they become harder, which ensures that rough surfaces don't seem quite so rough. A skilled cook can taste more ingredients out of a meal than a layperson. A composer probably takes more out of a song than the average listener.

So how we perceive the world varies significantly from person to person based on the sensory organs and their skill.

The second filter is how we deal with the information we receive in our thinking. Whether we put them directly into a drawer or whether we break them down to the smallest possible component and consider each one individually.

In my experience, it is much easier to process new information by breaking it down into small pieces that are easy to understand. For example, I can put a longboard fall directly into the "stupidity" drawer.

But I can also consider:

  • What was the reason for this fall.
  • I was too fast.
  • Was the soil too wet.
  • Lay a stone on the ground.
  • Could still have pulled into the grass strip.
  • I should have been more grateful when my knee didn't hurt.

The event doesn't change, but my attitude towards the experience does.

Now to return to the quote from Marcus Aurelius: How and what we think has a powerful effect on the quality of our life. We should definitely pay attention to what we think and what kind of thoughts we have.

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