THE man who is unrestrained, who hath all things in his power as he wills, is free; but he who may be restrained, or compelled, or hindered, or thrown into any condition against his will, is a slave. "And who is unrestrained?" — He that desires none of those things that belong to others. "And what are those things which belong to others?" — Those which are not in our own power, either to have or not to have.
EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book iv. §1, ¶14.
THE things themselves (which either to get or to avoid thou art put to so much trouble) come not unto thee themselves; but thou in a manner goest unto them. Let then thine own judgment and opinion concerning those things be at rest; and as for the things themselves, they stand still and quiet, without any noise or stir at all; and so shall all pursuing and flying cease.
MARCUS AURELIUS. MEDITATIONS. Book xi. 10.
The things that trouble us do not impose themselves upon us. We attach ourselves to them. They may present themselves in our environment and circumstances, but they remain there until we reach out and embrace them. Remember, then, to fully examine these situations, understanding what is and is not in our control, and how to approach the exercise our best selves in these situations, before choosing to take the external into ourselves.ReplyDelete
When I set my sights on my "neighbour's stuff" I actually voluntarily give away my freedom. I am now constrained by my desire to have the thing that my neighbour has or to work towards acquiring an equivalent to what they have. I enslave myself to the need to devote resources, time, ambition, etc. in the acquisition of said "prize".ReplyDelete
If I can be content with what I have and what the universe gives me, I can acquire freedom from the constant need to acquire new and better things, the plague of Affluenza that is infesting our planet on a daily basis.
To be content with what I have, be thankful and mindful of the blessings in my life, to practice gratitude and be at peace, that should be my goal in this life. This goal is ever present and I need to be ever vigilant in my pursuit of this goal.
Whether it be the pursuit of things or of someone else's "vision", "path" or "purpose", we lose sight of our own purpose when we try to conform our individual life to the shape of someonelse's lifestyle. We lose our own light when we attempt to live in another's shadow.