“Your ability to control your thoughts − treat it with respect. It’s all that protects your mind from false perceptions − false to your nature, and that of all rational beings. It’s what makes thoughtfulness possible, and affection for other people, and submission to the divine.” − Marcus Aurelius
I find it hard to ascribe to the belief that emptying the mind leads those who hunger and thirst after righteousness to an awareness of God. A mind can be filled with distractions and inanities, of course, but can an empty glass quench thirst or a clean plate satisfy hunger?
Rather than emptying your mind, why not fill it − deliberately if not passionately − with those things consistent with your highest vision?
Should I ignore the ugly facts of life, pretend I don’t see them?
− No. He who looks at the world with true vision will see the flaws and imperfections around him. True love is not blind.
Won’t the evils in our world consume us if we stop fighting them, pushing them back?
− No. In fact, evil will decrease if it is not fed by those so-called “good” people who oppose evil using evil means.
So I can refuse to turn a blind eye to evil but not resist it?
− Yes. Both are necessary if you wish to maintain control of your thoughts and avoid false perceptions.
How then is evil overcome?
− Evil contains the seeds of its own destruction and will eventually undo itself. It needs no vanquisher. Evil is sustained primarily by the energy directed toward it by so-called “good” people fighting the “good” fight.
Are you saying that I should stop trying to be good? Is there no point?
− There is a point to the revelation of virtue, in fact, it is the radiant expression of virtue (grounded in truth and manifesting as blessing) which extinguishes evil by depriving it of its primary source of fuel.
So focusing my thoughts on virtue will allow me to be more thoughtful, caring with respect to my fellows and closer to God?
− Indeed. But you cannot stop there. Self-awareness and the cultivation of a meaningful relationship with deity are more than an intellectual exercise. There is a natural limit to the heights a mind can reach without the sincere agreement of a pure and untroubled heart.