Sunday, January 21, 2018

Commentary on Meditations: B10:11-12

Adopt a systematic study of the way all things change into one another: pay constant attention to this aspect of nature and train yourself in it. Nothing is so conducive to greatness of mind. One so trained has divested himself of his body: recognizing that in almost no time he will have to leave all this behind and depart from the world of men, he has devoted his entire self to justice in his own actions and to the nature of the Whole in all things external. He does not even give a thought to what others will say or suppose about him, or do against him, but is content to meet these two conditions - his own integrity in each present action, and glad acceptance of his present lot. He has abandoned all other preoccupations and ambitions, and his only desire is to walk the straight path according to law and, in so doing, to follow in the path of god.

What need of prompt or hint when it is open to yourself to discern what needs to be done - and, if you can see your way, to follow it with kind but undeviating intent. If you cannot see the way, hold back and consult your best advisers. If some other factors obstruct this advice, proceed on your present resources, but with cautious deliberation, keeping always to what seems just. Justice is the best aim, as any failure is in fact a failure of justice. A man following reason in all things combines relaxation with initiative, spark with composure.

If you constantly recognize how much and how often things and people change, you really begin to see how fragile and fleeting this life is.  There are a couple of reactions to this: you may decide life and all in it is just a joke and you're going to go do whatever you want - sex, drugs, rock and roll!!  Or maybe you decide that so much in life really isn't important, and therefore what you should devote yourself to is virtue - justice, wisdom, courage, temperance.  And you won't care what others say or think about you, because you know that you have found real truth and you are focused on what truly matters.  You have found the one path that matters and your only desire is to follow it - to follow the true, undeviating nature - the one that won't disappoint you at the end of it all.

Now that you have found the way - you have dug deep and have found solid rock - you should not need to be reminded and prompted as to what you should do.  If, however, you come at a crossroads, you should have enough information to decide which path to take.  But if not, then seek advice from "your best advisers."  But if even your best advisers cannot help, then proceed with what information you have.  If your decision is defensible in the context of justice, what more can you ask for?  At ease, but with initiative; a spark of action, but under control and with composure.

(see also Citadel p. 209-210)

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