Let Memento Mori Inspire You

“Memento Mori” means to keep in mind that you will die.

2,000 years ago it was popular for Roman generals to keep this idea in mind. 

As generals paraded around their cities in horse led chariots after victorious battles, they kept aides behind them to whisper into their ears, “Memento Mori.”

Generals knew the fleetingness of life and wanted to keep the reminder close by so that their egos didn’t get the best of them. It’s easy for our ego to inflate and make us believe we are bigger than death, especially after achieving success. So it is a humble reminder to remember your death. To remember that you, and everyone around you, is going to die.

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A Memento Mori painting by Vincent Van Gogh

Many artists, philosophers, and rulers have used “Memento Mori” to inspire them.

Instead of letting the idea of death scare them, as many do, they used it to create urgency and a deeper perspective, seeing life as a gift and not as suffering.

You’ve probably heard of people who have experienced a near death experience and came out of it with a new inspiration for living fully. You don’t need a near death experience to change your life. “Memento Mori” can be your inspiration and guide to living a full life.

 

Here are some famous names of the past who were inspired by the reminder of death, Memento Mori:

“Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.”
Buddha

“Every third thought shall be my grave.”
William Shakespeare

“Philosophy is “about nothing else but dying and being dead.”
Socrates

“To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”
Michel de Montaigne

“People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”
Marcus Aurelius

“So this is how a thoughtful person should await death: not with indifference, not with impatience, not with disdain, but simply viewing it as one of the things that happens to us. Now you anticipate the child’s emergence from its mother’s womb; that’s how you should await the hour when your soul will emerge from its compartment.”
Marcus Aurelius

“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?”
Marcus Aurelius

Find more Marcus Aurelius ideas on death & other subjects here

 

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Vanity Painting by Philippe de Champaigne

 

The reminder of death still inspires many modern day entrepreneurs, artists, and others:

“There’s something coming for all of us. It’s called death. Rather than fearing it, it can become one of our greatest counselors. So, if this was the last week of your life, what would you cherish most? How would you live? How would you love? What truth would you tell today?”
Tony Robbins

“It’s easy to lose track of that mortality, to forget time, to think that you’re going to live forever. The idea that you’re gonna die and that life is short is only depressing if you’re thinking about it wrong. If you’re thinking about it right it should give you a sense of priority. It should even give you a sense of meaning; it should let you know what’s important, what you’re trying to do while you’re here on this planet.”
Ryan Holiday

“The reason I believe in it(death as motivation) is because it’s ultimately practical. It’s the guiding light and the fire and ambition that drives me toward legacy and living my best life.”
Gary Vaynerchuk

 

Will you look death in the face?

Are you ready to let death inspire you?

Do it and see how your life changes for the better…

Memento Mori

 

 

 

 

 

Letter from a dying 27 year old

27 year old Holly Butcher wrote this the day before she died…

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“It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; Until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.

That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.

I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy.. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.

I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to it’s inevitability.. Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us.. That’s been a bit tough.

I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.

I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!

Those times you are whining about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days.

Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are; It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that – breathe.

You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.

Let all that shit go.. 

I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. 

It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. 

I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.

I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise – Be grateful you are physically able to. Work and exercise may seem like such trivial things … until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them.

I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. Appreciate your good health and functioning body– even if it isn’t your ideal size. Look after it and embrace how amazing it is. Move it and nourish it with fresh food. Don’t obsess over it.

Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body.. work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness too. 

That way you might realise just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is.. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself. Friend or not.. Be ruthless for your own well-being.

Be grateful for each day you don’t have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is shit but be thankful it isn’t life threatening and will go away.

Whine less, people! .. And help each other more.

Give, give, give. 

It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. 

I wish I did this more. Since I have been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers; More than I could I ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.

It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end.. when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. 

It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives.

Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewellery for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice 2. It feels good. Take them out for a meal, or better yet, cook them a meal. Shout their coffee. Give/ buy them a plant, a massage or a candle and tell them you love them when you give it to them.

Value other people’s time. 

Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. 

Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate. You will gain respect too! Amen sister.

This year, our family agreed to do no presents and despite the tree looking rather sad and empty (I nearly cracked Christmas Eve!), it was so nice because people didn’t have the pressure of shopping and the effort went into writing a nice card for each other. Plus imagine my family trying to buy me a present knowing they would probably end up with it themselves.. strange! It might seem lame but those cards mean more to me than any impulse purchase could. Mind you, it was also easier to do in our house because we had no little kiddies there. 

Anyway, moral of the story- presents are not needed for a meaningful Christmas. Moving on.

Use your money on experiences.. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.

Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water.

Get amongst nature.

Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo.. enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.

Random rhetorical question. Are those several hours you spend doing your hair and make up each day or to go out for one night really worth it? I’ve never understood this about females 🤔.

Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.

Listen to music.. really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.

Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.

Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?

Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.

Work to live, don’t live to work.

Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy.

Eat the cake. Zero guilt.

Say no to things you really don’t want to do.

Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life.. you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.

Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.

Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.

Anyway, that’s just this one young gals life advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t mind!

Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple.

Blood donation (more bags than I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year – a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.

..’Til we meet again.

Hol

Xoxo”

 

 

I hope this message inspired you as much as it did for me.

 

Read more here if you are interested in 3 ways to live a life you won’t regret in 30 years!

 

 

 

The Most Insightful & Life-Changing Ideas From Marcus Aurelius’s Book, “Meditations”

Marcus Aurelius is a former Roman Emperor (Ruled from 161A.D. – 180A.D), and his personal notes are so insightful & impactful that they have been translated, turned into a book, and carried on for almost 2000 years now.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius has definitely expanded my mind to new & deep ideas. Aurelius’s words have given me a deeper understanding on letting go of petty worries & focusing on life’s bigger picture.

His words gave me insight into the shortness of life, death, good ways of dealing with negative people, different ways of thinking & perceiving life, and so much more.

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If you are open to mind expanding ideas then this is definitely for you!

To begin with some of Marcus’s wisdom he was one of the first people recorded to ever have the perspective of being a citizen of the world instead of only a citizen of his town/country:

He said: “My city and state are Rome-as Antoninus. But as a human being? The world. So for me, ‘good’ can only mean what’s good for both communities.”

He saw the bigger picture of life & death.

Marcus is known as one of the few good Emperors to ever live. Most other Emperors and people in power got caught up in their power & lived a life of overindulgence in all things. Marcus was able to see past this physical World into the bigger picture of life & beyond, which led him to living a disciplined & humble life—which even today is extremely hard for people, especially people in power!

I read this after seeing it was on the top of Ryan Holiday’s Book Recommendations. So I got a copy of it online, and dove right in.

I have previously thought about how the Earth will one day be consumed by a star or something & will discontinue existing, as well as everything on it. I never had a name for that idea until now—it is thinking as a stoic. This may seem negative to some but this perspective can help you let go of your trivial worries. Embracing these ideas can help you live with a deep inner peace, as it did for me.

In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius gives unique & stoic perspectives on how to live a better life.

The sections in this summary include:

1) Dealing with Others’ Opinions & Actions

2) On Thinking, The Mind & Perspective

3) On One’s Actions & Work

4) Death & The Shortness of Life

5) 19 Best Quotes

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To first sum up the book Meditations with a few main points

  • Don’t worry about what other people say or think about you. Focus on what is in your control & let go of the rest. “God did not intend my happiness to rest with someone else.” 

It never ceases to amaze me: We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

“Or is it your reputation that’s bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands. The people who praise us-how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region in which it all takes place. The whole earth a point in space-and most of it uninhabited.”

  • Let go of the small worries you have during your days. Your problems, as well as your entire life is temporary & one day will be gone forever—let your worries go today:

“The first step: Don’t be anxious. Nature controls it all. And before long you’ll be no one, nowhere—like Hadrian, like Augustus. The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do.  Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it.  But with kindness.  With humility.  Without hypocrisy.”

“In the age of Vespasian for example — People doing the exact same things: marrying, raising children, getting sick, dying, waging war, throwing parties, doing business, farming, flattering, boasting, distrusting, plotting, hoping others will die, complaining about their own lives, falling in love, putting away money, seeking high office and power……and that life they led is nowhere to be found…The exact same thing happened in the age of Trajan..And that too, gone..

..Then what should we work for??

—Only this: proper understanding; unselfish action; truthful speech.  A resolve to accept whatever happens as necessary and familiar, flowing like water from that same source and spring.”

  • Everything happens for a reason. Human logic can only comprehend so much about Life & the Universe—embrace & learn to love the situations & circumstances you are in no matter what position life has put you in. You are still breathing. Be thankful for what you do have & stop complaining. Life is short. Don’t pity yourself-life has a reason for us-death is not a bad thing. “Don’t complain. Doing what’s right takes patience. Think about the number of people who have feuded and envied and hated and fourth and died and been buried.”

“Treat everything around you as a dream.”

“People ask, have you ever seen the gods you worship? How can you be sure they exist? Answers—Just look around….I’ve never seen my soul either, and yet I revere it—I Know they exist because I’ve felt their power over and over.”

