Anderson probably never read Marcus Aurelius. But they both thought the same way.
36. Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, “Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?” You’ll be embarrassed to answer. Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you. Only the present—and even that can be minimized. Just mark off its limits. And if your mind tries to claim that it can’t hold out against that … well, then, heap shame upon it.
Anderson would talk about being in mental hell when you were considering all of your yesterdays and all of your tomorrows.
The mind is overwhelmed with all of the regrets and recriminations from lost opportunities and regrettable stunts we pulled. Then it is overwhelmed by the prospect of a future full of uncertainty and fear of the unknown.
Where does that put you, right now? In hell. How do you choose to act right now? What do you think right now?
His analogy was so apt. “It’s like trying to drive a car with binoculars and the rear view mirror.”
Anderson’s solution here, as with everything: stop talking to yourself, and start talking to God. That would be Anderson’s concrete advice on how to put Marcus Aurelius’s admonition (“Just mark off it’s limits”) into action.
It works. Fortunately, my God approves of swearing. 😀