Mon 21 Apr, 2008 01:29 pm
This was something I wrote quite a while ago after being quite inspired by some of the material in Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations". So much of what I've written I look back on with a twinge of embarrassment (after all, we do change views over time, don't we?) but this must hit pretty close to the mark since its one of the few of which I remain proud. In any case, I called it Stoic Self Determination:
My thoughts are my own; they are of my own private choosing and infringe on no other. They are a retreat from the random whims of those to whom I am subject, bringing me to a place of familiar comfort. A corner of the world; a simple placeholder in an endless procession of humanity, where everyone is equally insignificant yet undeniably and uniquely special.
Fleeting moments in time; wisps of hope on the breeze... the fragile, un-capturable human consciousness.
All the "things" we think to be so important, so urgent, pale in value to the one thing of true value; that one thing we can't touch, dissect or define: The Human Soul, My Private Retreat, The Human Consciousness. In this place I stay...where I shall spend my time seeking to understand my place in this world.
Accept things as they are. All things are transitory; as are you. All that you see, feel and lament over will pass, soon that, "...you will be no one and no where". Take it in stride. Further that all things change, nothing vanishes. Whether whence they came or into something else, all changes; nothing is ultimately as important as your most-tortured feelings may suggest.
Accept people for what they are. Feeling rage for the evil-doer who does evil, the idiot who is a moron, or the self-seeker to slights you is absurd. Each does what they are and what they Will to do. You cannot change this, nor should you feel lamenting pain for others doing what they are. You can; however, react and feel the way your conscious mind decides. This is your power, this is peace; to accept people for what they are. But to retain agency over your own feelings, actions and thoughts, despite another's 'transgression' is power and peace over the one thing you have true control over: yourself.
Accept, don't resist, events in your life. Providence may indeed exist (though somehow I doubt it). But whether by divine plan or cause-and-effect, you can't alter what has happened. You can act in accordance with good will, love and prosperity, rather than torment and fear to what comes to pass.
Understand that what you perceive is just that; what *you* perceive. It may or may not be, for your feelings, values and bigotries color all in your world. Knowing this; fully comprehending the filters constantly at work in your mind and heart brings forth the understanding that what you think may be, may not. Therefore, proceed carefully, cautiously before deciding your reaction.
To be at peace with yourself requires that you be at peace with your surroundings. To accept things that you can't change (namely, others, other *things* and events that have already come to pass) is to relegate nothing; but to realize the undeniable truth that your mind, emotions, thoughts and perceptions are within your control.