““All is as thinking makes it so.” The retort made to Monimus the Cynic is clear enough: but clear too is the value of the saying, if one takes the kernel of it, as far as it is true.
“By This anticipation of Hamlet, Marcus (Aurelius) means that the nature and impact (for good or ill) of any external event or circumstance- all “indifferent” things - is determined solely by the rational judgement of it formed by the directing mind, not by the event itself. “Remove the judgement , and you have removed the thought “I am hurt, and the hurt itself is removed”: “If you remove your judgement of anything that seems painful, you yourself stand quite immune to pain.”
(Quoted from Mediations of Marcus Aurelius, translated by Martin Hammond, extract by Hammond.)
Stand back and objectively assess your experience, your consciousness, indeed, the entire terrain of mental life, you will find that your thoughts, judgments, opinions, are the cause of much unnecessary unhappiness and suffering. The ability to recognise this fact, and maintain a mindfulness of your thoughts - will allow you to remain free from the tumultuous vicissitudes of experience. This, is true freedom, a freedom from the opinion of others and from ourselves and our fantasies. This will allow ourselves to become less preoccupied with the ego, as Bertrand Russell and many others have pointed out, true happiness is largely built on a life less preoccupied with the self.