  • Seek out peace of mind over fleeting pleasures. Know you can never know it all-be humble & remain a life long student. Honest work can help you achieve peace of mind: 

“Some people, when they do someone a favor, are always looking for a chance to call it in. And some aren’t, but they’re still aware of it—still regard it as a debt. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return… —A horse at the end of a race.. —A dog when the hunt is over… —A bee with its honey stored… —And a human being after helping others. 

—They don’t make a fuss about it. They just go on to something else, as the vine looks forward to bearing fruit again in season. —We should be like that. Acting almost unconsciously. -Yes, except conscious of it.”

“Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, thats when he has you in his spell.”

People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”

Enjoy many more insightful & thought-provoking words from Aurelius.

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1) On Dealing with Other People

“Don’t pay attention to other people’s minds. Look straight ahead, where nature is leading you, through the things that happen to you through your own actions.”

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and unfriendly.  They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.”

“Welcoming wholeheartedly whatever comes- whatever were assigned—not worrying too often, or with any selfish motive, about what other people say. Or do, or think.”

“Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good.  It will keep you from doing anything useful.  You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind.”

“God did not intend my happiness to rest with someone else.”

“You want praise from people who kick themselves every 15 minutes, the approval of people who despise themselves…..why do you want approval from people who don’t know where or who they are on this planet?”

“The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do.  Only what you do. Asking yourself: Is this fair?  Is this the right thing to do?”

“Why do unskilled and untrained souls disturb souls with skill and understanding?”

“So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine.”

“So remember this principle when someone threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to endure it and prevail is great good fortune.”

That to expect bad people not to injure others is crazy. It’s to ask the impossible. And to let them behave like that to other people but expect them to exempt you is arrogant—the act of a tyrant.”

“When people injure you, ask yourself what good or harm they thought would come of it. If you understand that, you’ll feel sympathy rather than outrage or anger.”

“If they’ve injured you, then they’re the ones who suffer for it.”

“People do things that upset you, but it can’t harm your mind. People do boorish things, what’s strange or unheard of about that?? Isn’t it yourself you should reproach—for not anticipating that they’d act this way??—It was you who did wrong by assuming that someone with those traits deserved your trust.”

“Other people’s mistakes? Leave them to their makers.”

”Leave other peoples mistakes where they lie.”

“If anyone can refute me-show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective— I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.”

“People out for posthumous fame forget that the Generations To Come will be the same annoying people they know now. And just as mortal. What does it matter to you if they say x about you, or think y?”

“When faced with people’s bad behavior, turn around and ask when you have acted like that. When you saw money as good, or pleasure, or social position. Your anger will subside as soon as you recognize that they acted under compulsion.”

“If someone despises me—that’s their problem. Mine—not to do or say anything despicable. If someone hates me—that’s their problem. Mine—to be patient and cheerful with everyone, including them. Ready to show them their mistake. Not spitefully, or to show off my own self-control, but in an honest, upright way. That’s the way we should be like inside, and never let the gods catch us feeling anger or resentment.”

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”

“People who feel hurt and resentment: picture them as the pig at the sacrifice, kicking and squealing all the way.”

That kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere—not ironic or an act. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight—if you get the chance—correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do you harm..

‘No, no my friend. That isn’t what were here for. It isn’t me who’s harmed by that. It’s you.’ And show him gently without pointing fingers that it’s so.”

That it’s not what they do that bothers us: that’s a problem for their minds, not ours. It’s our own misperceptions. Discard them. Be willing to give up thinking of this as a catastrophe…and your anger is gone. How do you do that? By recognizing that you’ve suffered no disgrace.”

“That you don’t know for sure it is a mistake. A lot of things are means to some other end. You have to know an awful lot before you can judge other people’s actions with real understanding.”

It never ceases to amaze me: We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

“The despicable phoniness of people who say, ‘listen, I’m going to level with you here.’ What does that mean?? It shouldn’t even need to be said. It should be obvious—written in block letters on your forehead. It should be audible in your voice, visible in your eyes, like a lover who looks into your face, and takes in the whole story at a glance. A straightforward honest person should be like someone who stinks: when you’re in the same room with him, you know it.  But false straightforwardness is like a knife in the back. False friendship is the worst.  Avoid it at all costs. If you’re honest and straightforward and mean well, it should show in your eyes. It should be unmistakable.”

“Or is it your reputation thats bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands. The people who praise us-how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region in which it all takes place. The whole earth a point in space-and most of it uninhabited.”

“To live life in peace, immune to all compulsion..Let them scream whatever they want.”

“Not to be distracted by their darkness.  To run straight for the finish line, unswerving.”

“Don’t be put off by other people’s comments and criticism.”

“When someone seems to have injured you: -But how can I be sure? And in any case, keep in mind: —That he’s already been tried and convicted-by himself, like scratching your own eyes out. —That to expect a bad person not to harm others is like expecting fig trees not to secrete juice, babies not to cry, horses not to neigh—-the inevitable not to happen.”

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2) On Thinking, The Mind & Perspective

“Look into their minds, at what the wise do and what they don’t.”

“Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous. The object of praise remains what it was—no better and no worse.Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it???”

“If you can cut yourself—your mind—free of what other people do or say, of what you’ve said or done, of the things that you’re afraid will happen, the impositions of the body that contains you and the breath within, so the mind is freed from fate, brought to clarity, and lives life on its own recognizance—doing what’s right, accepting what happens, and speaking the truth—
—If you can cut free of impressions that cling to the mind, free of the future and the past—can make yourself ‘a sphere rejoicing in its perfect stillness’ And concentrate on living what can be lived (The present moment) —-then you can spend the time you have left in tranquility.  And in kindness. And at peace with the spirit within you.”

“If the problem is you’re not doing something you think you should be doing, why not just do it?”

“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, ‘why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?’ You’ll be embarrassed to answer.

“Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you. Only the present-and even that can be minimized. Just mark off its limits. And if your mind tries to claim that it can’t hold against that…well then heap shame upon it.”

“Comparing a man who people are mocking and a spring of clear water: —”A man standing by a spring of clear, sweet water and cursing it. While the fresh water keeps on bubbling up. He can shovel mud into it, or dung, and the stream will carry it away, wash itself clean, remain unstained. — TO HAVE THAT. NOT A CISTERN BUT A PERPETUAL SPRING. — HOW?? BY WORKING TO WIN YOUR FREEDOM. HOUR BY HOUR. THROUGH PATIENCE, HONESTY, HUMILITY.”

“The first step: Don’t be anxious. Nature controls it all. And before long you’ll be no one, nowhere—like Hadrian, like Augustus.

**The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it.  Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.”

“The mind without passions is a fortress. No place is more secure. Once we take refuge there we are safe forever. Not to see this is ignorance. To see it and not seek safety means misery.” …Be grateful for all you have.

“If this evil is not of my doing, nor the result of it, and the community is not endangered, why should it bother me?? Where is the danger for the community?”

“People try to get away from it all—to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like….By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful-more free of interruptions- than you own soul  An instants recollection and there it is: complete tranquility (think of pleasant memories). A quick visit to this mindful place will be enough to ward off all nonsense and send you back ready to fave what awaits you.”

“It’s normal to feel stress and pain as a human, as a normal human being. And if it’s normal how can it be bad?”

“To erase false perceptions, tell yourself: I have it in me to keep my soul from evil, lust and confusion. To see things as they are and treat them as they deserve. Don’t overlook this innate ability.”

“Disinterest means that intelligence should rise about the movements of the flesh. Above fame, above death, and everything like them.”

“I can control my thoughts as necessary; then how can I be troubled? What is outside my mind means nothing to it. Absorb that lesson and your feet stand firm.”

“You need to avoid certain things in your train of thought: everything random, everything irrelevant.  And certainly everything self-important or malicious. Get used to winnowing your thoughts so you aren’t ashamed of what you’re thinking.”

“The mind in itself has no needs, except for those it creates itself. Is undisturbed, except for its own disturbances. Knows no obstructions, except those from within.”

“Nothing that goes on in anyone else’s mind can harm you. Nor can the shifts and changes in the world around you. —Then where is harm to be found? —In your capacity to see it. Stop doing that and everything will be fine. Let the part of you that makes that judgment keep quiet no matter what the body attaches itself to.

“Keep in mind that when the mind detaches itself and realizes its own nature, it no longer has anything to do with ordinary life-the rough & the smooth.”

“Disturbance comes only from within—from our own perceptions.”

“Everything you see will soon alter and cease to exist. Think of how many changes you’ve already seen.”

“The world is nothing but change. Our life is only perception”

“Have you ever seen a served hand or foot, or a decapitated head, just lying somewhere far away from the body it belonged to?? —That’s what we do to ourselves—or try to—when we rebel against what happens to us, when we segregate ourselves..or when we do something selfish….You have one advantage here: you can reattach yourself.”

“Stop perceiving the pain you imagine and you’ll remain completely unaffected.”

“Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, thats when he has you in his spell.” —(Remember how little you know. You may be an expert in one subject but remain humble by remembering how little you know in other fields.—Also think about in comparison to how vast the Universe is, how little you know. Remain a life long student).

“Give yourself a gift: the present moment.”

“Alexander and Caesar and Pompey. Compared with Diogenes, Heraclitus, Socrates?? The philosophers knew the what, the why, the how. Their minds were their own. —The others?? Nothing but anxiety and enslavement.”

