Meditate on these quotes every day

Picture credits: The Daily Stoic

Stoic philosophy is a very practical philosophy. Many stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus had spoken of some of the ultimate truths of life. They were not gods. They were common people like us with responsibilities at home and workplace. They had families to look after. They had jobs to do to. They had adversities and challenges to face. In the middle of all this they did not stop being philosophers. They did not stop working on themselves. It was only when they were striving for mental clarity, peace and self improvement did they reveal some beautiful words which still survive today- more than 2,000 years later. 

1. “We suffer more in imagination than in reality.”– Seneca

Stoic philosophers believed events are objective. They are ‘what they are’. If someone has ridiculed us on social media then it is an objective reality: it is what it is. We cannot go back in time and change it. But how we choose to look at those events will eventually decide how we are going to feel about them. In other words, our subjectivity or perception is going to determine how we feel about that particular event. How we are going to react to that ridiculous comment someone has made against us on social media is either going to make our day or break our day. A lot of times things are not that bad. Our judgement make them. Therefore it is of great importance that we work on improving our perspective. A lot is at stake when we do not have a favorable perception.

2. “Why should we feel anger at the world? As if the world would notice?”- Marcus Aurelius

Every time I read this, I feel a little different. We are not always angry at ourselves. Majority of the times we are angry at the world; at people- for not being kind enough, for not being honest enough with their jobs, for not being understanding enough, for not being like us. It is a big mistake to expect the world to work as per our preferences. People are not going to be like us: they do not care much if they are being greedy or not, they do not care if they are efficient at their jobs or not, they do not care about your expectations. They are just carrying on with their lives just the way you are.  Then what is the point in punishing yourself for someone else’s mistakes. Why are you angry? Why you? Do you think they care? Do you think they are noticing your anger? Do you believe they are going to come console you? NO. NO and NO. We can influence people. We can make a difference in this world. But we cannot do it for everyone.

3. “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

We all dread mornings because we have to go to work, we have to do household chores; we have to think of innumerable tasks on to-do list. In the middle of all the responsibilities we forget what a privilege it is to be able to breathe; to be alive. We forget it is a new day to correct our past mistakes. We forget it is a new day to make our plans again. We forget we have another day to care deeply about the people we love. This is what Marcus Aurelius said. He wanted us to make time for gratitude. If we are focused too much upon what we don’t have, we will never be able to enjoy what we already have. This is what gratitude teaches us. Strive for better but also enjoy what’s already there.

4. “You have to assemble your life yourself – action by action.”- Marcus Aurelius

Life is never build instantly. There is no magic formula to build our lives quickly. Everything is done brick by brick. In other words, one step at a time. Human beings are very impatient. We expect instant results with little time and hard work. We do our work on a daily basis and feel like we are not getting anywhere, like we are stuck. I am most certain it happens with everybody.  Every day progress doesn’t seem to matter a lot because we don’t get to see any changes. But in reality, we get better. We make progress. Like Marcus Aurelius said we have to assemble our lives action by action. Act once. Then act again. Act once more. Keep doing your work. You will definitely get there.

Decoding myself- ANGER

Picture credits: An Evil Nymph’s Blog on wordpress

Why are you angry?

Did someone say something to you?

Did someone hit you?

Did someone lie to you or hurt you emotionally?

These are all possibilities!!

Obvious and reasonable possibilities for you to be ANGRY…

I don’t intend to deny them. I don’t intend to steal you from your pain that’s been caused to you by these ‘external factors’.

But my question is, “WHY ARE YOU ANGRY? Why YOU and not THEY?”

If you were hurt because of someone else’s actions why is it that only you are angry and not the other person when you both were in the same situation at the same time? (assuming that the other person is actually isn’t angry)

It’s simple. You CHOSE. You chose to be angry. You chose to punish yourself for someone else’s faults or actions. You chose to be angry because you had all these EXPECTATIONS from the other person. Your CHOICE coupled EXPECTATIONS is what’s making you angry and causing you misery.

Anger cannot be simply alleviated with good and positive thoughts. There is a whole lot of complexity. Your neurons are doing their part; their sole job is changing your brain’s chemistry and that is giving rise to this emotion called anger. Neuroscience cannot be ignored here. Also, there is a whole lot of explanation from the evolutionary point of view as well. But my questions are more focused into freewill. My point is that you are angry and you must do something about it. Your anger is a reaction. Sometimes it is okay to be angry because you cannot always put a hold on your reactions. It’s just not humanly possible. But being angry; constantly angry is pain. It’s a grave pain for your mental well-being. And that’s why you must learn how to take control over your reactions.

It takes time. If I say you stop your expectations from other people or you simply have to acknowledge that you always have a choice. I am afraid it is too much to ask. These ideas are easier said than done.

So how should you start? Where should you start?

Whenever you are about to angry simply tell yourself that ‘right now I am angry.’ Acknowledge your anger. Then don’t listen to your thoughts. Let them float. Let them circle around in your head. Give them time. Some time. Even more if its needed. Take a deep breath. Tell yourself that you are going to react after 1 minute. Let that minute pass. If you are still angry give your reaction time one more minute. You will cool down eventually . It shall pass. Now by doing this you are choosing not to get angry. You are choosing to let go off the expectations.

DETACH.

Detachment from the moment becomes the key.