stoic

Reflections, Short mornings

How much control do you think you have?


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There is something soothing about writing every morning for 10 minutes. Just 10 quick minutes. There is not a lot that can be said in such a short amount of time but it helps to keep thoughts in order.

Wouldn’t you agree that the natural state of our head is chaos? Where do all these thoughts come from?

Can you control the next thought that is coming to your head?chaos.jpg

I don’t believe you if you said yes, they just emerge, without our permission.

Who are we really? The thing that observes the thought or the thought itself? I believe the answer is the thing that observes, that notices it, we are our consciousness. We have to be, because if not, how else could we be aware of it?

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I find the fact that we can’t control the next thought confusing when I try to think stoically. The great ones (meaning Seneca or Marcus Aurelius) tell us that we have control of our emotions and our thinking.

But, when was the last time you decided to have a thought, the last time you decided to think what you are going to think?

It’s impossible, by thinking at least. We cannot think our way out of emotion either, emotions come and go and we don’t decide what to feel and what not to feel. At least at the moment they emerge.

So then, where is it exactly that we have control? Lately I’ve been thinking that control of ourselves and deep stoicism is not in the mind. It’s deeper than that realm. You cannot control an emotion at the level of the mind. When we are thinking, we can resolve whatever problem we are having in the mind. It’s just a matter of the number of questions asked, trust me, the answers will come.  But, when we are having emotional stuff going on inside, like fear, anger or whatever it is, and try to resolve it with our minds, we are doomed. It is not the same level of interaction (thinking). That level of thinking happens either intellectually or emotionally and we need to difer what is needed. 

I do think stoicism is the best way to own ourselves (whatever the hell we are). But we have to think deeply, not just at the level of the mind but of intuition and emotion as well. Right in this moment, in the present.2700

Now, we are getting somewhere.

We only have this moment to act. If we want to resolve the emotion we are experiencing right now, with our heads, we would just spin our brains ad infinitum, which is what happens must of the time. It’s the incessant chatter that we know is not going anywhere in specific.

Emotional intelligence: “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

The first time I encountered stoicism in my life I tried to control the emotion or my thinking to the point that I became exhausted for trying to control the uncontrollable. Emotion and thoughts will come and go and they are there for a reason. We are not supposed to feel happy the entire time. However we are constantly sold that being happy and ecstatic the whole time is the way to be. 

We have to have an aim, the tension inside us produces that, produces movement and striving towards something .

Deep stoicism is about control, we can only have control right here in the moment with engagement. This is why I think the secret for control is awareness and attention, to be here as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, above time. The only time we have to do something is right here. When we experience an emotion, we deal with it in the moment. It comes to be a problem of understanding. If we don’t want to understand ourselves or the world, we cannot resolve whatever it is that we want to resolve.  

How is it that we understand something? Understanding is deciphering how or why something does what is does. It is a matter of truth, a matter of how reality is actually happening or at least as close as we can get to it. Truth becomes our aim. 

The work of control reduces to being a work of the moment, continual understanding 2630429-ZUXILJLB-7and acting based on the present moment.

This is why the stoics argue that living in the present moment is fundamental. There is no other moment to work on something like now. The secret of control is engagement. We can control being aware of what is happening so we are not running to keep up with what happens inside us, but be as close as we can get to the dialogue of feelings and thoughts we are having with ourselves and with the world, so we can guide them towards truth and purpose (something which is beyond ourselves).

 

 

 

 

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Reflections, Short mornings, Stoic advice

Overcoming obstacles


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Morning. Have you ever stopped for a moment to think about how much time you have left in the earth?

We don’t think about time appropriately.

Let’s suppose that you wake Old-Clock-Pictures-Free-Download.jpgup at 5 am because you are a go getter and you sleep at 9 pm cause you know what they say, “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. If you’d did this, you’d have 16 hours total to change your life, the lives of others and the world.

That is not a lot of time, we have to get dressed, take the kids to the school, write for a bit, work and have fun. But this can be enough time, if we’d just use it correctly.

All of our dreams don’t happen someday, they are happening or not happening this very minute. We are either going for them or we aren’t.

We like to think that our dreams are this one moment of pure bliss once achieved. But, we have to realize that the dream is happening right now. There is no dream without the effort and brains that have to be put in them. Every decision we take at every moment must be knowing that time is scarce, very.

jungs treeLife can be challenging, sometime it seems as if the whole thing just does not want our dreams to come true. But, I think that is the wrong focus. Change is the law of life.

As we get to where we want to go, we are not the same person anymore. We change in order to conquer what our past self was not yet prepared to conquer. In order for us to change into bigger and mightier human beings, we have to embrace this part of life. The part of life that sets obstacles for us to grow and develop new abilities that will enable us to reach our dreams.

The good thing, is that we know what those challenges are. You know what you should be doing.

We know now know that at every moment we have the choice to engage and develop ourselves or to become scared and wait for someone or something to shows us the way. Yes that was a Pink Floyd’s lyrics, it just suited perfectly.

This is the reason why Nietzsche said the that the secret of human greatness is Amor Fati,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAto love one’s fate.

How could you not love the thing that gives you the opportunity to rise over everything? It is said that we are not scared of our weakness, but that we are afraid of being powerful beyond measure. Being powerful beyond measure= overcoming obstacles.

Obstacles are little at the beginning, Jordan Peterson would argue with cleaning your room first. I agree with every decision that we make during the day, we have sufficient moral capacity to discern better from worse. Fill your life with enough betters and you’ll be great in little time.

Now, we were talking about does 14 to 16 hours a day. Our life happens in those lapses, our lives are happening right now.

There is no: when I have a million dollars then I’ll give myself permission to be the kind of person that earns that kind of money. Fuck no, that is the aspirational loser game.

Amor Fati, love the fact that you don’t have that kind of money or life that you have yet, but be grateful for the opportunity and start being that person right now.

Then, start engaging in every obstacle that is going to take you to your goals and become inspired for doing it.

This will create a feedback loop of wins that will eventually take you into that situation in your life and you know what is the best part? When you get there, you’ll realize that you’ve changed and that you have to keep moving in your path of greatness.

We do have to be intelligent on our persuits. During WWII, Winston Churchill was Winston_Churchill_fbappointed with Harry L. Hopkins as ambassador of the US to help during war times. He became one of Churchill’s most trusted advisors, as he was before in the US for Roosevelt. Hopkins however was very ill the whole time as he got extracted 2/3 of his stomach due to cancer. He could only work for 2 to 3 hours a day, but he was so efficient that Churchill started naming him, lord heart of the matter. Hopkins went right to what was necessary and vital for success.

This is the lesson, time is enough if we know how to use it. Make a schedule with what is most important, and do that everyday.

Remember, Memento Mori. You are going to die, maybe today or maybe in 10 years but nevertheless you are going to die. We don’t deserve shit, all the things that we want are already there for us to take but we have to overcome the obstacles to get them. Appreciate the fact that you are given an opportunity.

 

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