Time to think…a path to serenity

“Keep this thought at the ready at daybreak, and through the day and night – there is only one path to happiness, and that is in giving up all outside of your sphere of choice, regarding nothing else as your possession, surrendering all else to God and Fortune.”Epictetus, Discourses. When you really crave something that […]

Time to think…about it all being equal in the end

“Both Alexander the Great and his mule-keeper were both brought to the same place by death – they were either received into the all-generative reason, or scattered among the atoms.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. Sooner or later we’re going to come to the end of our lives, and then we’ll all be equal. Worry not about […]

Time to think…about saving time for yourself

“No person hands out their money to passers-by, but to how many do each of us hand out our lives! We’re tight-fisted with property and money, yet think too little of wasting time, the one thing about which we should all be the toughest misers.”Seneca, On The Brevity Of Life. How time flies. Our lives […]

Time to think…about being glad to be alive

“Keep death and exile before your eyes each day, along with everything that seems terrible – by doing so, you’ll never have a base thought nor will you have excessive desire.” Epictetus, Enchiridion. These days it’s difficult to keep images of death and exile away from our eyes, so I’ve chosen an unrelated image of […]

Time to think…about your inner beat

“When forced, as it seems, by circumstances into utter confusion, get a hold of yourself quickly. Don’t be locked out of the rhythm any longer than necessary. You’ll be able to keep the beat if you are constantly returning to it.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. Know the sound of your own drum and beat it yourself […]

Time to think…about wrestling with life

“The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, because an artful life requires being prepared to meet and withstand sudden and unexpected attacks.”Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. What challenges might you face today? When limbering up, what core strengths will help get you through? It is the sudden and unexpected events in our lives that […]

Time to think…about change and free will

“Remember that to change your mind and to follow someone’s correction are consistent with a free will. For the action is yours alone – to fulfil its purpose in keeping with your impulse and judgement, and yes, with your intelligence.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. No-one can make you change your mind: that power remains firmly with […]

Time to think…about pain

“Whenever you suffer pain, keep in mind that it’s nothing to be ashamed of and that it can’t degrade your guiding intelligence, nor keep it from acting rationally and for the common good. And in most cases you should be helped by the saying of Epicurus, that pain is never unbearable or unending, so you […]

Time to think…about perseverance

“Success comes to the lowly and to the poorly-talented, but the characteristic of a great person is to triumph over the disasters and panics of human life.” Seneca, On Providence. As Churchill once remarked, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”. Persevere. Make sense of what is happening. Find meaning. Orientate yourself to that reality […]

Anxiety – what is it?

“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” Arthur Somers Roche, playwright It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15-19 May 23) and the topic this year is anxiety (last year it was loneliness, and I hope you’ve all managed to […]

Time to think…about reasons, not emotions

“You’ve endured countless troubles – all from not letting your ruling reason do the work it was made for – enough already!” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. On those occasions when you’ve thought and acted like a prize gibbon, what do you remember about the event afterwards? How realistic and accurate were your thoughts at the time? How […]

Time to think…about habits before theory

“When the problem arose for us whether habit or theory was better for getting virtue – if by theory is meant what teaches us correct conduct, and by habit we mean being accustomed to act accordingly to this theory – Musonius thought habit to be more effective.” Musonius Rufus, Lectures. When you know what needs to […]

Time to think…about perfectionism and perseverance

“We don’t abandon our pursuits because we despair of ever perfecting them.” Epictetus, Discourses. Having an all-or-nothing mindset is a sure route to unhappiness. The old adage that it’s not about the winning but about the taking part applies in many fields of your life. Don’t waste much time in worrying about getting it right, winning […]

Time to think…about facts, not hearsay

“Don’t tell yourself anything more than what the initial impressions report. It’s been reported to you that someone is speaking badly about you. This is the report – the report wasn’t that you’ve been harmed. I see that my son is sick – but not that his life is at risk. So always stay within […]

Time to think…about choosing to live well, wherever

“Wherever a person can live, there one can also live well; life is also in the demands of court, there too one can live well.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. To live ‘well’ is to be clear about your values and to live by them. The pragmatism required of the situation need not prevent you from living by […]

Time to think…about applying yourself to thinking

“Apply yourself to thinking through difficulties – hard times can be softened, tight squeezes widened, and heavy loads made lighter for those who apply the right pressure.” Seneca, On Tranquility of Mind. Apply yourself to logical thinking – abstract, objective, facts-based exploration of the situation you find yourself in – and avoid where possible becoming engrossed […]

Time to think…about silence

“Silence is a lesson learned from the many sufferings of life.”  Seneca, Thyestes. When you can listen to someone a little longer, why talk? We feel the need to justify ourselves – in showing we belong to a group, or displaying our strength in resistance to an insult or perceived wrong being committed, especially when we […]

Time to think…about living in the moment

“At this moment, you aren’t on a journey, but wandering about, being driven from place to place, even though what you seek – to live well – is found in all places. Is there any place more full of confusion than the Forum? Yet even there you can live at peace, if needed.”  Seneca, Moral Letters. […]

Time to think…about your attitude

“Indeed, how could exile be an obstacle to a person’s own cultivation, or to attaining virtue when no one has ever been cut off from learning or practising what is needed by exile?”  Musonius Rufus, Lectures. There is something new in every experience we have. As flowing water means the river is never the same river, […]

Time to think…about acceptance

“That cucumber is bitter, so toss it out! There are thorns on the path, then keep away! Enough said. Why ponder the existence of nuisance? Such thinking would make you a laughing-stock to the true student of Nature, just as a carpenter or cobbler would laugh if you pointed out the sawdust and chips on […]

Time to think…about practice making progress

“The person who has practised philosophy as a cure for the self becomes great of soul, filled with confidence, invincible – and greater as you draw near.” Seneca, Moral Letters. Explore what is at the heart of you. As within, so without. Recognise your needs and values and be prepared to act to fulfil them. Be […]

Time to think…about being understanding

“Some people are sharp and others dull; some are raised in a better environment, others in worse, the latter, having inferior habits and nurture, will require more by way of proof and careful instruction to master these teachings and to be formed by them – in the same way that bodies in a bad state […]

Time to think…about what you’re not doing

“Often injustice lies in what you aren’t doing, not only in what you are doing.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. What might hold you back from taking action in the moment? Emotions. Fear of rejection, of conflict, of looking stupid, perhaps. What happens if you do nothing instead, and see a wrong being committed? Another set of emotions […]

Time to think…about success, rank and ego

“When you see someone often flashing their rank or position, or someone whose name is often bandied about in public, don’t be envious; such things are bought at the expense of life. Some die on the first rungs of the ladder of success, others before they reach the top, and the few that make it […]

Time to think…about choosing your emotions

“Whenever disturbing news is delivered to you, bear in mind that no news can ever be relevant to your reasoned choice. Can anyone break news to you that your assumptions or desires are wrong? No way!” Epictetus, Discourses. We choose the extent to which an external thing or event affects our emotions. We can sympathise with […]

Time to think…about maintaining balance

“Receive without pride, let go without attachment.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. All things shall pass. Recognise what they mean to you in the moment and take note of their emotional influence. At the end, aim to be the same person as before it began. You do not know for sure when something is coming to you or […]

Time to think…about your noble acts

“Nothing is noble if it’s done unwillingly or under compulsion. Every noble deed is voluntary.” Seneca, Moral Letters. When your actions come directly from your heart, there’s a moment when you can feel vulnerable – exposed – as your true colours are on show. How will others judge you? Are you doing the right thing? If […]