“People ask, have you ever seen the gods you worship? How can you be sure they exist?Answers—Just look around….I’ve never seen my soul either, and yet I revere it —I Know they exist because I’ve felt their power over and over.”

“So keep this refuge in mind: the back roads of your self. Above all, no strain and no stress. Be straightforward. Look at things like a man, like a human, like a mortal.”

“Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.”

“External things are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.”

“Don’t be disturbed. Un-complicate yourself. Something happens to you. Good.  It was meant for you by nature, woven into the pattern from the beginning.”

“Things are wrapped in such a veil of mystery that many good philosophers have found it impossible to make sense of them. Even the stoics have trouble.  Any assessment we make is subject to alteration—just as we are ourselves.”

“Keep reminding yourself of the way things are connected, of their relatedness.”

“Wash yourself clean. With simplicity, with humility, with indifference to everything but right and wrong.”

“Everywhere, at each moment, you have the option: —To accept this even with humility. —To treat this person as he should be treated. —To approach this thought with care, so that nothing irrational creeps in.”

“Blot your imagination. Turn your desire to stone. Quench your appetites. Keep your mind centered on itself.”

“Today I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions—not outside.”

“You can discard most of the junk that clutters your mind—things that exist only there—and clear out space for yourself: —By comprehending the scale of the world. —By contemplating infinite time. —By thinking of the speed with which things change—each part of everything; the narrow space between our birth and death; the infinite time before; the equally unbounded time that follows.”

“Pray for others and pray not to feel fear, or desire, or grief… —Isn’t it better to do what’s up to you?? Like a free man!  —Start praying like this and you’ll see.

—Not “some way to sleep with her” but a way to stop wanting to.

—Not “some way to get rid of him” but a way to stop trying.

—Not “some way to save my child” but a way to lose your fear.

REDIRECT your prayers like that, and watch what happens.”

“I am part of a world controlled by nature. I have a relationship with other, similar parts. And with that in mind I have no right, as a part, to complain about what is assigned me by the whole. Because what benefits the whole can’t harm the parts, and the whole does nothing that doesn’t benefit it.”

“That no one can say truthfully that you are not a straightforward or honest person. That anyone who thinks that believes a falsehood. The responsibility is all yours; no one can stop you from being honest or straightforward. Simply resolve not to go on living if you aren’t. It would be contrary to the logos.”

“So too a healthy mind should be prepared for anything. The one that keeps saying “Are my children all right?” Or “everyone must approve of me” is like eyes that can only stand pale colors, or teeth that can handle only mush.”

“Remember that what pulls the strings is within—hidden from us. In speech, in life, in the person. Don’t conceive of the rest as part of it—the skin that contains it, and the accompanying organs. Which are tools.”

“Characteristics of the rational soul: Self-perception, self-examination, and the power to make of itself whatever it wants. —It reaps its own harvest. —It reaches its intended goal, no matter where the limit of its life is set. No matter which task you pick-it has fulfilled its mission, done its work completely.  So that it can say, ‘I have what I came for.’-

—It surveys the world and the empty space around it, and the way its put together. It delves into the endlessness of time to extend its grasp and comprehension of the periodic births and rebirths the world goes through. It knows that those who come after us will see nothing different, and those who came before us saw no more than we do.—Affection for its neighbors. Truthfulness. Humility. Not to place anything above itself.”

“A branch cut away from the branch beside it is simultaneously cut away from the whole tree. So too a human being separated from another is cut loose from the whole community. —The branch is cut off by someone else. But people cut themselves off—through hatred, through rejection—and don’t realize that they’re cutting themselves off from the whole civic enterprise. —But we can reattach ourselves and become once more components of the whole. —But if the rupture is too often repeated, it makes the severed part hard to reconnect, and to restore.”

“As you move forward in the logos, people will stand in your way.  They can’t keep you from doing what’s healthy; don’t let them stop you from putting up with them either. Take care on both counts. Not just sound judgments, solid actions—tolerances as well, for those who try to obstruct us or give us trouble in other ways.—

Because anger, too, is weakness, as much as breaking down and giving up the struggle. Both are deserters: the man who breaks and runs, and the one who let himself be alienated from his fellow humans.”

“And why is it so hard when things go against you? If it’s imposed by nature, accept it gladly and stop fighting it. And if not, work out what your own nature requires, and aim at that, even if it brings you no glory.”

“Four habits of thought to watch for, and erase from your mind when you catch them. Tell yourself:

—This thought is unnecessary.

—This one is destructive to the people around you.

—This wouldn’t be what you really think.

—That the more divine part of you has been beaten and subdued by the degraded mortal part—the body and its stupid self-indulgence.”

“Because to be drawn toward what is wrong and self-indulgent, toward anger and fear and pain, is to revolt against nature. And for the mind to complain about anything that happens is to desert its post. It was created to show reverence-respect for the divine—no less than to act justly.”

“God sees all our souls freed from their fleshly containers, stripped clean of their bark, cleansed of their grime. If you learn to do the same, you can avoid a great deal of distress.”

“That it’s all about how you perceive it.”

“Throw out your misperceptions and you’ll be fine..And what’s stopping you from throwing them out??”

“That nothing belongs to anyone. Children, body, life itself—all of them come from the same source.”

“That it’s about how you choose to see things.

That the present is all we have to live in. Or to lose.”

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3) On One’s Actions & Work

“Learn to ask of all actions, “Why are they doing that?”—Starting with your own.”

“Nothing is as encouraging as when virtues are visibly embodied in the people around us, when we’re practically showered with them.”

“But true good fortune is what you make for yourself: Good fortune=good character, good intentions, and good actions.”

“Focus on what is said when you speak and on what results from each action. Know what the one aims at, and what the other means.”

“My city and state are Rome-as Antoninus.  But as a human being? The world. So for me, ‘good’ can only mean what’s good for both communities.”

“Never regard something as doing you good if it makes you betray a trust, or lose your sense of shame, or makes you show hatred, suspicion, ill will, or hypocrisy, or a desire for things best done behind closed doors. If you can privilege your own mind your guiding spirit will keep you clear of drama. You will be free of fear and desire. Concentrate on your mind to be in the right state—the state of a rational, civic mind.”

“But to get back up when you fail, to celebrate behaving like a human—however imperfectly—and fully embrace the pursuit that you’ve embarked on.”

** “All of us are working on the same project. Some consciously, with understanding; some without knowing it.” ** …—“Those who sleep are also hard at work”—Heraclitus—The project of Life—Being guided by higher power for greater good…

“So by keeping in mind the whole I form a part of, I’ll accept whatever happens.  And because of my relationship to other parts, I will do nothing selfish, but aim instead to join them, to direct my every action toward what benefits us all and to avoid what doesn’t. —If I do that then my life should go smoothly—As you might expect a citizen’s life to go—one whose actions serve his fellow citizens, and who embraces the community decree.”

“Some people, when they do someone a favor, are always looking for a chance to call it in. And some aren’t, but they’re still aware of it—still regard it as a debt. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return.

—A horse at the end of a race…

—A dog when the hunt is over…

—A bee with its honey stored…

—And a human being after helping others.

—They don’t make a fuss about it. They just go on to something else, as the vine looks forward to bearing fruit again in season.

—-We should be like that. Acting almost unconsciously. -Yes, except conscious of it.”

“But we need to eliminate unnecessary assumptions as well. To eliminate the unnecessary actions that follow.”

“To keep the gods in mind as well. What they want is not flattery, but for rational things to be like them. For figs to do what figs were meant to do—and dogs, and bees…and people.”

“No surplus words or unnecessary actions.”

“When you complain, you are hacking and destroying life.”

“Be ready to reconsider your position when someone can set you straight or convert you to their view—but it must rest on the conviction that it is right, or benefits others-nothing else. Not because its more appealing or more popular.”

“Not to live as if you had endless years ahead of you…While you’re alive and able-be good.”

“Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. But make sure you guard against the other kind of confusion. People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.”

“If you seek tranquility, do less. Or, more accurately, do what’s essential—what the logos of a social being requires. Which brings a double satisfaction: to do less, better.”

—”Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?””

“How much more damage anger and grief do than the things that cause them.”

“No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be good. Like gold says my task is to be gold.”

“The things ordained for you—teach yourself to be at one with those. And the people who share them with you—treat them with love. With real love.”

“When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.”

“And how trivial the things we want so passionately are. And how much more philosophical it would be to take what we’re given and show uprightness, self-control, obedience to God, without making a production of it. There’s nothing more insufferable than people who boast about their own humility.”

“To shrug it all off and wipe it clean—every annoyance and distraction—and reach utter stillness.”

“The more we deny ourselves of bad things, or are deprived of them involuntary—the better we become.”

“Characteristics shared by god and men— — Not to let others hold you back. —To locate goodness in thinking and doing the right thing and to limit your desires to that.”

“The only thing that isn’t worthless: to live this life out truthfully and rightly. And be patient with those who don’t.”

“Revere the Gods; watch over human beings. Our lives are short. The only rewards of our existence here are an unstained character and unselfish acts.”

