I will be posting selected passages from Epictetus’ two books: ‘The Discourses’ and ‘The Handbook’; as he teaches us the wisdom of Stoicism that can be used as a self-help guide to living a good and happy life, as well as attaining a mind free of troubles.
I begin the series with two such passages of stoicism to help you attain a free and peaceful mind, as well as learning the virtues of contented living.
On What Is In Our Power, And What Is Not
“Some things are up to us and others are not. Up to us (or in our power) are opinion, impulse, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever is our own action. Not up to us (or not in our power) are body, property, reputation, office, and, in a word, whatever is not our action. The things that are up to us are by nature free, unhindered and unimpeded; but those that are not up to us are weak, servile, subject to hindrance, and not our own. Remember, then, that if you suppose what is naturally enslaved to be free, and what is not your own to be your own, you will be hampered, you will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault with both gods and men. But if you suppose only what is your own to be your own, and what is not your own not to be your own (as is indeed the case), no one will ever coerce you, no one will hinder you, you will find fault with no one, you will accuse no one, you will not do a single thing against your will, you will have no enemy, and no one will harm you because no harm can affect you.”
~ The Handbook of Epictetus
“The things that a man ought to study all day, so that unaffected by all that is not his own, whether friend or place or gymnasia or even, indeed, his own body, he remembers the law and has that constantly before his eyes. And what is the divine law? To preserve what is one’s own, not to claim what is another’s; to use what is given us, and not to desire what is not given us; and, when anything thing is taken away, to give it up readily and immediately, and to be thankful for the time you have been permitted the use of it, and not cry after it, like a child for its nurse and its mamma.”
~ The Discourses of Epictetus