The Genius Stoic Emperor Marco Aurelius’ shares some fundamental points on reaching happiness in this lifetime.
The Stoics were well known for mastering the art of being invulnerable, that is, maintaining a neutral and cheerful mood despite any event or adverse event that could occur no matter how big or small it was. To live happily is an inward power of the soul.
“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
A formidable example of this philosophy is the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius whose mandate in the great Rome endured between German invasions, attacks from the east and a vast revolt in several provinces. Thanks to his disciplined behavior, the emperor kept track of his most profound thoughts and thoughts in his diary, which he merely called Meditations.
The book is a source of great wisdom and has been appreciated for several eras by rulers, men of power and people of all kinds; in it, he poured out some of the wisest advice to put Stoicism into practice day by day. On His own words: ““The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in so far as it stands ready against the accidental and the unforeseen, and is not apt to fall.”
We have selected 8 of these tips that we should all consider.
People will be rude.
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own - not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.”
It is not always that we can be surrounded only by those who make us feel good, we must prepare ourselves to confront life as it is, not as we would like it to be. That includes being ready to face the way others act.
We have power over our way of being
"Choose not to be hurt, and you will not feel hurt. If you do not feel hurt, you will not be hurt."
For the Stoics nothing has a value in itself; The way we feel about things is the way we have chosen to handle them.
If the opinion you have of yourself means more to you than the opinion others may have of you, you will not feel degraded if someone does not share the concept that you do.
“A person's worth is measured by the worth of what he values.”
Kindness is the best weapon
"As an antidote to malice, goodness has been granted to us."
All attitudes tend to perpetuate themselves in those who practice them with the degree of intensity with which they do it. If we act with kindness every time, the kind ones will thank us and those that are not will be disarmed because they do not expect that answer from anyone.
“We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.”
Every action defines who we are
"To hurt others is to hurt oneself. To commit injustice is to make it against oneself. It degrades you. You can also commit injustice by doing nothing. "
The choices we make daily with others mold our being, each one has repercussions both on the one who receives them and on the one who commits them.
Immobility is another way of doing harm, sometimes not deciding is worse than choosing wrongly. Self-love is also built with the love that one professes for others.
Tolerance is in not judging
"People exist for each other. You can instruct them or tolerate them. "
We are all part of an elaborate network that binds us to others, we cannot escape, and isolation will only make us live a life unworthy of being lived. Looking with compassion on others allows us to abandon or mitigate our judgments about them.
Everything is temporary, especially our own life. We
will all die from one moment to the next.
"It is foolish to try to avoid the guilt of others. Just try and escape yours. "
You have to know how to share and teach, but that does not make us responsible for others. We must take responsibility only for ourselves. Trying to change the way others behave to adapt to what we expect from others will only lead to unhappiness because the actions of others and their consequences are theirs.
“If any man despises me, that is his problem. My only concern is not doing or saying anything deserving of contempt.”
The result of our efforts is passenger
No matter what your goal is, it does not matter what your goals are. The scopes of your actions or not, you are doomed to lose everything you build and obtain. It has never been different.
"Are you worried about your reputation? Look how we are all forgotten very soon. The abyss of eternal time devours everything. The emptiness of those hands that applaud. "
"People who are moved by posthumous fame forget that soon those who remember them will die too."
The beauty of living is that nothing remains quiet, everything changes and from one moment to another, it disappears.
“The memory of everything is very soon overwhelmed in time.”
The peace you need is in you
“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.
The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”
The Stoics spoke of the soul as an "inner city" that we can reach whenever we want. Here live the feelings of calm and quiet that we all carry inside. It also contains the answers we are looking for outside.
"There is nowhere you can go that is more peaceful, freer of interruptions than your own soul ... retire to consult with your own soul and then return to confront what lies ahead."
"The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury."
We only have one opportunity to live: The reality of death.
"After death, there is no" us "that can suffer any harm.
Existence is full of light and darkness. One of the fears that have enslaved man the most has always been the fear of dying.
“Death should not be a frightening shadow that accompanies our steps. Instead, it can be a constant light that reminds us of our own finitude.”
“Despise not death, but welcome it, for nature wills it like all else. “
“Death is a release from the impressions of the senses, and from desires that make us their puppets, and from the vagaries of the mind, and from the hard service of the flesh.” Marcus Aurelius
In the words of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado: "Death is something we should not fear because, while we are, death is not and when death is, we are not."
Nothing is assured, the fragility of life should also motivate us to live it as well as possible.
"You could stop living right now. Let that determine what you do, say and think. "
"Accept death with gratitude, as a simple dissolution of the elements that make up everything that is alive. If continually changing from one to another does not harm the individual elements, why be afraid of their change and separation? It's something natural, and nothing natural is bad. "
"The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts."
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
― Marcus Aurelius