On the god within us

No man ought to glory except in that which is his own.

Seneca.

It is easy, especially in our days, to fall into the trap of materialism. Thinking that money, looks or a nice car represent ourselves and our identity. None of it represents what a man truly is, and what is that? Gods, literally.

When your mindset is on having more instead of being more you are doing it wrong, you are neglecting your god given identity for some external, petty identity. Everything that you can attain in life is going to be a direct reflection of the person who you are, of the person who you’ve chosen to be.

A god doth dwell, but what god know we not. 

Seneca 

Seneca wrote in his book Letters to Lucilious a letter called “on the god within us”. I just realized what a terrible writer I am in comparison to this great Stoic, Seneca. The best I can do is cite him:

We venerate the sources of important streams; places where a mighty river bursts suddenly from hiding are provided with altars; hot springs are objects of worship; the darkness or unfathomable depth of pools has made their waters sacred. And if you come across a man who is never alarmed by dangers, never affected by cravings, happy in adversity, calm in the midst of storm, viewing mankind from a higher level and the gods from their own, is it not likely that a feeling will find its way into you  of veneration for him? Is it not likely that you will say to yourself, „Here is a thing which is too great, too sublime for anyone to regard it as being in the same sort of category as that puny body it inhabits.‟ Into that body there has descended a divine power. The soul that is elevated and well regulated, that passes through any experience as if it counted for comparatively little, that smiles at all the things we fear or pray for, is impelled by a force that comes from heaven. A thing of that soul‟s height cannot stand without the prop of a deity. Hence the greater part of it is situated where it descends from; in the same way as the sun‟s rays touch the earth but are really situated at the point from which they emanate, a soul possessed of greatness and holiness, which has been sent down into this world in order that we may gain a nearer knowledge of the divine, associates with us, certainly, but never loses contact with its source. On that source it depends; that is the direction in which its eyes turn, and the direction it strives to climb in; the manner in which it takes part in our affairs is that of a superior being.

Seneca

The magnificent way in which he described this man touched by divinity, this man being divine himself left me just plain speechless. Every one of us has experienced might before in our lives, this is why I found it so relatable, it reminded me of the mountains I’ve seen before, the rivers, the truly majestic spectacles of life.

What attracted me so much was that there are no qualities outside of what you or I can attain, in fact, they can only be attained independently. At any given moment you can choose to be courageous, at any given moment you can be magnanimous, mighty or any other divine attribute you can imagine. This is entirely your choice, at any given moment.

The divine is readily available, it just takes your choice to embrace it.

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Social media, progress enemy #1

Have you ever had one of those days in which you were so busy living that you are just ready to sleep? Going to work and killing it, getting home and eating a gloriously crafted dinner with your family, going to the gym and ending it with a beer with a friend, getting back home, proud of the day.

Those days are amazing, aren’t they?

It’s as if we are no longer waiting to live, we are actually living.

This is why it is so extremely important to concentrate on what is meaningful and get on it, fast. Life can be compared, in its entirety, to one of this days, in which we go to bed happy and content.

Today, we have so many distractions, it is scary. Especially social media, social media is managed by the same social engineers that study Las Vegas slot machine, clients retainment. They literally pay them to get you to stay scrolling as long as possible. Social media is designed to consume your time and your attention, the two most important assets you have if you ask me.

And much harm is done even by one who holds you back, especially since life is so short, and we make it even shorter with our unsteadiness. By making ever fresh new beginnings in life, now one and immediately another.

Seneca

There is a constant bugger, telling us what life should be about.

There is a never-ending flow of advertising material telling you that you are not complete without the new iPhone or the new pair of shoes or the latest car model. We live in the age of anxiety, always running from ourselves.

In Seneca’s letter to Lucilious, On progress, he begins the letter by saying that he is proud he hasn’t heard about Lucilious in a while, for that means that he is working and not busy in other affairs. The problem in achieving great things is that progress is silent, and everyone craves for attention all the time.

Ironic, the only thing that can really give you all that you wish for, is work, conscious work, but we are so busy getting away from it that we just waste time and make no progress.

Oh, when shall you see the time when you shall know that time means nothing to seneca-3you,    when you shall be peaceful and calm, careless of the morrow, because you are enjoying your life to the full?

Seneca

Once you do start making progress, you realize how much of a fool you were for thinking that all the shiny objects were the possessors of happiness. You will realize that a fully lived life is what matters. Right here, right now.

Do you know what makes men greedy for the future? It is because no one has found himself yet

Seneca

So, ask yourself, what it is that truly matters to you? What do you have to do to get there? And with the boldness of a hawk, get on it.

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Let’s use social media for something helpful, shall we? Help the world by spreading Stoicism, pay just $9 and gift a Mexico City person a copy of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I’ll send you an email so you can write a personal message and the photo will be uploaded to the Stoic Answers page.

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