Choices, always choices

A podium and a prison is each a place, one high and the other low, but in either place your freedom of choice can be maintained if you so wish - Epictetus

Today's meditation really harkens back to the main principle of Stoicism: you can't change things beyond your control but you can change how you react to them.

The trick is in recognising what you can and can't control.

Just like someone confined to a prison cell, we may think our freedom of choice has been removed but we always have an element of control, no matter how small.

We live to schedules for so many things - transport, school, work; we turn up when we should, do our allotted time and go home when we're finished.

Beyond our control.

The Stoic philosophers believed that our existence was a preset pattern and that living a good life meant doing so in harmony with nature - not nature as we normally understand it but the true order of things.

As Seneca wrote: "Fate leads the willing and drags along the reluctant."

Whether you believe in fate or not, life has a way of dragging us along; we can resent it or we can embrace it.

We have a choice in how we act, what we do, and how we carry ourselves during the easy times and the difficult.

We can be humble or obnoxious, we can be steadfast or crumble. We can be depressed whilst surrounded by riches or ecstatic despite having nothing. It is how we respond to the situation that defines us, not the situation itself.

It is our choice to be willing or reluctant.

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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog