Today’s exercise is on Mindfulness.
“It is not the things themselves that disturb people but their judgements about those things.”
— Epictetus (Handbook 5)
I found today’s passage a helpful reminder. I have previously been exposed to these ideas of treating our thoughts and emotions as things we have, and not as ourselves-proper. I remember being a bit younger, and the idea rankled me somewhat. I didn’t quite understand it, and I didn’t want to accept it. If I’m not these things than what I am? I’m still not sure I have the answer, but the question bothers me less.
I was talking with a good friend of mine, who on the occasion of his thirtieth birthday found himself pensive on the ideas of aging and progress. We talked, and I noted that although I’ve aged, I can’t really note a difference in my thought-processes. I look back, and the years and numbers seem arbitrary. My thoughts and self seem the same. I then appended, it with, “well, my mind is … quieter than it was when I was younger.”
He agreed and said that it was a poignant note.
In some ways, that makes it easier to focus on Stoic Mindfulness. My mind seems quieter, calmer than it did 10 years ago.
I think that’s a good thing.