The Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius once said, “Stay calm and serene regardless of what life throws at you.” It would seem that saying it is simpler than doing it.

Aurelius had tremendous difficulties while serving as Emperor of Rome. Yet, author John Sellars writes that Aurelius “often reminds himself how brief his life is compared to the vastness of time, and how small it is compared to the whole of the cosmos.” Sellars explains that maintaining composure is necessary for leading a fulfilling life. This is due to the fact that a disturbed or unsettled mind is unable to come to logical, intelligent judgments. We must be in a calm state of mind to be able to pause and think before acting, rather than simply reacting emotionally. People utilize a variety of calming strategies to do that. For example, we are all familiar with ambient rainforest noise as a standard image of a peaceful backdrop. There isn’t a universal soundtrack that will help everyone relax; instead, the noises that each of us finds pleasant are, by definition, personal. The peaceful, contemplative experience of one viewer can also be found in visual art. Last but not least, the classic Japanese poetry form known as the haiku is well known for relaxing the reader. The strict word count of the haiku form forces the poet to concentrate on a single image or moment, which has a calming effect. Haiku also generates sentiments of tranquility and peace because of the utilization of natural imagery.

It is a mindful challenge, not mindless detachment, that will lead one to peace. Each of us discovers our sense of calm and our flow in unique ways.