People find pleasure in different ways. I find it in keeping my mind clear. In not turning away from people or the things that happen to them. In accepting and welcoming everything I see. In treating each thing as it deserves.”

“Practice really hearing what people say. Do your best to get inside their minds.”

“To a being with logos, an unnatural action is one that conflicts with the logos.”

“To move from one unselfish action to another with God in mind. Only there, delight and stillness.”

“What is it in ourselves that we should prize?

—Not just transpiration (even plants do that).

—Or respiration (even beasts and wild animals breathe).

—Or being struck by passing thoughts.

—Or jerked like a puppet by your own impulses.

—Or moving in herds.

—Or eating, and reliving yourself afterwards.

—Then what is to be prized? An audience clapping? No. No more than the clacking of their tongues. Which is all that public praise amounts to-a clacking of tongues. —So we throw out other people’s recognition. What’s left for us to prize?

—** I think it’s this: to do (and not do) what we were designed for.  That’s the goal of all trades, all arts, and what each of them aims at: that thing they create should do what it was designed to do. —Hold on to that and you won’t be tempted to aim at anything else. And if you can’t stop prizing other things you’ll never be free—you’ll be jealous…People who need those things are bound to be a mess.”

Take Antoninus as your model, always. His energy in doing what was rational…his steadiness in any situation..his sense of reverence…his calm expression…his gentleness…his modesty…his eagerness to grasp things. And how he never let things go before he was sure he had examined them thoroughly, understood them perfectly…The way he put up with unfair criticism, without returning it…how he couldn’t be hurried…how he wouldn’t listen to informers..how reliable he was as a judge of character, and of actions…not prone to backbiting, or cowardice, or jealousy, or empty rhetoric…content with the basics-in living quarters, bedding, clothes, food..how hard he worked..his ability to work straight through the dusk-because of his simple diet…his constancy and reliability as a friend…his tolerance of people who openly questioned his views and his delight at seeing his ideas improved upon….So that when your time comes, your conscience will be as clear as his.”

“Nothing has meaning to my mind except its own actions. Which are within its own control. And it’s only the immediate ones that matter. Its past and future actions too are meaningless.”

“Treat what you don’t have as nonexistent. Look at what you have, the things you value most, and think of how much you’d crave them if you didn’t have them. But be careful. Don’t feel such satisfaction that you start to overvalue them—that it would upset you to lose them.”

“You are much mistaken, my friend, if you think that any man worth his salt cares about the risk of death and doesn’t concentrate on this alone: whether what he’s doing is right or wrong, and his behavior a good man’s or a bad one’s.”

“Avoid rashness and credulity.”

“What matters is what kind of soul he had. —Not being a slave to other peoples’ ignorance, not losing temper unpredictably..treating men with justice and the gods with reverence.”

“Place your own well being in your own hands. It’s quite possible to be a good man without anyone realizing it. Remember that.”

“And you don’t need much to live happily. Don’t give up on attaining freedom, achieving humility, serving others, obeying God.”

“Perfection of character: to live your last day, every day, without frenzy, sloth, or pretense.”

“So you know how things stand. Now forget what they think of you. Be satisfied if you can live the rest of your life as nature demands. Focus on that and don’t let anything distract you.. 

..You’ve wandered and realized you never found what you were after: How to live. —Which is found in doing what human nature requires. —Through first principles. Which should govern your intentions and your actions. —What principles? —Those to do with good and evil. That nothing is good except what leads to fairness, and self-control, and courage and free will. And nothing bad except what does the opposite.”

—**The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it.  Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.”

“Nature thrives on forward progress. And progress for the rational mind means not accepting falsehood or uncertainty in its perceptions, making unselfish actions its only aim, seeking and shunning only the things it has control over, embracing what nature demands of it.—As the leaf does in the tree.”

“Time for controlling your arrogance-yes. For overcoming pain and pleasure-yes.  For outgrowing ambition-yes. For not feeling anger at stupid and unpleasant people—even for caring about them,—for that, yes.”

“Blame no one. Set people straight, if you can. If not, just repair the damage.  And suppose you can’t do that either. Then where does blaming people get you??” 

No pointless actions..

“Everything is here for a purpose. And why were you born? For pleasure? See if that answer will stand up to questioning.”

“Joy for humans lies in human actions. —Human actions: kindness to others, contempt for the senses, the interrogation of appearances, observation of nature and events in nature.’’

“You have to assemble your life yourself—action by action.”

“No carelessness in your actions. No confusion in your words. No imprecision in your thoughts. No retreating into your own soul, or trying to escape it. No overactivity.”

“To lie is to blaspheme against the logos. Liars commit deceits which is injustice.”

“Do not pursue pleasure as good and flee from pain as if it is evil—that is blasphemous.”

“To privilege pleasure over pain, life over death, fame over anonymity—is clearly blasphemous.  NATURE doesn’t do those things.”

“Real luck would be to abandon life without ever encountering dishonesty, or hypocrisy, or self-indulgence, or pride. But the “next best voyage” is to die when you’ve had enough. Or are you determined to lie down with evil? Hasn’t experience even taught you that—to avoid it like the plague??

—Because it is a plague—a mental cancer—worse than anything causes by tainted air or an unhealthy climate. Diseases like that can only threaten your life; this one attacks your humanity.”

“To do harm is to do yourself harm. To do an injustice is to do yourself an injustice—it degrades you.”

“Objective judgment, now, at this very moment. —Unselfish action, now, at this very moment. —Willing acceptance-now, at this very moment-of all external events. —That’s all you need.”

“Work: Not to rouse pity, not to win sympathy or admiration. Only this—activity, stillness, as the logos of the state requires.”

“The design of the world is like a flood, sweeping all before it. The foolishness of them—little men busy with affairs of state, with philosophy—or what they think of as philosophy. Nothing but phlegm and mucus.

—Well then what?

—Do what nature demands. Get a move on—if you have it in you—and don’t worry whether anyone will give you credit for it.

—Be satisfied with even the smallest progress, and treat the outcome of it all as unimportant.”

“Indifference to external events. And a commitment to justice in your own acts.  Which means: thought and action resulting in the common good. What you were born to do.”

“Even in illness go on living your life the way it should be lived.. don’t discuss all your sicknesses and stuff..keep talking about philosophy and things you enjoy talking about.”

“Isn’t it enough that you’ve done what your nature demands? You want a salary too? As if your eyes expected a reward for seeing, or your feet for walking.  That’s what they were made for. By doing what they were designed to do, they’re performing their function. Whereas humans were made to help others.  And when we do help others—or help them to do something—we’re doing what we were designed for.  We perform our function.”

“Your actions and perceptions need to aim:

—At accomplishing practical ends.

—At the exercise of thought.

—At maintaining a confidence found on understanding. An unobtrusive confidence—hidden in plain sight.”

To follow the logos in all things is to be relaxed and energetic, joyful and serious at once.”

“To stop talking about what the good man is like, and just be one.”

“To feel grief or anger or fear is to become a fugitive—a fugitive from justice.”

“Too many things obstruct the irrational soul and get in their way.  But intellect and logos are able to make their way through anything in their path—by inborn capacity or sheer force of will.”

“Keep before your eyes the ease with which they do this—the ease with which the logos is carried through all things.

—All other obstacles either affect the lifeless body, or have no power to shake or harm anything unless misperception takes over or the logos surrenders voluntarily.”

“If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not true, don’t say it. Let your intention be pure.”

“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.”

“It’s all in how you perceive it. You’re in control. You can dispense with misperception at will, like rounding the point. Serenity, total calm, safe anchorage.”

“To live a good life:

—We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference. This is how we learn: by looking at each thing, both the parts and the whole. Keeping in mind that none of them can dictate how we perceive it. They don’t impose themselves on us.—It is we who generate the judgments—inscribing them on ourselves—And we don’t have to. We could leave the page blank—and if a mark slips through, erase it instantly.”

And along with not getting angry at others, try not to pander either. Both are forms of selfishness; both of them will do you harm. When you start to lose your temper, remember: 

There’s nothing manly about rage.

—It’s courtesy and kindness that define a human being—and a man. That’s who possesses strength and nerves and guts, not the angry whiners. Pain is the opposite of strength and so is anger.

“If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live it in a consistent way.—Unhelpful unless you specify a goal.”

“If you direct your energies toward a common goal for all of mankind, your actions will be consistent, and so will you.”

“At festivals the Spartans put their guests’ seats in the shade, but sat themselves down anywhere. (Treat your guests better than you treat yourself)”

“This advice from Epicurean writings: to think continually of one of the men of old who lived a virtuous life.” (Look toward role models)

“Mastery of reading and writing requires a master. Still more so life.”

“We need to master the art of acquiescence. We need to pay attention to our impulses, making sure they don’t go unmoderated, that they benefit others, that they’re worthy of us. We need to steer clear of desire in any form and not try to avoid what’s beyond our control.”

”Socrates: What do you want, rational minds or irrational ones?

-Rational ones.

-Healthy of sick?

-Health

-Then work to obtain them.

-We already have.

—Then why all this squabbling?”

“Don’t let anything deter you: other people’s misbehavior, your own misperceptions, what people will say, or the feelings of the body that covers you…if it isn’t ceasing to live that you’re afraid of but never beginning to live properly…then you’ll be worthy of the world that made you. —No longer an alien in your own land.

