Sunday

April 28

WHEN we are invited to an entertainment, we take what we find; and if anyone should bid the master of the house set fish or tarts before him, he would be thought absurd. Yet, in the world, we ask the gods for what they do not give us, and that though they have given us so many things.

EPICTETUS. FRAGMENTS. 12.

IN every feast remember that there are two guests to be entertained, the body and the soul ; and that what you give the body you presently lose, but what you give the soul remains for ever.

EPICTETUS. FRAGMENTS. 27.

AGRIPPINUS, when Florus was considering whether he should go to Nero's shows, so as to perform some part in them himself, bid him go. — "But why do not you go then?" says Florus. "Because," replied Agrippinus, "I do not deliberate about it." For he who once sets himself about such considerations, and goes to calculating the worth of external things, approaches very near to those who forget their own character.

EPICTETUS. DISCOURSES. Book i. §2. ¶3.

3 comments:

  1. Summary: "He who chooses to calculate the worth of external things approaches very near to forgetting the value of his own character."

    We have been granted so much, all that we need, in fact, to be happy. It all lies within us, and therefore the exclusive pursuit of external things, like food and status, betrays our inner gifts and leaves them to decay.

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  2. We must be thankful for all the bounty that we have in life. The "gods" have provided us will all of our needs and yet we often get so tied up in our wants that we fail to be thankful or miss the gifts that are all around us.

    Mindfulness is the answer.

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  3. If I begin by considering my choices and actions in light of how others will perceive them, by how much advantage or disadvantage I might gain thereby, I have already lost the control of my own will and handed it over to those who give or withhold such things. I must first seek to fully understand my present, and from it select the most virtuous of action, that which will serve to honour the potential for excellence in myself and others. I will act modestly and faithfully, but first of all virtuously. Whether there is gratitude or blame, advantage or disadvantage, these things are ephemeral, mere ghost and tendrils of smoke against the bright light of the Sage within.

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