Sunday, June 10, 2007

the art of living: epictetus

In these words, I hear echoes of AA and every shrink I've ever gone to. Some gems from this recent interpretation of the wisdom of Epictetus by Sharon Lebell:

Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not... and once you learn to distinguish between the two inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.

Whereas society regards professional achievement, wealth, power, and fame as desirable and admirable, these are incidental and irrelevant to true happiness. What matters most is what sort of life you are living; a life of virtue, caretaking the present moment. Authentic happiness is always independent of external conditions…your happiness can be found within.

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