You sit by the fireplace reconciling the last days. Your thoughts are wondering off in directions they usually never do. You know ultimately there is no right or wrong. But there are good actions and there are bad ones. It’s just the matter what exists on its own that holds no intrinsic value. So you admit it, even in front of an audience, you are a flawed person and with a trail of bad decisions and actions behind you.
They still cast a shadow and as long as you live in this shadow you are condemned to repeat the mistakes. Just like Sisyphus who betrayed the Gods and therefore committed the severest of sins: hubris, and eventually got his punishment meted out, to roll a boulder to the top of a mountain, only to see it rolling down again. His punishment was an eternal one, because such was the world view of the ancient Greeks.
But let’s not dwell on eternity or it’s polar opposite. Instead let’s scrutinize yourself and your own behaviour. Let’s put it under the optical lens that you have found to be your guiding light.
The past is the past, and there is nothing you can do to change it.
You have no control over other people’s thoughts or actions beyond perhaps a certain level of influence – so you have to let that go.
You know the four cardinal virtues: courage, equanimity, self-control and wisdom. So apply them wisely on the situations you are facing. Right now you are not. Instead you let your mind be turned and perhaps even corrupted.
What did you conclude this morning? In front of the fireplace, the heat stroking your bare face? The single thought that came to mind is that you have to go through it, you have to fight, and not give up, but not with armies and legions. This is your war, and not for anyone else to conduct the battle for you. So don’t seek shelter, nor help in harbors. Instead sail your ship to the open sea, and find your strength through every blow raining down on you by the elements. As much as they are your opponents, they are your redeemers too. Through these battles you will re-discover the virtues that are within grasp, yet seemingly so far from reach…
I don’t believe in destiny…yet today…
the next chapter of Epictetus could not have served me better