Meditations, V, 10

In such darkness then and dirt and in such constant flux both of substance and of time, and of motion and of things moved, where there is that is worth being highly prized or even and object of serious pursuit, I cannot imagine. But on the contrary it is a man’s duty to comfort himself , and to wait for the natural dissolution and not to be vexed at the delay, but to rest in these principles only: the one, that nothing will happen to me which is not conformable to the nature of the universe; and the other, that it is in my power never to act contrary to my god and my daimon: for there is no man who will compel me to this.

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, book V, 10

 

The emphasis in the above quote is something that I wish I could remember. I (we) have a tendency to over-dramatacize our lives, and especially the more unpleasant parts of it. We tell ourselves (although perhaps not consciously) that the universe is being particularly cruel to us and us alone. When presented with people who have suffered more than me, I almost immediately rationalize with, “this is unfortunate, but if they only knew how I suffered, how I feel, I would get the sympathy, not them.” We all suffer, and it is the journey to seeing that we all suffer the same that will make us human. That suffering is a point of view. That it can be reversed.

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