EPICTETUS being asked how a person might grieve his enemy, answered, "By doing as well as possible himself."
EPICTETUS. FRAGMENTS. 125.
HE that is unjust, is also impious. For the Nature of the Universe, having made all reasonable creatures one for another, to the end that they should do one another good ; more or less according to the several persons and occasions ; but in no wise hurt one another : it is manifest that he that doth transgress against this her will, is guilty of impiety towards the most ancient and venerable of all the Deities.
MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book ix. 1.
THOSE things that are his own, and in his own power, he himself takes order for that they be good : and as for those that happen unto him, he believes them to be so.
MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book iii. 4.
I really like the first quote by epictetus. I have a person in my organization who dislikes me for whatever reason. At first, I really worried about this and did everything I could to win her over. Finally, I realized that I was letting her control my happiness. At that point I decided that all I could do was to do my best; to control what I truly have control over: me.ReplyDelete
Ever since then, I've not worried one bit when I've gotten a nasty note or heard an unkind comment she's said about me. I simply chalk it up to externals and continue my indifference to it.
The last quote is also something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I read a passage in epictetus chpt. 21 about wrestling partners and how they teach us to be better. All things in life are like that: if we choose, they can teach us about ourselves and how to live happily and with virtue. I love that concept of being able to learn virtue from even the worst of people/circumstances. I believe the true stoic never shuns an experience; she uses it to make herself better.
We must hold ourselves responsible not only for our actions, but for our reactions as well. We have the ability to choose our responses to situations, and having that ability means that we are accountable for how we choose to react. Examining the choices we think we have open to us will lead us to examine the foundational beliefs on which we base our very purpose. It is then, when we see what it is we have let ourselves agree to, that we are ready to begin remolding ourselves in the person we know we can be, the person who can take responsibility for both actions and reactions.ReplyDelete
Instead of looking to the future, the acquisition of more, etc. let us look to that which we have now. Let's ensure that we are taking care of those things that our in our charge, i.e. our bodies, our family, our home, etc. We have enough in our lives to be stewards of without wishing for more and actively pursuing the acquisition of more. The one with the most toys at the end of the day most certainly is not the winner. I think the one with the ordered life, with well cared for loved ones, body and home is the absolute winner.ReplyDelete