I found three slightly varying translations of note 51 from Epitctetus’ Enchiridion. I am a bit obsessed with the subtlety and nuance of translations.
“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself and in no instance bypass the discriminations of reason?”
“How long do you put off thinking yourself worthy of the best things, and never going against the definitive capacity of reason?
“How long will you then still defer thinking yourself worthy of the best things, and in no matter transgressing the distinctive reason?” (as translated by George Long.)
I first saw this quote from The Daily Stoic and of course loved it but by itself I doesn’t really capture the message.
An old high school friend reached out several weeks ago and asked what books I had been reading that inspired some of my life changes and stoked my mindset. I am a little behind on delivering the list but here are:
Although I gifted this to myself in 2016, it is a daily reader and I have continued to read it consistently in 2017. It honestly take like 3-5 minutes to flip to the day and read the translated Stoic passage and then the commentary. It kicks my day off with something to chew on and gives me perspective. If the current day is dense or doesn’t resonate with me at the time, I usually flip to a favorite.
Here is my absolute favorite:
“To what service is my soul committed? Constantly ask yourself this and thoroughly examine yourself by seeing how you can relate to that part called the ruling principle. whose soul do I have now? Do I have that of a child, a youth…a tyrant, a pet or a wild animal?” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 5.11
I love this book so much I frequently gift it.
Reading this book in a public place is a conversation starter, but don’t let the great catchy title fool you. It is all about encouraging you to give the right fucks. It made some great points that caused a lot of self reflection. Two (of many) that still bubble up in my head consistently are:
- Your problems are not special. The act of complaining of about your problems is a form of narcissism.
- So what if you are wrong. What does it mean (to you) to be wrong? It is ok to be wrong.
I imagine I will read this over and over again for the remainder of my life. In fact, I have to prevent myself from simply reading it over and over again and make myself read other books.
Two mantras I recite from this book damn near daily:
- “There’s no one to perform for. There is just work to be done and lessons to be learned, in all that is around us.”
- “An amateur is defensive.”
Reading these books caused me to do a lot of reflecting and had a great positive affect on my life. I hope you find them useful as well.
Reading a translation of Epictetus this morning by Sharon Lebell in
Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
and made me ask under what conditions am I my bet self or what things within my control brings out my best self?
My morning reading from Epictetus. Try keeping this mantra in mind today. Expectations can cause a lot of stress and pain. The circumstances do not matter. You cannot change any of the events that lead to you being there. Only consider the lessons to be learned, the work to be done and what needs to be done to move forward.
I’ve been chewing on this all morning. At any given moment we cannot change what led us to a certain point or encounter. We can only accept what it is and move forward. However, I think one should pause to consider their part in that moment, and how they may have acted leading up to it. What can I learn? What adjustments would I make next time? Did I do my part to the best of my ability? Was I well-intentioned in my actions leading up to this moment?
Others do behave as they are. You cannot change how they behave. You cannot change how you have behaved but you can change it going forward from that point.
What do you think?
Sutra 1:48 RTAMBHARA TATRA PRAJNA
Reading the yoga sutras this morning…not a concentrated study but just to get the mind going. I was drawn and fell in love with the English translation of Sutra 1.48 from Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (B.K.S. Iyengar)
“when consciousness dwells in wisdom, a truth-bearing state of direct spiritual perception dawns”
I then grabbed my trusty American Heritage dictionary my dad gave me and starting looking up to parse the translation.
Consciousness: a sense of one’s person or collective identity.
Wisdom: understanding of what is right, true, or lasting
Perception: The process or state of being aware of something or an insight or point of knowledge.
I had noticed the other day a different translation of yoga sutra so I wanted to see how else this was translated. Man, did I go down a rabbit hole.
Success can definitely be achieved via sound and continuous practice over an extended period of time, carried out in a serious and thoughtful manner.
Man this really hits home this week.. This makes me think of everything from my Ashtanga practice to learning a new programming language to building wealth.
The word continuous really sticks out to me. Making time to “practice” whatever you are serious about is important and should be scheduled.
Extended period of time reminds us not to expect immediate results.
The compound effect of doing something continuously over an extended period of time is powerful.
In a moment of synchronicity I flipped to a chapter in Ego is the Enemy and read the the line “an amateur is defensive”. If you have acted with good intention just state the facts then persuade to your point of view or work to solve the problem. If you have made a mistake, admit it so you can move forward in solving the issue at hand.
I find it is useful to here is how I see it or here is my thinking or in my experience, basically justify why you made the decision you did or admin why you failed to act.
Day 130 of not drinking. I’ve wondered if I’d post an update today. I almost didn’t. I’ve been wondering if I do it out of accountability or vanity. It’s easy to post about all the benefits not drinking has had in my life so far. A picture of me smiling or laughing is easy. So today I share the other side. Today I fell apart. Today wasn’t easy. Today there was no yoga pose or Yoda doll. Today it was sitting with pure unexplained raw emotions. But part of this journey is to feel more. To sit with my emotions and just be. Shit is hard. There are so many ways to drown your feelings. Today I had to show up with my emotions in tow and that’s what I did. I did not break. Day 130 was a success.
I’ve wondered if I’d post an update today. I almost didn’t. I’ve been wondering if I do it out of accountability or vanity. It’s easy to post about all the benefits not drinking has had in my life so far. A picture of me smiling or laughing is easy. So today I share the other side. Today I fell apart. Today wasn’t easy. Today there was no yoga pose or Yoda doll. Today it was sitting with pure unexplained raw emotions. But part of this journey is to feel more. To sit with my emotions and just be. Shit is hard. There are so many ways to drown your feelings. Today I had to show up with my emotions in tow and that’s what I did. I did not break. Day 130 was a success.