Sunday, November 12, 2017

Commentary on Meditations: B7:27-29

Do not dream of possession of what you do not have: rather reflect on the greatest blessings in what you do have, and on their account remind yourself how much they would have been missed if they were not there. But at the same time you must be careful not to let your pleasure in them habituate you to dependency, to avoid distress if they are sometimes absent.

Withdraw into yourself. It is in the nature of the rational directing mind to be self-content with acting rightly and the calm it thereby enjoys.

Erase the print of imagination. Stop the puppet-strings of impulse. Define the present moment of time. Recognize what happens to you or to another. Analyse and divide the event into the causal and the material. Think of your final hour. Leave the wrong done by another where it started.

Passage 27 of Book 7 is a great meditation on gratitude.  Be content with what you have and guard yourself against wanting things that you do not have (a bigger home, a nicer car, etc.)  One of the practices of Stoicism is to make life hard on purpose, such as sleeping on the floor or taking a cold shower occasionally.  By doing so, you enhance your gratitude for the things you enjoy (a warm bed and shower).  But even more importantly, be sure you are not relying on these things for your happiness.  You will lose these things and when you do, you will want to still be content.  Therefore, don't let your dependency of these things sway you at all.

You do not need to escape to your mountain retreat or to your beach.  Your escape is in your mind.  Act well and give yourself a retreat into your mind.

Your mind creates the print of imagination.  Don't relinquish control of your attitude to others.  You are in charge and in control of your attitude.  Don't let others attach puppet strings to you and then control you.  Be present - always.  Remember, eternity is now.  At any moment you may die.  If someone wrongs you, leave it with them - no need to carry that burden.

(see also Citadel p. 39, 41, 47,58, 186)

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