—No longer shocked by everyday events—as if they were unheard-of aberrations. —No longer at the mercy of this, or that.”

“Practice even what seems impossible. The left hand is useless at almost everything, for lack of practice. But it guides the reins better than the right. From practice.”

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4) On Death & The Shortness of Life

“Leave it up to the Gods and turn your attention to how you can best live the life before you.”

“You accept the limits placed on your body (height, weight, etc) Accept those placed on your time.”

“If it doesn’t hurt the individual elements to change continually into one another, why are people afraid of all of them changing and separating? It’s a natural thing. And nothing natural is evil.”

“Don’t complain. Doing what’s right takes patience. Think about the number of people who have feuded and envied and hated and fourth and died and been buried.”

“Treat everything around you as a dream.”

“And what dying is—and that if you look at it in the abstract and break down your imaginary ideas of it by logical analysis, you realize that it’s nothing but a process of nature, which only children can be afraid of. (And not only a process of nature but a necessary one.) And how man grasps God.”

“Then what can guide us?? Only philosophy. Which means making sure that the power within stays safe and free from assault, superior to please and pain, doing nothing randomly or dishonestly and with imposture, not dependent on anyone else’s doing something or not doing it. And making sure that it accepts what happens and what it is dealt as coming from the same place it came from. And above all, that it accepts death in a cheerful spirit.”

“You have functioned as a part of something; you will vanish into what produced you. Or be restored, rather. To the reason(logos) from which all things spring. By being changed.”

People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”

“But suppose that those who remembered you were immortal and your memory undying. What good would it do you?? And I don’t mean when you’re dead, but in your own lifetime. What use is praise, except to make your lifestyle a little more comfortable?”

“In the age of Vespasian for example — People doing the exact same things: marrying, raising children, getting sick, dying, waging war, throwing parties, doing business, farming, flattering, boasting, distrusting, plotting, hoping others will die, complaining about their own lives, falling in love, putting away money, seeking high office and power……and that life they led is nowhere to be found…The exact same thing happened in the age of Trajan..And that too, gone..

Then what should we work for??

—Only this: proper understanding; unselfish action; truthful speech.  A resolve to accept whatever happens as necessary and familiar, flowing like water from that same source and spring.”

“Suppose that a god announced that you were going to die tomorrow or the day after. Unless you were a complete coward you wouldn’t kick up a fuss about which day it was—what difference could it make?? Now recognize that the difference between years from now and tomorrow is just as small.”

“Human lives and brief and trivial. Pass through this life as nature demands. To give it up without complaint.”

“Everything is interwoven, and the web is holy; none of its parts are unconnected. They are composed harmoniously, and together they compose the world.”

 “Our lifetime is so brief. And to live it out in these circumstances, among these people, in this body? Nothing to get excited about. Consider the abyss of time past, the infinite future. Three days of life or three generations: whats the difference?”

“Surrounded by all of this, we need to practice acceptance. Without disdain. But remembering that our own worth is measured by what we devote our energy to.”

“As a doctor prescribes patients thing, nature has prescribed us all with different physicality’s and injuries….What happens to each of us is ordered. It furthers our destiny. Accept what nature prescribes. Embrace it.”

“Nature creates things with the overall idea that it will be beneficial to the WHOLE. It was prescribed for you, and it pertains to you. The thread was spun long ago, by the oldest cause of all.”

“The foolishness of people who are surprised by anything that happens. Like travelers amazed at foreign customs.”

“I am made up of substance and what animates it, and neither one can ever stop existing, and more than it began to. Every portion of me will be reassigned as another portion of the world, and that in turn transformed into another. Ad infinitum.”

“Keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone—those that are now and those to come. Existence flows past us like a river. The infinity of past and future gapes before us—a chasm whose depth we cannot see.”

“Remember:  

-Matter-how tiny you share of it.

-Time-how brief and fleeting your allotment of it.

-Fate-How small a role you play in it.”

“Soon you’ll be ashes, or bones. A mere name, at most—and even that is just a sound, an echo. The things we want in life are empty, stale, and trivial.”

“Until your time comes, honor and revere the gods, treat human beings as they deserve, be tolerant with others and strict with yourself. Remember, nothing belongs to you but your flesh and blood and nothing else in under your control.”

“Death. The end of sense-perception, of being controlled by our emotions, of mental activity, of enslavement to our bodies.”

“So many who were remembered already forgotten, and those who remember them long gone.”

“For every action, ask: How does it affect me? Could I change my mind about it? —But soon I’ll be dead, and the slate’s empty. So this is the only question: Is it the action of a responsible being, part of society, and subject to the same decrees as God?”

“That everything has to submit. But only rational beings can do so voluntarily.”

“At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.”

“Nature is like someone throwing a ball in the air, gauging its rise and arc-and where it will fall. And what does the ball gain as it flies upward? Or lose when it plummets to earth? What does the bubble gain from its existence? Or lose by bursting? And the same for a candle.

—They all die soon—praiser and praised, remember and remembered.  Remembered in these parts or in a corner of them. Even there they don’t all agree with each other (or even with themselves). And the whole earth a mere point in space.”

“Fear of death is fear of what we may experience. Nothing at all, or something quite new. But if we experience nothing, we can experience nothing bad. And if our experience changes, then our existence will change with it—change, but not cease.”

Don’t look down on death, but welcome it. It too is one of the things required by nature. Like youth and old age. Like growth and maturity. Like a new set of teeth, a beard, the first gray hair. Like sex and pregnancy and childbirth. Like all the other physical changes at each stage of life, our dissolution is no different.”

“So this is how a thoughtful person should await death: not with indifference, not with impatience, not with disdain, but simply viewing it as one of the things that happens to us. Now you anticipate the child’s emergence from its mother’s womb; that’s how you should await the hour when your soul will emerge from its compartment.”

“Keep in mind that everything you believe is meaningless to those you leave behind.—The only thing that could make us want to stay here: the chance to live with those who share our vision.  

—But look how tiring it is—the cacophony we live in. Enough to make you say to death, ‘come quickly. Before I start to forget myself, like them.”

“Think about your life: childhood, boyhood, youth, old age.  Every transformation a kind of dying. Was that so terrible?”

“The earth will cover us all, and then be transformed in turn, and that too will change, ad infinitum. And that as well, ad infinitum.”

——“Think about them: the waves of change and alteration, endlessly breaking. And see our brief mortality for what it is.”

“Consider the lives led once by others, long ago, the lives led by others after you, the lives led even now, in foreign lands. How many people don’t even know your name. How many will soon have forgotten it. How many offer you praise now—and tomorrow, perhaps, contempt. —That to be remembered is worthless. Like fame. Like everything.”

“All that you see will soon have vanished, and those who see it vanish will vanish themselves, and the ones who reached old age have no advantage over the untimely dead.”

“To decompose is to be recomposed.—That’s what nature does, endlessly..”

“To my soul: 

-Are you every going to achieve goodness? Wholeness. Ever be fulfilled, ever stop desiring-lusting and longing for people and things to enjoy? Or for more time to enjoy them? Or for some other place or country—a more temperate clime? Or for people easier to get along with?  

—And instead be satisfied with what you have, and accept the present—all of it.  And convince yourself that everything is the gift of the gods, that things are good and always will be, whatever they decide and have in store for the preservation of that perfect entity—good and just and beautiful, creating all things, connecting and embracing them, and gathering in their separated fragments to create more like them.

Blaming no one.”

“He has stripped away his body and—realizing that at some point soon he will have to abandon mankind and leave all this behind—has dedicated himself to serving justice in all he does, and nature in all that happens.  

What people say or think about him, or how they treat him, isn’t something he worries about.  Only these two questions: Is what he’s doing now the right thing to be doing? Does he accept and welcome what he’s been assigned?  

He has stripped away all other occupations, all other tasks. He wants only to travel a straight path, to God.”

“Nature gives and nature takes away. Anyone with sense and humility will tell her, ‘give and take as you please,’ not out of defiance, but out of obedience and goodwill.”

“Continual awareness of all time and space, of the size and life span of the things around us. A grape seed in infinite space.”

“Everything was born to die.”

“When you lose your temper or even feel irritated-remember that human life is very short.”

“Where are all those people now?

—Nowhere…or wherever.

That way you’ll see human life for what it is. Smoke. Nothing. Especially when you recall that once things alter they cease to exist through all the endless years to come.

—Then why such turmoil?? To live your brief life rightly, isn’t that enough?”

“The raw material you’re missing, the opportunities…What is any of this but training—training for your logos, in life observed accurately, scientifically.

—So keep at it, until it’s fully digested—As a blazing fire takes whatever you throw on it, and makes it light and flame.”

“Remember how brief is the attentiveness required. And then our lives will end.”

Amor Fati

“Leaves that the wind drives earthward; such are the generations of men. -Your children, leaves. Leaves applauding loyally and heaping praise upon you, or turning around and calling down curses, sneering and mocking from a safe distance.

A glorious reputation handed down by leaves. All of these ‘spring up in springtime’ and the wind blows them all away. And the tree puts forth others to replace them.  

