Sunday, October 7, 2018

Stoic Week 2018: Sunday

Morning Reflection
The works of the gods are full of providence, and the works of fortune are not separate from nature or the interweaving and intertwining of the things governed by providence. Everything flows from there. Further factors are necessity and the benefit of the whole universe, of which you are a part. What is brought by the nature of the whole and what maintains that nature is good for each part of nature. Just as the changes in the elements maintain the universe so too do the changes in the compounds.
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.3

Mid-day Reflection
Take longer (20-30 minutes) to sit quietly and contemplate the View from Above, using the audio recording provided.

Evening Reflection
I travel along nature’s way until I fall down and take my rest, breathing out my last into the air, from which I draw my daily breath, and falling down to that earth from which my father drew his seed, my mother her blood and my nurse her milk, and from which for so many years I have taken my daily food and drink, the earth which carries my footsteps and which I have used to the full in so many ways.
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.4

Read today’s evening text, and base your evening meditation on thinking about yourself as an integral part of nature. Think about how you could improve that relationship, for instance by thinking more about the effect of your actions on the natural environment.

I am part of the whole.  Marcus' graphic description of a severed hand or foot, reminds me of the fortunate position I am in as a human being.  A severed hand or foot cannot easily re-join the body.  but humans, who cut themselves off from society, can rejoin her.  I am part of the whole.

Here is Marcus' complete passage:

If you have ever seen a severed hand or foot, or a head cut off 34 and lying some way away from the rest of the body - analogous is what someone does to himself, as far as he can, when he will not accept his lot and severs himself from society or does some unsocial act. Suppose you have made yourself an outcast from the unity of nature - you were born a part of it, but now you have cut yourself off. Yet here lies the paradox - that it is open to you to rejoin that unity. No other part has this privilege from god, to come together again once it has been separated and cut away. Just consider the grace of god's favour to man. He has put it in man's power not to be broken off from the Whole in the first place, and also, if he has broken off, to return and grow back again, resuming his role as a member. (Book 8.34)

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