Roman Calendar

Thursday, April 9, 2015

"Living in the Here and Now" (Chapter 7 of "Everything Had Two Handles")

From "Living in the Here and Now" (Chapter 7 of Pies' Everything Has Two Handles):

     "Leave the past to itself, entrust the future to providence, and content yourself with bringing holiness and justice to the present"
~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (modified slightly from Long, Book XII, Chap.1)

     Pies writes, "One of the great liberating ideas of Stoic philosophy is the concept of 'present contentment.' In effect, the Stoic says, 'I can't change the past; I can't really determine or control the future; so the best I can do is live a life of decency and integrity - right here, right now'."

     "Let not the future trouble you; for you will come to it, if come you must, bearing with you the same reason which you are now using to meet the present."
~ Marcus Aurelius (Farquharson, 44)

      "What does Marcus mean by 'bearing with you the same reason which you are using now to meet the present'? I believe he is saying, 'Trust yourself to be a person of strength and reason, just as you are this very moment.' Of course, you might reply, 'But at this very moment, I'm a complete basket case!' Well, maybe so. But most people can point to many difficult situations they have faced, and faced down - whether the loss of a loved one, handling the breakup of a relationship, or dealing with a painful physical problem. It's helpful, in fact, to look back on such examples of one/s self-mastery and to say, in effect, 'If I could handle all that, I can handle whatever comes down the road.' And for now - your responsibility is simply to 'do the right thing': to bring 'holiness and justice' to the present."

     "Do not dwell upon all the manifold troubles which have come to pass and will come to pass, but ask yourself in regard to every present piece of work: what is there here that can't be borne and can't be endured?"
~ Marcus Aurelius (Farquharson, 57).

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