None of us have much time. And yet you act as if things were eternal—the way you fear and long for them.”

“But intelligence is uniquely drawn toward what is akin to it, and joins with it inseparably, in shared awareness.”

“What is it you want? To keep on breathing? What about your feelings? Desiring? Growing? Ceasing to grow?  Using your voice? Thinking? Which of them seems worth having?

—But if you can do without them all, then continue to follow the logos and God. To the end. To prize those other things—to grieve because death deprives us of them—is an obstacle.”

“The fraction of infinity, of that vast abyss of time, allotted to each of us.  Absorbed in an instant into eternity. —The fraction of all substance, and all spirit. —The fraction of the whole earth you crawl about on. —Keep all that in mind, and don’t treat anything as important except doing what your nature demands, and accepting what nature send you.”

“How the mind conducts itself. It all depends on that. All the rest is within its power, or beyond its control—corpses and smoke.”

“And to be sent away from it (life) not by a tyrant or a dishonest judge, but by Nature, who first invited you in—why is that so terrible?”

“Like the impresario ringing down the curtain on an actor: “But I’ve only gotten through three acts…!” Yes. This will be a drama in three acts, the length fixed by the power that directed your creation, and now directs your dissolution. Neither was yours to determine. So make your exit with grace—the same grace shown to you.”

Interesting Side Note: To avoid the public schools: Roman Aristocrats normally preferred to have their sons educated by private tutors who were considered more reliable than the professional schoolmasters who taught all comers for a fee.

^^I still find this to be a smart thing to do in today’s society. Public schools spend more time managing students than teaching them…To find a solution for the issues in the education system…Anyone have solutions?

04 be content with what you are ma

5) 19 Best Quotes from Meditations

“The despicable phoniness of people who say, ‘listen, I’m going to level with you here.’ What does that mean?? It shouldn’t even need to be said. It should be obvious—written in block letters on your forehead.  It should be audible in your voice, visible in your eyes, like a lover who looks into your face, and takes in the whole story at a glance.  A straightforward honest person should be like someone who stinks: when you’re in the same room with him, you know it.  But false straightforwardness is like a knife in the back. False friendship is the worst.  Avoid it at all costs. If you’re honest and straightforward and mean well, it should show in your eyes. It should be unmistakable.”

“I can control my thoughts as necessary; then how can I be troubled?  What is outside my mind means nothing to it. Absorb that lesson and your feet stand firm.”

“My city and state are Rome-as Antoninus. But as a human being? The world. So for me, ‘good’ can only mean what’s good for both communities.”

“To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony.”

“Have you ever seen a served hand or foot, or a decapitated head, just lying somewhere far away from the body it belonged to?? —That’s what we do to ourselves—or try to—when we rebel against what happens to us, when we segregate ourselves..or when we do something selfish. You have one advantage here: you can reattach yourself.”

“The mind in itself has no needs, except for those it creates itself. Is undisturbed, except for its own disturbances. Knows no obstructions, except those from within.”

“If the problem is you’re not doing something you think you should be doing, why not just do it?”

“Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous. The object of praise remains what it was—no better and no worse.—Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it?”

“Do not pursue pleasure as good and flee from pain as if it is evil—that is blasphemous. To privilege pleasure over pain, life over death, fame over anonymity—is clearly blasphemous. NATURE doesn’t do those things.”

“Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, thats when he has you in his spell.”

“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?” (Think about your 9-5 job—if you hate it, why do you fear death? Because you want to continue working at a job you hate? Want to keep living an unhappy life?…)

“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, ‘why is this so unbearable?  Why can’t I endure it?’  You’ll be embarrassed to answer.”

“Keep in mind that when the mind detaches itself and realizes its own nature, it no longer has anything to do with ordinary life-the rough & the smooth.”

“Leaves that the wind drives earthward; such are the generations of men. —Your children, leaves. Leaves applauding loyally and heaping praise upon you, or turning around and calling down curses, sneering and mocking from a safe distance. A glorious reputation handed down by leaves. All of these ‘spring up in springtime’ and the wind blows them all away. And the tree puts forth others to replace them.  None of us have much time. And yet you act as if things were eternal—the way you fear and long for them.”

That kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere—not ironic or an act. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight—if you get the chance—correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do you harm…

‘No, no my friend. That isn’t what were here for. It isn’t me who’s harmed by that.  It’s you.’ And show him gently without pointing fingers that it’s so.”

“If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live it in a consistent way.—Unhelpful unless you specify a goal.”

“If you direct your energies toward a common goal for all of mankind, your actions will be consistent, and so will you.”

“Things are wrapped in such a veil of mystery that many good philosophers have found it impossible to make sense of them. Even the stoics have trouble.  Any assessment we make is subject to alteration—just as we are ourselves.”

“People ask, have you ever seen the gods you worship?  How can you be sure they exist?Answers——Just look around….I’ve never seen my soul either, and yet I revere it—I Know they exist because I’ve felt their power over and over.”

You can buy the book for $4.00 from Amazon here if you would like! Please share if you think this summary can impact others to live their best life!

5 Life-Changing Takeaways from the Book, “Way Of The Peaceful Warrior”

Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives

Book Written By Dan Millman

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Dan signing my Peaceful Warrior book!

Click on Dan’s name above to go to his website & learn more about him. (Also can scroll down to go straight to the 5 life-changing takeaways if you’d like).

Growing wise through personal and spiritual experiences, this story follows a World Champion Gymnast, Dan, who seemed to “have it all” in the eyes of society.  Even though he had everything he desired in the physical realm, he was still not happy.

I think many people can relate to this^.  We get what we think we want and then find out that it doesn’t bring lasting fulfillment. We hear about rich & famous people committing suicide, although many people often desire that famous/rich life. Dan is still alive & well today, but he went through many struggles to be able to live life beyond his ego.

I feel good, sometimes I don’t, ay,” said Drake in his popular song “God’s Plan.”

Everyone feels bad at times, no matter how much ‘success’ they have in this world. And it’s okay to feel bad, even though the media only portrays happy people having a good time. Remember that what you see on tv usually isn’t an accurate example of real life.  You can check out an article I wrote on accepting our feelings by Clicking Here.

Anyway, one night, while Dan was still in college, he went to a gas station after waking up in the middle of the night.  He met a unique old man who he named Socrates later on. (“Socrates” never told Dan his real name).

Socrates became Dan’s guru/mentor/teacher. Helping to enlighten Dan, Socrates teaches him many things throughout the book that ultimately opens Dan’s mind and allows him to awaken; to be happy now without a reason.  Like many people in the World today, Dan was living through his ego before he met Socrates.  He pursued worldly pleasures & accomplishments only to find out that those “fulfilling” moments don’t last.  Led by his teacher, Socrates, Dan is able to experience life beyond his ego, and live in peace.

The “living in peace” phrase just created another thought through me; we always say Rest in Peace when someone dies, but why don’t we ever say Live in Peace when we are living??

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Way of the Peaceful Warrior was one of the first books that had a big impact on my life.  I read it for the first time when I was around the age of 19, and have continued to read it again & again.

After I finished reading this book for the first time it immediately became my favorite book, and remains my favorite to this day. It opened up my mind to new ideas & a different way of viewing & living life. Way of the Peaceful Warrior has helped me live joyfully in the present moment, to be happy now without reason, to focus on things that really matter, to take action instead of dwelling in thought, to live non-judgmentally, & to live life in love.

I do not always remain in this state of bliss, but when I accept my feelings & situations as they are, this brings me peace. I shared this earlier, but click here if you’d like to read an article on this.

The author, Dan Millan, said he wrote this book “to inspire, uplift, and to remind readers of life’s bigger picture & higher promise.”  This book definitely inspired me & gave me more insight into the bigger picture of life.

Live the moment

“Be happy now, without reason, or you’ll never be happy.”

~I truly believe that this book should be read throughout schools all around the world.  The ideas & ways of thinking this book explains could benefit the education system & our future tremendously~

In this post I will summarize some of the main points of the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I will discuss how I have been using what I’ve learned from this book, will provide you with many of my favorite quotes from the book that relate to each takeaway & I’ve added some thought provoking quotes from the book at the end. Thank you for reading & Enjoy!

**I also want to encourage you to not just read this, but to put these ideas into practice. Ask yourself, “How can I apply this to my life?” These life-changing ideas need to be more than just read. Be patient when practicing these, & continue to remind yourself of these ideas throughout your days for them to become second nature.**

1) BE HAPPY NOW, WITHOUT REASON.

  • Millman’s words helped me see that happiness lies in the journey, not in the destination.  Many people are working at jobs only to make money for retirement.  Retirement does not equal happiness. I have used this knowledge to do more of what I love & to practice being fully present in each moment.  I am able to enjoy the ‘little things’ in life, such as a cup of coffee, a book, playing basketball, teaching, hanging out with family/friends, and the list goes on.

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Why waste half your life doing things you don’t enjoy doing if you have an opportunity to do something you enjoy?

Happiness happens now, in this present moment.  The future never really comes, the future only happens as another present moment.

Here are great quotes from the book that can open your eyes to being happy now, without reason:

* “‘What do I do then, now? Where do I go from here?’ Dan asked Socrates.

