What a week!
I've been adding a question mark to "happy new year?" when I wish it to others lately, as if asking, "Can we even say happy new year at the moment?"
And yet, I am feeling very reflective and quiet, despite the tumult.
Over the years, I have learned that we are much more susceptible than we think we are to the effect of what we let in to our lives, especially into our minds.
So I am being even more selective and careful than usual about what I read, listen to and watch at the moment.
Along with just a little bit of news (we can't watch the news all day!), here's what I'm letting in:
- The Five Invitations by Frank Ostaseski (I also love his interview with Sam Harris)
- The Distracted Mind by Dr. Adam Gazzaley
- On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
- The Stoic Challenge by William B. Irvine
- from my favorite Stoic, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius -- especially these 2 meditations from Book 2:
"Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.
But for my part I have long perceived the nature of good and its nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading.
Neither can I be angry with my brother or fall foul of him; for he and I were born to work together, like a man’s two hands, feet or eyelids, or the upper and lower rows of his teeth.
To obstruct each other is against Nature’s law – and what is irritation or aversion but a form of obstruction.”
"In the life of a man, his time is but a moment, his being an incessant flux, his senses a dim rushlight, his body a prey of worms, his soul an unquiet eddy, his fortune dark, and his fame doubtful.
In short, all that is of the body is as coursing waters, all that is of the soul as dreams and vapors; life a warfare, a brief sojourning in an alien land; and after repute, oblivion.
Where, then, can man find the power to guide and guard his steps?
In one thing and one alone: Philosophy.
To be a philosopher is to keep unsullied and unscathed the divine spirit within him, so that it may transcend all pleasure and all pain, take nothing in hand without purpose and nothing falsely or with dissimulation, depend not on another's actions or inactions, accept each and every dispensation as coming from the same Source as itself - and last and chief, wait with a good grace for death, as no more than a simple dissolving of the elements whereof each living thing is composed.
If those elements themselves take no harm from their ceaseless forming and re-forming, why look with distrust upon the change and dissolution of the whole? It is but Nature's way; and in the ways of Nature there is no evil to be found."
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