Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Stocism: The Art Of Living In Adversity

There seems to be a perennial interest in the philosophy of stocism, that revered stone-faced approach to living.

Stoic: person who can endure pain and hardship without showing their feelings. (Oxford Dictionary.)

The primary goal of stocism is how to be happy or rather how to live a happy life. So, we are not talking about just moments but the whole stretch of one's life, although everything would be based on the moment, and hence, a series of moments.

To live a happy live is to live a life that one wishes - not in the sense of frivolity - but in the sense of living in accordance with one's inner being. Be a good durian if you know you are a durian, and not trying to be a rambutan.

In other words, stocism is about being one's true self. It is by being true to oneself that one can truly be happy with oneself.

This is because this is the reality.

The reality is out there, and not inside you, and therefore it is not part of you. Whatever the reality is, it has nothing to do with you. This is the reality.

The only way reality has an impact on you is when you react to it, the reality. By reacting, you allow reality to hit you.

Which means that in order to ensure that the reality has no impact on you is for you not to react to it. By not reacting to reality, you do not allow reality to hit you.

Here you are, alone in this world. There it is the reality, existing by itself, existing before you were born and will exist after you are gone from here.

Pain is external to you. There may be pain in a part of your body, but yo do not have to own that pain. You can make pain an alien to your being. You do not have to react to the pain.

Now, what do you do in this apparent stalemate?

The only thing to do in this real life is to live according to your own true self.

Know yourself.

Live your life, your own way.

Do what you have to do; do not do what you don't need to do.

Do as per your true self. Live your life with integrity to your true self.

To live life with integrity to your true self, you have to keep life simple. You can only know a few key elements of your own true self, and you have to keep your faith with those few points of yours.

Be honest - don't lie, don't cheat, don't misrepresent, don't mislead, don't say what you do not know.

Have courage - endure though not suffer, don't be afraid.

Be rational - use your head, re-examine carefully all those impressions of things in your mind and make sure that they are true, calm your senses down by keeping still in order to know yourself, behave on the basis of what you know.

Stocism is therefore about living a virtuous life according to yourself, your own nature, being true to yourself, without depriving others from doing the same.

Living In The Present

When the real world today seems all in shambles, the world is in shambles, but not you.

You are intact. You know who you are. You are being honest to yourself.

If you are in debt, then pay off the debt by selling the assets you have accumulated. If that is not sufficient, get yourself declared bankrupt. Do what you have to do. Don't try to avoid the consequences of your own past actions. Don't blame others for your present troubles. You did not credit others when you were doing well before; you owed everything to yourself. Your financial world may collapse, but you are still alive. Only you will decide for yourself that you should be unhappy. You do not have to get others' approval to be happy.

The same applies to your fame, your reputation - bestowed upon you by others for no reasons of yours that you can fathom and for no good purpose that you can use it for. You are like everyone else: human, alive, aging, waiting.

In such adversity, it is a real joy to be alive, because that is the only thing that now defines you - and possibly the only most important thing.

Every step you take is entirely yours and yours alone. You decide. You do. You live.

Be happy. Be alive.