‘Who cares?’ He yelled gleefully.  ‘A fool is ‘happy’ when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason.  That’s what makes happiness the ultimate discipline—above all else I have taught you.’”

“Reality never matched their dreams; happiness was just around the corner — a corner they never turned. And the source of it all was the human mind.”

“There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, just be happy. You are already free!” 

“Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness.” 

“You Don’t need a reason to be happy. If you do that reason can be taken away.” 

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“And so I awoke to reality, free of any meaning or any search. What could there possibly be to search for? All of Socrate’s words had come alive with my death. This was the paradox of it all, the humor of it all, and the great change. All searches, all achievements, all goals, were equally enjoyable, and equally unnecessary.” 

“Act happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love, and do what you will.”

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

2) You are much more than what you think

&

Live in the Present.

  • Our thoughts limit our experience.  When you can let go of your thoughts, you can be fully alive in the present moment.  The answers you seek lie beyond thought.

“My name doesn’t matter; neither does yours.  What is important is what lies beyond names and beyond questions.”

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“The birth of the mind is the death of the senses” 

^^ I’ve been realizing this more & more lately that we are most alive when we are not dwelling in thoughts.  We can take time to have rational thoughts, but take some time to meditate in nothingness.  Let go of your thoughts by focusing on your external environment.  Tap into your senses. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Feel?  Try to do this for at least a few minutes.

When you are only in your mind, thinking, you are never fully in the present moment. Practice focusing your attention to things outside of you.

* “Satori is the warrior’s state of being; it occurs at the moment when the mind is free of thought, pure awareness; the body is active, sensitive, relaxed; and the emotions are open and free.”

“Remember, every-moment satori.”

“The warrior is Here, Now.”

“You have to ‘lose your mind’ before you can come to your senses.” 

“Stay in the present. You can do nothing to change the past, and the future will never come exactly as you plan or hope for.  The warrior is here, now. Your sorrow, your fear & anger, regret & guilt, your envy and plans and cravings live only in the past, or in the future.”

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“Your business is not to ‘get somewhere’ — it is to be here.

“You have been immortal since before you were born and will be long after the body dissolves. The body is Consciousness; never born; never dies; only changes. The mind — your ego, personal beliefs, history, and identity — is all that ends at death.”

^^This quote reminds me of the philosophy stoicism. I wrote a post about it that you can check out by Clicking Here.

3) Life is much more than what you can think.

  • This book helped me view the external environment without judging it. Instead of looking outside & thinking “Ooo I love or hate this weather. There is a bird & a tree, and wow that car is going really fast,” I practice just looking outside & dwelling on what is, letting thoughts come & then go like passing clouds. I practice not judging things around me, seeing them just as they are, with no thinking needed. I am not like this all the time, but it is good to practice this technique!

“You now see everything through a veil of associations about things, projected over a direct, simple awareness. You’ve ‘seen it all before’; it’s like watching a movie for the twentieth time. You see only memories of things, so you become bored. Boredom, you see, is fundamental non-awareness of life; boredom is awareness, trapped in the mind. You’ll have to lose your mind before you can come to your senses.”

“You’ve become bored to things because they exist only as names to you. The dry concepts of mind obscure your direct perception.”

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“Like most people, you’ve been taught to gather information from outside yourself; from books, magazines, experts.  Like this car, you open up and let the facts pour in.  Sometimes the information is premium and sometimes it’s low octane.  You buy your knowledge at the current market rates, much like you buy gasoline.  Like this gas tank, you are overflowing with preconceptions; full of useless knowledge.  You hold many facts and opinions, yet know little of yourself.  Before you can learn, you’ll have to first empty your tank.

4) Actions are more important than thoughts.

“Your thoughts are like wild monkeys stung by a scorpion.”

Don’t believe everything you think; I have heard this phrase many times & it relates to this idea.

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We can’t always control what we think, but we do have control of our actions.

Yes, try to think positive & focus on the best, but don’t try to force thoughts away. Embrace them; let it come & then let them go like clouds passing by.

“You don’t need to control emotion,” Socrates said. “Emotions are natural, like passing weather. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes sorrow or anger. Emotions are not the problem. The key is to transform the energy of emotion into constructive action.”

“Old urges continue to arise, but urges do not matter; only actions do. A warrior is as a warrior does.”

“. . Action always happens in the present, because it is an expression of the body, which can only exist in the here and now. But the mind is like a phantom that lives only in the past or future. It’s only power over you is to draw your attention out of the present.”

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Paying attention is also an action, and one of the most important actions:

“A Zen student asked his roshi the most important element of Zen.  The roshi replied, ‘Attention.’ 

‘Yes, thank you,’ the student replied. ‘But can you tell me the second most important element?’ And the roshi replied, ‘Attention.’”

Practice paying attention.

“Ultimately you will learn to meditate your every action.”

“Use whatever knowledge you have but see its limitations. Knowledge alone does not suffice; it has no heart. No amount of knowledge will nourish or sustain your spirit; it can never bring you ultimate happiness or peace. Life requires more than knowledge; it requires intense feeling and constant energy. Life demands right action if knowledge is to come alive.” 

“Full attention to every moment is my desire and my pleasure. Attention costs no money; your only investment is training.”

5) On Life & Death.

* “Experts devote their life to training. Masters devote their training to life.”

“I’ve tried to show you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is the warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.”

* “Everyone tells you what’s good for you. they don’t want you to find your own answers. they want you to believe theirs.”

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* “‘Why worry? Better to live until you die.  I am a warrior; my way is action,’ Socrates said. ‘I am a teacher, I teach by example.  Someday you too may teach others as I have shown you—then you’ll understand that words are not enough; you too must teach by example, and only what you’ve realized through your own experience.’”

“The World out there, is a school, Dan.  Life is the only real teacher.  It offers many experiences, and if experience alone brought wisdom and fulfillment, then elderly people would all be happy, enlightened masters

..But the lessons of experience are hidden.  I can help you learn from experience to see the world clearly, and clarity is something you desperately need right now.  Your intuition knows this is true, but your mind rebels; you’ve experienced much, but you’ve learned little.”

“Think of death as a transformation — a bit more radical than puberty, but nothing to get particularly upset about.” 

“Death is not sad; the sad thing is that most people don’t really live at all.”

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“Where are you? Here. What time is it? Now. What are you? This moment.”

“You fear death and crave survival. You want Forever, you desire Eternity. In your deluded belief that you are this ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’ or ‘soul,’ you find the escape clause in your contract with mortality.” 

“Wake up! If you knew for certain that you had a terminal illness – if you had precious little time left to make use of your life and consider who you are, you’d not waste time on self-indulgence or fear, lethargy or ambition.  You do have a terminal illness – it is death. Be happy now, without reason – or you never will be at all.”

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Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed these book notes as much as I enjoyed the book.  I think many people can relate to this incredible story.

Let us be happy now, without reason, and we will live our best life.

You can purchase The Way of the Peaceful Warrior book from Amazon by clicking here if you’d like.

More thought provoking quotes from the book:

* “So I’m a fool, huh?” Says Millman.  Socrates responds with, “We’re all fools together.  It’s just that a few people know it; others don’t.”

“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 a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”

“Enlightenment is not an attainment, it is a realization. And when you wake up, everything changes and nothing changes.” 

“How do you know you haven’t been asleep your whole life?  How do you know you’re not asleep right now?”

“Understanding is the one-dimensional comprehension of the intellect. It leads to knowledge. Realization is three-dimensional — a simultaneous comprehension of head, heart, and instinct. It comes only from direct experience.” 

“Focus all your energy not on struggling with the old, but on building the new.” 

“Embody what you teach, and teach only what you have embodied.”

“Stress happens when the mind resists what is.”

“There are no ordinary moments!”

*Story about a younger traveler, Milarepa who has been seeking enlightenment everywhere.  He eventually sees an old man carrying a heavy sack down a mountain & thinks the man knows the answer to his question… 

Milarepa says, “‘Old man, please tell me what you know. What is enlightenment?’ The old man smiled at him for a moment, and swung the heavy burden off his shoulders, and stood straight.

‘Yes, I see!’ Cried Milarepa. ‘My everlasting gratitude. But please, one question more. What is after enlightenment?’

Smiling again, the old man picked up the sack once again, slung it over his shoulders, steadied his burden, and continued on his way.”

I had to read this story^ a few times before I understood it. I hope you can see it.

“Life is not suffering; it’s just that you will suffer it, rather than enjoy it, until you let go of your mind’s attachments and just go for the ride freely, no matter what happens.”

“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever.”

“Reading the future is based on a realistic perception of the present.  Don’t be concerned about seeing the future until you can clearly see the present.”

“Meditating an action is different from doing it. To do, there must be a doer, a self-conscious someone performing.  But when you meditate an action, you’ve already released all thoughts, even the thought of, ‘I.’ There’s no ‘you’ left to do it.  In forgetting yourself, you become what you do, so your action is free, spontaneous, without ambition, inhibition, or fear.’”

“The journey is what brings us happiness not the destination.”

I hope you enjoyed the quotes as well as the summary! Now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice! Start today, ask “How can I apply these ideas to my daily life?” Let these ideas sink in to who you are.

