Month: September 2019

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Easy Life, Hard Life


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There are two ways to live your life. Voluntarily or involuntarily. Your life will be infinitely better if you choose to live it voluntarily. 

“The willing are led by fate, the reluctant are dragged.” 
Cleanthes of Assos

There’s a game to develop “team-work” skills in kids. The game is pretty simple, you grab a piece of rope and tie the right side of one’s kid foot with the left foot of the other kid. The couple that makes it to the race line wins. As you can imagine, the game is fun to play and even funnier to watch. 

What happens is that eventually, the kids figure out that there is no other way to win but to work together. 

It’s the same with life. You’ll not get far if you don’t get along with your partner. You are tied to life and you are tied to fate. 

It can be fun, or it can be hell as well. It depends on your decision to play or not. 

The decision is not easy, of course. Life doesn’t feel like a game does it? There are death and suffering regardless of whatever we choose to do, so it’s naturally hard to accept life as it is and play and work with what we have. 

But, the powerful secret of choosing to do it voluntarily is that your whole perspective of the world will change. You’ll no longer see sadness and despair, but opportunity and space for improvement. Our minds will focus on whatever we tell them to.

Take a look at your room or your environment, try and catch all the greens you can. 

Good?

Got them yet? 

Ok, great, now, can you remember the black things? 

Of course not, that’s how your mind works. It will focus on whatever you tell it to focus on. 

In choosing to live life voluntarily, to dance the dance and play. You will begin to see fun, challenge, adventure, music, answers and opportunities. 

In the end, you really have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. 

So what do you say? Shall we play? 

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I’m always open to suggestions and am happy to answer any questions. stoicanswers@gmail.com

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Modern Peace Of Mind For A Frantic Society


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“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

Peace of mind can only come with the realization that there is never going to be a point in your life in which you are finally “complete”, a point where everything is in place and in order, a place where you don’t have to work or move anymore, it’s inexistent (actually, no, there is such a point, it’s called death).

But while you’re still in this world, you still have to live, you also want to live good, so peace of mind is a must in the business of living. 

Peace of mind will only arrive once you close and kick off the loop of “work/do — get — be happy/fulfilled — repeat” and realize that the thought of needing to get “somewhere” all the time is false, you’ve always been already “there”, there never was nor is anywhere to go but where you are right now. 

Peace of mind will not come once you “make it”, you’ve already “made it”, you are “making it” at every moment. You don’t need anything outside what you are at any moment to have peace of mind and feel complete and at ease, everything else is a lie. 

Wherever you go, there you are — Buckaroo Banzai

Okay, this needs some serious explanation, doesn’t it?


Right, let’s understand the need for completion first. 

Once you’ve fulfilled your basic needs, there comes a point in which you are looking for fulfillment. I want to talk about that craving, which has become a toxic trait of our society. 

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Since you were a kid, you were conditioned to believe that you needed to do several things in life to ‘make it’. Such as marrying a good girl or man, going to school, get a good job and the classic stuff you already know. Society makes you believe that once you get that next thing and set your life in order you will feel complete and free to enjoy life. 

It’s almost as if society gave you a list with a couple of checkmarks that, once marked, you’d be given permission to enjoy and lay back, to finally have peace of mind, to be liberated. 

But the thing that they don’t tell you is that the checkmarks are infinite, there is always going to be more and more. Add to this the uncertainty of life and the fact that everything can fall apart just because. 

This “search” is the same as the one of the heroin addict. It’s an endless search of highs and lows that will always leave you wanting more, never fully satisfying yourself.

Peace of mind will not come with this mind frame. It will just worsen.

If you look around you, you’ll realize that we all are within this impossible mind frame. Always looking for more and more, never satisfied with what we have. Do you remember the first iPhone? What number are we now on? It’s manic.

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. ” ― Seneca

You cannot rely on this manic cycle to feel good about yourself, be fulfilled, and possess the liberating peace of mind we are all looking for.

Close the loop and embrace incompletion

So, basically you are saying that I should not care about getting anything anymore? 

It’s not that simple. Caring about the joys of life is not inherently bad, what can be good (beneficial) or bad (not beneficial) for you is the place where you are coming from. (If you are interested in this topic, go to the stoic indifferents)

If you think that you’ll eventually find peace of mind once you get something, you are already wrong. Nothing external can provide you with peace of mind if that is what you are looking for. There is always going to be more and because of this, peace of mind is unachievable within that mind frame. 

Is peace of mind possible after all?

Yes, but not on that paradigm

So, the first step to find peace of mind relies on knowing that completion is not the way to obtain it.

Incompletion is, paradoxically, completion, it has to become your new comfort zone. 

The only thing that is constant and that you can rely on no matter what is yourself.

You and only you are the one that “live”. Not your car, not your achievements, nothing but you and the present moment. The highest value, therefore, is yourself, you and your responses, you and your attitudes, the person you become at each moment, the person you choose to be at any moment.

And the good news is that you don’t need anything, you are you all the time, you are “already there”.

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” 
Marcus Aurelius

Bear this in mind, if you don’t embrace the moment and yourself in it, if you don’t stop running and take hold of yourself again, you’ll end up chasing ghosts your entire life, and you will realize at the end of it, that you didn’t live one day at all. 

Living can only happen at the moment and you cannot enjoy the moment and yourself in it if you’re always thinking that “something is missing”, you don’t need anything else other than yourself and your capacity to face situations at each moment. 

The fun part about life is finding value in who you are and what you are becoming at each moment, and if you are able to understand this, you’ll not just have peace of mind, you’ll begin to find life fun and engaging, you’ll be able to find life as a game again. 

The solution is simple, just like freedom, no one is going to give it to you, you have to take it for yourself. 

Close the cycle. Realize that there is no completion, there is not one point where you will be “enough”, in the paradigm of the search.

So close it, be ok with being incomplete, stop needing everything to achieve peace of mind, realize that you don’t need anything to be ok other than who you are at any moment. If you do this you’ll realize that you are, paradoxically, complete at each and every moment, ready to rock life.  

a great complement to this read: Why And How To Focus On The Present Moment

Subscribe and receive the Askesis ebook to further develop your practice of stoicism.

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Visit our Patreon page for more stoic, Patreon only content. Thanks.

I’m always open to suggestions and am happy to answer any questions. stoicanswers@gmail.com