Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B1.15

15. From Maximus: self-mastery, immune to any passing whim; good cheer in all circumstances, including illness; a nice balance of character, both gentle and dignified; an uncomplaining
energy for what needs to be done; the trust he inspired in everyone that he meant what he said and was well-intentioned in all that he did; proof against surprise or panic; in nothing either hurried or hesitant, never short of resource, never downcast or cringing, or on the other hand angry or suspicious; generosity in good works, and a forgiving and truthful nature; the impression he gave of undeviating rectitude as a path chosen rather than enforced; the fact that no one would ever have thought himself belittled by him, or presumed to consider himself superior to him; and a pleasant humour.

self-mastery, immune ... - one of the most important and most difficult virtues to master - temperance.  marcus is grateful to maximus for having learned that virtue.  self-mastery in all forms, is the gateway to finding contentment.  if you are constantly swayed by the whim of appetite, when a famine comes, you will be sad (a lot). if you are constantly swayed by looking at your smartphone all the time, when you lose your phone, you will be anxious (a lot).  master your ability to withstand desires; and master your ability to command yourself in fulfilling duties.

good cheer ... - some things are in our control and others are not.  when things are out of our control, the only thing we do have control of is our attitude.  and our attitude and perception of the situation is entirely in our control!  so change your attitude and you change the situation!

nice balance ... energy for what needs to be done - continuing with the theme of having a good attitude.

trust he inspired ... in all that he did - be a man or woman of your word.  if you say you are going to do something, do all that you can to keep that commitment.  be genuine in your words; do not inflate and downplay your perception.  speak of things as they are.  intend the best, no matter what.

proof against ... angry or suspicious - just as something can be water-proofed so that the object is not easily damaged by water, so too we can be surprise-proofed and panic-proofed.  we should train our mind and attitude to not be surprised or panicked by anything.  nothing should surprise or shock you - especially if you are 40 years old or older (for you will have generally 'seen it all').  be reserved and steady in your reactions so as to be able to apply reason and logic to any circumstance.  do not be hurried or hesitant, rather be deliberate in your thought and actions.  be resourceful and always upbeat in your attitude (don't be downcast or wring your hands or angry or doubtful of everyone's motivations).

generosity ... truthful nature - when i eat ice cream, i want a generous bowl :-) ... so too we should be generous with our good works.  forgive quickly and frankly and do not hold any grudges (forget it and move on).  be honest in all you do.

undeviating rectitude ...enforced - be a moral person and choose the right path ... don't go down the wrong path and then be forced to choose the better part.

the fact ... humor- in summary, act in a way that other people will have nothing bad to say about you.

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