I also recommend reading Dan’s second & third books in the Peaceful Warrior trilogy. (Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior & The Hidden School) which you can purchase from Amazon if you’d like by clicking on their title.

Get the books from a library or buy them; either way it will be worth your while! I read both & thoroughly enjoyed them.

Happy Reading! I wish you well on your journey toward becoming a Peaceful Warrior.

4 Philosophy ideas that can bring you temporary peace

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Disclaimer—This might change your perspective on life. Hopefully for the better. 

The choice is yours.

The 4 philosophy ideas I discuss stem from a philosophy called stoicism.

I wanted to title this post: “Stoicism 101; an old philosophy that can liberate you,” but I’m not sure if many people have heard about stoicism, and I know most people have heard of philosophy.

So what is stoicism? (scroll down to ‘4 Main Points‘ section for just the main points if you’d like).

Stoicism is defined as: “The endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.”

It is being okay with everything that happens & accepting how you feel.  It is focusing on what you can control, and letting go of the rest.  

Stoicism is liberating.

Stoicism can help you: 

  • Become a better person & friend
  • Deal with people & external events appropriately
  • Deal with adversity
  • Maintain a level head through praise & criticism
  • Come to peace with death
  • Overcome destructive emotions, and many more.

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Stoicism is also defined as: “An ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium. The school taught that virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge, and that the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.”

Stoicism helps us accept life as it is.  It helps us get past our labels of “good” & “bad.” Stoicism helps put us in a mindful state of awareness, getting us out of our constantly judging mind, enabling us to experience life fully, non-judgmentally.

In relation to living non-judgmentally, I’ve heard this quote: “What is chaos to the fly is normal to the spider.”

Shakespeare also said, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

We know what is good or bad in human terms, but there is a lot more going on in the universe than what we think.

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Think about the millions of galaxies just like this one. Or even think about 10 more. The Universe is vast.

There is so much happening beyond us.

We know that murder is a bad thing, yet cows, chickens and other animal life are murdered daily in our world.  I eat meat so I am not complaining, I am just trying to get us all to think.

Do you think eating dog is bad?

Multiple countries eat dog today, and other countries think that this is very wrong…Here is an article that came out April 3, 2018 that discusses how over 5 million dogs are eaten in Vietnam every year—Click Here For Article.

Is it wrong to kill animals for food? I don’t have that answer.

Maybe hundreds or thousands of years from now, if the human race is still around, they will wonder how we could have eaten the meat of other animals.

Maybe not though as well.

Look back to a few examples from recent centuries, the 1900’s & beyond, to things we look back on in disgust: Open racism, public hangings & no womens’ rights.

These injustices are still happening today in some places.

So this is what philosophy is; thinking. Thinking, learning & then living out the best life from what we know. Philosophy is about questions & perspectives.

Stoicism is not pessimistic, it is optimistic, you just need to see it in the right light.

Before I get to the main points of stoicism, I would like your feedback via email. I am considering writing a short ebook that will discuss stoicism in more detail.  I have about 70 pages of solid notes on the subject, & have read multiple books regarding stoicism, so if you would be interested in reading a short ebook(condensed to about 20 pages) please let me know!

For now, here is a summary of a few main points that stoicism offers & how we can apply them to our lives.

4 Main Points

1~Amor Fati

Which translates to a love of one’s fate•

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German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was a big fan of amor fati. 

He is quoted saying, “my formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it, but love it.”

The stoics also had another way of looking at this. They believed in a universal guiding force of the universe. They thought we are like a dog tied to a moving cart, and we have two options: We can try to dig our hind legs in, struggling to control everything, getting dragged & being challenged. Or we can enjoy the ride & live our best lives.

Last quote on Amor Fati:

“Demand not that things happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do, and you will go on well.” Epictetus (Philosopher & former slave)

Are you loving your fate?  If not, you can with practice, and it will help you live your best life.

2~Focus on what you can control and let go of the rest

Most of us have heard this quote: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr

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We have heard it, and might think, “yea that’s good, I should do that.” But we often don’t follow through with this quote.

We need to follow through with action. Make a list of things you can control, and a list of things you can’t control.  Then stop wasting any time on things you cannot control.  This takes time & practice, as I am practicing this myself and am not perfect at it.

I love this idea from Philip Ghezelbash that relates to focusing on the things we can control:

“Do you have a problem in your life?

No? ► Then don’t worry.

Yes? ► Can you do something about it?…

Yes? ► Then don’t worry.

No? ► Then don’t worry.”

I have been practicing this lately when I am stuck in traffic.  There is no reason to get upset in uncontrollable traffic, but many people do & I have too at times.  I’ve been reminding myself that I have no control over the traffic, and this reminder has been bringing me peace of mind.

3~Practice poverty & misfortune

This may sound counterproductive but it can actually help a person grow tremendously.

When we intentionally practice poverty & misfortune a few days each month, we will be more prepared and accepting for when it does come.

“We must learn to disappoint ourselves at leisure before the world ever has a chance to slap us by surprise at a time of its own choosing.” Alain de Botton

Alain goes on to say: “One of the goals of civilization is to instruct us in how to be sad rather than angry. Sadness may not sound very appealing. But it carries – in this context – a huge advantage. It is what allows us to detach our emotional energies from fruitless fury around things that (however bad) we cannot change and that are the fault of no-one in particular and – after a period of mourning – to refocus our efforts in places where our few remaining legitimate hopes and expectations have a realistic chance of success.”

Entrepreneur, practicer of stoicism, and author of a New York Times Best Selling Book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss, practices this each month.  See him talk about it by clicking here

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Tim Ferriss

Ferriss talks about how the philosopher Cato, would practice poverty & misfortune:

During Cato’s age, over 2000 years ago, every now and then he would wear clothes that society viewed as humiliating.

Cato did this to train himself to be ashamed of only those things truly worth being ashamed about.

Deep down we know that clothes are nothing to be ashamed of, but many people spend a lot of money to buy brand clothing to impress people they don’t even like.

The philosopher Seneca also practiced this.  In one of his writings he wrote: “Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?’”

We undervalue what we have, because most likely we’ve always had it…

“Many of your fears are based on undervaluing the things that are easily obtainable.” Tim Ferriss

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Ferriss also practices this by doing fasts, not eating anything for days, & also doing fasts that include only eating rice, or only drinking water.  (If you plan on doing a fast, research it as much as possible beforehand).

This year I have done two 30 hour fasts, and multiple 16-20 hour fasts.

There has been a lot of research done on fasting, and it has many benefits.  This Harvard study explains how fasting can lead to a longer and healthier life: Click Here for the study.

I’ve been practicing this another way without even knowing it:  When I need clothes, I first go to Goodwill or other thrift stores, where I buy great clothes for a cheap price.  I am very glad my mother took us to thrift shops growing up; they really have some amazing gems.  And when I buy clothes that society might think is “poor,” that doesn’t bother me & I’ll still wear it.

Macklemore agrees here in his song Thrift shop(clean version).

He says, “I’m like, ‘yo, that’s 50 dollars for a t-shirt.’ Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition. 50 dollars for a t-shirt, that’s just some ignorant _____.

I call that getting tricked by the business.”

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Do we care that much about the opinions of others that we will spend enormous amounts of money to impress them?

2000 years ago, former Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius said, “it never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.

Think about what your life would be like without the things you have.  It could happen.  Better to have practiced misfortune so that if it comes to you, you won’t be bothered by it.

Are you practicing poverty & misfortune?  If not, do you think you will?

4~None of what you do lasts

Again, this may sound pessimistic, but it is liberating, and if you are still reading you can sense that practicing stoicism can be liberating.

Marcus Aurelius reminded himself of all the people who have died, whether they had a “great” occupation or a “lowly” one.  He said: “Run down the list of those who felt intense anger at something: the most famous, the most unfortunate, the most hated, the most whatever: Where is all that now? Smoke, dust, legend…or not even a legend. Think of all the examples. And how trivial the things we want so passionately are.

“No matter how clever or brilliant, none of what we do lasts…It’s good to remember that.” Ryan Holiday

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“If everything is ephemeral, what does matter?  Right now matters.  Being a good person and doing the right thing right now, thats what matters and that’s what was important to the Stoics. Be humble and honest and aware.” Ryan Holiday

If you want to really live your best life, it is important to frequently think of your own mortality. This will help you appreciate each and every moment, and not have such an intense fear of death that most people refuse to think about.

“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” Marcus Aurelius

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I hope you enjoyed learning about, or learning more about the wonderful philosophy of stoicism.  There are many more practices involved with stoicism; these were a few key starting points I believe are good to begin with, & they are ones that I am practicing.

If you want to learn more about stoicism, I recommend reading the book “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius.  I recently read it & it is now one of my top 3 all-time favorite books.

And as I said, I have many notes on stoicism and am considering writing a short ebook on the subject to discuss it in more details (the ebook would be around 20 pages). If this is something you’d be interested in reading please let me know 🙂

I look forward to hearing from you, & hope you have gained a new perspective through reading this.

Cheers.

“In your actions, don’t procrastinate. In your conversations, don’t confuse. In your thoughts, don’t wander. In your soul, don’t be passive or aggressive. In your life, don’t be all about business.” Aurelius