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For those going through hard times

I don't want to get too corny today.

But I wanted to share a passage to help anchor any of you going through a rough time or for those not finding the results you want.

During difficult times we are reminded how tough life is.

The great Iyéyasu once remarked that 'The life of man is like going a long distance with a heavy load upon the shoulders.'

And sometimes, that heavy load can feel unbearable. But even in those moments, we have to be grateful. Now I must sound like I'm smoking something, right?

I know this sounds odd.

But we need to be grateful for being alive and experiencing life. Our lives can be gone in an instant. How many times have we known people living with us, and then the next moment, they are gone forever?

The same will happen one day.

But in the meantime, let's be grateful for the moments we have now. And to give you a proper philosophical lesson on this, let me quote Pierre Hadot (RIP) from his book Philosophy as A Way of Life.

'Thus pleasure is wholly within present moment, and we need not wait for anything from the future to increase it. Everything we have been saying so far could be summed up in the following verses from Horace: 'Let the soul which is happy with the present learn to hate to worry about what lies ahead.' The happy mind does not look toward the future. If we limit our desires in a reasonable way, we can be happy right now. Not only can we be happy, but we must: happiness must be found immediately, here and now, and in the present. Instead of reflecting about our lives as a whole, calculating our hopes and worries, we must seize happiness within the present moment. The matter is urgent; in the words of an Epicurean saying:

'We are only born once - twice is not allowed - and it is necessary that we shall be no more, for all eternity; and yet you, who are not master of tomorrow, you keep putting off your joy? Yet life is vainly consumed in these delays, and each of us dies without ever having known peace.'

Once again, we find the echo of this idea in Horace: 'While we are talking, jealous time has fled. So seize the day [carpe diem], and put no trust in tomorrow. 'Horace's carpe diem is by no means, as is often believed, the advice of a sensualist playboy; on the contrary, it is an invitation to conversion. We are invited to become aware of the vanity of our immensely vain desires, at the same time as of the imminence of death, the uniqueness of life, and the uniqueness of the present instant. From this perspective, each instant appears as a marvelous gift which fills its recipient with gratitude:

'Believe that each new day that dawns will be the last for you: Then each unexpected hour shall come to you as a delighted gift.'

There is perhaps an echo here of the Epicurean Philodemus: "Receive each additional moment of time in a manner appropriate to its value; as if one were having an incredible stroke of luck."' I hope by now you are a little more grateful for life. It's so easy to get caught in the mundane of the day-to-day grind and not realize what a marvel it is to be alive. So with the time you have now, appreciate every moment until it is no longer possible. Until next time, Bulcha The Charismatic Nerd


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