For example, Epictetus said that we’re in control of our “opinion, choice, desire, aversion, and, in a word, everything of our own doing”, and that we have no control over our “body, property, reputation, position, and, in a word, everything NOT of our own doing.” More so, he continued, that things in our control are, by their very nature, “... free, unhindered, and unobstructed…” and that which is beyond our control, by their nature, are “... weak, slavish, can be hindered, and are NOT our own.” (Epictetus, Enchiridion, 1.1-2)
What’s it like stepping into your day-to-day with that on your mind? Every day?
Scary? Liberating? Nerve-wracking? Confidence-inspiring?
Admittedly, I’ve come to Stoicism after some time studying Buddhism and eastern philosophy, and during that time, I was introduced to the idea of personal agency and what’s in my control. I’ve also been reading about Stoicism since October 2018… so this isn’t the first time I’m learning about what I’m going to call the “Truth of Control”.
Our internal strife, often, arises out of our delusion of what we have control over and what we don’t. We believe that just because we do this-or-that something will be different; however, we discover, much to our chagrin, that’s not how it works out.
Things happen. It is what it is (we’ll see this again with Amor Fati)...
… and we must remember that as things are happening, we cannot control that which is beyond our control, but we can control what and how we think about those things.
The more real we can be with ourselves with the “truth of control”, the clearer the world can become, and since this month’s focus is all about clarity, this is the practice to embrace.
(See y’all tomorrow!)