It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.
Was ich habe, will ich nicht verlieren, aber
wo ich bin, will ich nicht bleiben, aber
die ich liebe, will ich nicht verlassen, aber
die ich kenne, will ich nicht mehr sehen, aber
wo ich lebe, da will ich nicht sterben, aber
wo ich sterbe, da will ich nicht hin:
Bleiben will ich, wo ich nie gewesen bin.
“Some day my prince will come.…” Good old Walt Disney. Well, that may have worked out for Snow White. Back here on Earth, it’s a recipe for disappointment. In flesh-and-blood life, waiting for “some day” is no strategy for success, it’s a cop-out. What’s more, it’s one that the majority follow their whole lives. Someday, when my ship comes in … Someday, when I have the money … Someday, when I have the time … Someday, when I have the skill … Someday, when I have the confidence … How many of those statements have you said to yourself? Have I got some sobering news for you: “some day” doesn’t exist, never has, and never will. There is no “some day.” There’s only today. When tomorrow comes, it will be another today; so will the next day. They all will. There is never anything but today.”
-- Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
The Meditations, by a Roman emperor who died in a plague named after him, has much to say about how to face fear, pain, anxiety and loss.
A great article from Donald Robertson, published by The Guardian:
Want to build-up resilience and will power? The stoics offer a daily dose of subjecting yourselves to the worst-case scenarios to your troubles. It’s a simple methodology where you focus on yourself and your immediate surroundings once the terrible event has befallen you. According to the stoics, factoring every tragedy in one’s life trajectory is key to letting nothing disturb your internal peace.
Here’s the vision of a stoic on the journey through Covid-19.
Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.
-- Dalai Lama
"True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not"
-- Lucius Annaeus Seneca, De Vita Beata
Sales of works by ancient Roman Marcus Aurelius have seen a sharp uptick in recent months.
According to Penguin Random House, print sales of Meditations are up 28% for the first quarter of 2020 vs 2019, while print sales of Letters from a Stoic are up 42% for the same period. In the last four weeks, its ebook sales rose by 356%"