September 14

"IS not my hand my own?" It is a part of you, but it is by nature clay, liable to restraint, to compulsion, a slave to everything stronger than itself. And why do I say your hand? You ought to possess your whole body as a paltry ass with a pack-saddle on, as long as may be, as long as it is allowed you. But if there should come a press and a soldier should lay hold on it, let it go. Do not resist or murmur, otherwise you will be first beat, and lose the ass after all. And, since you are to consider the body itself in this manner, think what remains to do concerning those things which are provided for the sake of the body. If that be an ass, the rest are bridles, pack-saddles, shoes, oats, hay, for the ass. Let these go too. Quit them more easily and expeditiously than the ass.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iv. §1. ¶12.


  1. Things are not who we are, they are but the trappings of a life, not the life itself. Integrity and values should be what we strive to hold on to. Those qualities are what make us truly "us".

  2. Do we try to possess things because we fear the chasm of eternity that stretches out before us, that timeless and inevitable death that awaits everything? Why do we not then grieve the countless ages that preceded our first breath, for we did not possess anything then either? Change, transition, transformation are the Nature of all things in this vast universe. Live in the changing present, embrace the joy of today, for it is perishable, and cannot be stored for tomorrow. - Inspired by Epictetus

  3. "If you do not get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you do not want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can not hold on to it forever.

    Your mind is your predicament.

    It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality."
    -Attributed to Socrates