In today’s meditation, we will reflect on the Greek Philosophy notion that the only secure source of happiness and freedom is your inner world. This is because everything outside of you can be taken away. Therefore, it is foolish to trust your happiness and wellbeing to that which is outside your control. Everything can be taken from you, at any moment, except one thing: the last of your freedoms—to choose your attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose your own way.
As Seneca, the Stoic philosopher wrote, “We have no grounds for self-admiration through our possessions as they have been loaned to us. We may use and enjoy them, but the one who has allotted His gift decides how long we are to be the tenants; Our duty is to keep ready the gifts we have been given for an indefinite time and to return theem when called upon, making no complaint…”
Let’s reflect on that :Do you truly own anything? Is it really within your control? For example your body, your money, your relationships…? Not really, because at any moment these can be taken away from you due to a change in your luck…
Another Stoic philosopher, Publilius Syrus taught that “If you are to have a great kingdom, rule over yourself!” That’s what we will reflect on today.
Real power can’t be taken away—not by the economy or by an election or by anything else. A weak person is dependent on the moods of the crowd, on the stock market or on the weather, but a philosopher—a lover of wisdom focuses their happiness on their principles.
Other people may hate you, they can be toxic towards you, they can send you away, they can make fun of you or even try to destroy your reputation, but no one can take away your principles.
No one can stop you from ruling over yourself. It’s the best and the biggest and the strongest kingdom there is. Your true kingdom is within.
Think of everything outside of yourself, as borrowed... They are on loan from Nature, Fortune, God, or whatever you want – and you can only use these things temporarily, you are a caretaker.... Everything can be taken away in an instant. Without prior notice. Without asking. It’s just been taken away. Lost. Broken. Stolen. Burned. Died. Or killed….
So imagine all that you have as borrowed, your spouse, your lover, your children, your health, your car, your computer...These are really just on loan to you..At any point the lender may want these back. Just be grateful for all that you have received.