Heraclitus – “No man steps in the same river twice.” Change is constant. Life flows like a river, sometimes smoothly, sometimes over a fall. Learn to accept it and love it.
“… You should invite some to your table because they are deserving, others because they may come to deserve it.” – Seneca, Moral Letters, 47.15b
“The buck stops here.” You are 100% responsible for the things you can directly control. For things you can’t control, your are 100% responsible for your reactions to them, which is something you can directly control; maybe not immediately, but with practice it will come.
Don’t complain (not even to yourself). It’s a waste of time and energy that could be better spent either doing something about the thing you are complaining about, or learning to live with it if there’s nothing you can do about it.
- Accept nothing false or uncertain
- direct your impulses only to acts for the common good
- limit your desires and aversions only to what’s in your own power
- embrace everything nature assigns to you (Amor Fati!)
“Remember, thou art mortal.”
November 25th really struck me, since this morning I just wrote a post in my other blog about being grateful for money problems. Lottery winners often end up miserable. People with cancer often say “It’s the best thing that happened to me.”
And in the quote, Musonious Rufus says that he’d rather be sick than live in luxury, since sickness only harms the body, while luxury harms both the body and the soul – it causes weakness and incapacity in the body, and lack of control and cowardice in the soul. Then I thought “Well, then why not run around trying to get sick?” First of all, sickness will come – don’t you worry about that! Second of all, health allows us to grow as human beings. It’s what the Stoics call a “preferred indifferent”, something that’s a natural, legitimate desire since it can aid in developing excellence. I’m done with calling it (the goal) virtue. Excellence fits better. Virtue is just too loaded a word for me.
What would you do differently if you were going to die soon?
Do that. Because you are going to die soon. You have a terminal disease called life.
Everything that happens – by you and to you – every thought, feeling, and action you experience – EVERYTHING that happens can be used to improve your life.
You could have died a hundred different ways already. Consider your past life as that of a dead man, and the time you have left as a bonus.
“The Stoics are stereotyped as suppressing their emotions, but their philosophy was actually intended to teach us to face, process, and deal with emotions immediately instead of running from them.”
Face. Process. Deal With. Immediately.
From Dec 11 – “Be Brave. Be Dignified.”