Meditation

I have a couple of problems with Stoicism, at least the one described in the book, not the modern Stoicism which I am not familiar with.

One, I don't understand the concept of Virtue and one can have the best life by following Virtue.

Second, nature is good and everything that follows nature is good. I don't agree with this point; to me nature is nature, good and bad are merely labels we assign to things we value and dislike.

Chapter 1 - Debts and Lessons

The chapter reads like a gratitude diary which I did for Science of Well-being course. He was grateful for the people and the circumstances in his life.

Chapter 2 - On The River Gran, Among The Quadi

I am actually surprised how relevant and relatable his opinions are. It is fascinating how philosophies and religions (I am mostly familiar with Buddhism) share many commonalities.

I have a weird thought while reading the chapter. The life stories that I tell myself and others create a narrative about who I are. From disjointed anecdotes (chaos), I discover a pattern (order) about my self; even the introduction page of my wiki reads like an attempt for self discovery. My identity isn't fixed because my values change over time, and through retrospection I sometimes rewrite the past narratives. I don't know if true self even exists but I am leaning more toward no.

I am not sure where I am going with that. Anyway, back to the book.

  • Don't be a slave to your desires.
  • You have limited time on Earth, use it to free yourself or it will be gone forever.
  • You can't entrust your happiness to others.
  • Find your purpose in life, toward which you can devote your thought and impulse.
  • Treat yourself with respect, look within yourself.
  • You can't lose either the past or the future; you can't lose what you don't have. The present is all you can give up since that is all that you have.
  • The body and its parts are a river, the soul a dream and mist. life is warfare and a journey far from home, lasting reputation is oblivion.

Chapter 3 - In Carnuntum

  • Not only we move closer to death, our mind may also deteriorate.
  • Decay/death is a nature process.
  • Don't try to keep up with the Joneses, as it will distract you from focusing on your own mind.
  • If, at some point in your life, you find your purpose, embrace it without reservation.
  • Each of us lives only now, this brief instant; the past is already gone and the future is impossible to predict.
  • Examine your life, your thoughts.
  • Write off your hopes, be your own savior.

Chapter 4

  • Thoughtful, mindful actions
  • The world is nothing but change. Our life is only perception.
  • Do less better. Eliminate unnecessary assumptions and actions.
  • Everything fades so quickly, turns into legend, and soon oblivion covers it.
  • It is not the events that upset us, but our judgement about the events.

Chapter 5

  • Even an emperor has trouble getting out of bed.
  • Do good without expectation.
  • Embrace your imperfect, accept who you are, only then you can improve yourself.
  • Things that irritate us don't last forever.
  • Not to be overwhelmed by what you imagine, just do what you can and should.
  • Fortune comes and goes. You need to make fortunes for yourself (good character, good intentions, good actions).

Chapter 6

  • Do what you can.
  • Look inward.
  • Our choices come from our own experience. Expand your experience, expand your choices.
  • Pride is a master of deception.
  • Change if what you are making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective.
  • Sanity means typing your well-being to your actions, not to external things.
  • Practice hearing what others say.

Chapter 7

  • Focus on what is said when you speak and on what results from each action.
  • It is fine to need help.
  • Don't be afraid of changes. Nothing can exist without it.
  • Be sympathetic to other human beings.

Chapter 8

  • Your position, your reputation are obstacles.
  • To change your mind and to accept correction are free acts.
  • If it's in your control, why do you do it? If it's in someone else, why do you blame yourself?
  • You could be good today, instead of choosing to be good tomorrow.
  • You have to assemble your life yourself, action by action.
  • Give yourself a gift: the present moment.
  • Why do you want praise and approval from people who despise themselves?

Chapter 9

  • View death as one of the things that happen to everything.
  • Act not for pity, sympathy or admiration.

Chapter 10

  • Stop talking about being a good person, just be one.
  • Ask yourself why you are afraid of death.
  • No matter how good a life you have led, there'll be people who cheer at your demise.
  • Ask yourself why you are doing this.

Chapter 11

  • You need a consistent goal in life to life in consistent way.
  • Popular beliefs are the monsters under the bed.

Chapter 12

  • We love ourselves more than other, but car more about their opinions than our own.
  • Practice even what seems impossible.
  • If it is not right, don't do it. If it is not true, don't say it.