Peace be with you

I’ve been listening to the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, the stoic Roman emperor. The stoic philosopher Epictetus, who was an older contemporary of Marcus Aurelius said

Never say about anything, I have lost it,
but only I have given it back.

It might lower my blood pressure if I could get my mind around that.

It’s all to easy to get upset when people wrong you, or when dictators invade a neighboring country, killing thousands of people and destroy the country for seemingly unknowable and unjustified reasons.

In the meditations, the point is often made that the only thing you really have is this moment in time and your ability to control your reactions. You do not “have” or control the past, the future, events, people, money, etc. It’s a sophisticated version of what parents often tell their children “Don’t worry about what your brother is doing, pay attention to what you’re doing”.

Martin Luther (not King Jr.) put a Christian spin on the idea:

I have held many things in my hands,
and I have lost them all;
but whatever I have placed in God's hands,
that I still possess.

The world is not fair. It is not just. And I control almost none of it, aside from my own assessment of what is “fair”, what is “just”, and how I react to it. I’ve caused myself a lot of trouble over the years by they way I asses things and how I’ve reacted.

I wish you peace.

#18 of #100DaysToOffload take 2,