08 November 2011

Reality Therapy

We're at the point in the semester when we read The Handbook of Epictetus.  I find it one of the most congenial texts I've ever read, a boatload of wisdom in a very short number of pages.  I also find it reminds me of lessons I have yet to learn well enough:
4. When you are about to undertake some action, remind yourself what sort of action it is.  If you are going out for a bath, put before your mind what happens at baths – there are people who splash, people who jostle, people who are insulting, people who steal.  And you will undertake the action more securely if from the start you say of it, "I want to take a bath and to keep my choices in accord with nature;" and likewise for each action.  For that way if something happens to interfere with your bathing, you will be ready to say, "Oh, well, I wanted no only this but to keep my choices in accord with nature, and I cannot do that if I am annoyed with things that happen."

8. Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.
The Stoic isn't the Buddhist, but the truth of the matter is the truth of the matter!

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