“Seventh, that it is not men’s acts which disturb us, for those acts have their foundation in men’s ruling principles, but it is our own opinions which disturb us.” Marcus Aurelius Meditations Chapter 11
Well, this brings us full circle. As Marcus speaks to himself it is inevitable that he returns to a fundamental tenet of Stoicism: Continue reading →
To continue the series of the Nine Rules from Meditations Chapter 11:
“Fifth, consider that thou dost not even understand whether men are doing wrong or not, for many things are done with a certain reference to circumstances. And in short, a man must learn a great deal to enable him to pass a correct judgement on another man’s acts.”
Often we think that if we can’t have a certain thing we will be crushed. Other times we may think that if our life does not go a certain way, we will not be happy. In fact, there may be things in our lives that seem like misfortune, when in fact they are a turning point that leads something even greater. That, I think is why grasping for an “if only…then I’ll be happy” is such a mistake.
There is a story that runs in Zen circles, normally it goes by the title of “Maybe.” It is appropriate in describing how we shouldn’t judge whether something is fortune and fortune.