Tag: Marcus Aurelius

A model personality

How do you see yourself?

Do you think you are lazy, unworthy, prone to anger, or lacking direction in your life? What Epictetus is advocating is to see yourself as something greater than you currently do. He even goes so far as to say imagine yourself a model personality, maybe someone like Epictetus, Seneca, or Marcus Aurelius. It could be anyone that you admire, maybe Winston Churchill,  Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or anyone that you aspire to be more like. Use that model character as your guiding light that leads on a course of to follow in terms of speech and action.

Once you have chosen that individual or ideal for yourself now act upon it in both your public and private life. It does no good if you ramble on in public about your philosophy if you cannot implement it in your personal life. If you want to be kind, compassionate, loving, understanding, and calm then do this at all times. It’s not only a philosophy, but it must become a way of life. Don’t study the Bible, the teachings of the Buddha, or the Holy Quran, and go about your life as normal. Just thinking about being a better version of yourself does nothing; you must think then act.

I don’t advocate Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Stoicism, or any other religion or philosophy. In fact any of these mentioned provides guidance on how to live a model life, but you are free to choose one or all of them for yourself. An example of this is the Dali Lama who often talks about loving kindness and compassion and by all accounts his actions support his teachings. So the challenge for the day is to take any of the tenants from your studies and actually implement it in your actions. As it becomes more challenging to be virtuous, during these stressful times, it also becomes more important to act as that model character you want to become.

Who do you aspire to be?



If you would like to support this blog please check out eBooks at:

Mind, Body, Spirit books at eBooks.com

Today I escaped

This really resonated with me, as I am often the victim of my own thinking, making mountains out of mole hills if you will. I assumed what needed to be done would be difficult, or a situation came up that I perceived to be negative caused suffering. My monkey mind went into overdrive and I took the normal shit that happens and turned it into a nightmare. What the hell!

Sure the Buddha was right; life has more than it share of dukkha (pain and suffering), but how much of it is self imposed? As I have been studying stoicism recently I begin to notice certain parallels with Buddhism. Could the assumptions we make about things,  that Marcus Aurelius is talking about be yet another cause of dukkha, much like craving, desire, and attachment?

At the moment you start to say this is difficult, or I hate this situation, you are making assumptions and most of these are what will happen in the future. In fact in retrospect you find that most of your assumptions were bullshit.

Maybe the answer is in dealing with things as they occur in the present, without assumptions, expectations, and above all withholding judgment.

A bit of stoicism, Buddhism, and lots of yoga and meditation might help too.


Blend in the crowd

What is Seneca really saying here? I think he is saying as a philosopher you will be different in the way you think and understand the world, but in public you should not appear different. Stoic philosophers like Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius were certainly people who focused on finding meaning in life, figuring it out if you will, but they for the most part did not look down upon the masses. I don’t think what I’ve read about Seneca that he wanted to call attention to himself. He had a relationship with philosophy as a personal study with a few selected students. I think there was also the realization that even though he was a very educated and enlightened person in many ways, he was still part of humanity and did not want to come off as superior, at least when in public.