Stoic News

By Dave Kelly

Thursday, July 10, 2003

To be like-minded with God

"Harmonizing ourselves with nature is difficult but not impossible, and Epictetus gives a great deal of practical counsel to his students. It requires, he says, constant practice and self-discipline because

"Every skill and faculty is maintained and increased by the corresponding acts; . . . And thus it is in spiritual things also. When thou art wrathful, know that not this single evil hath happened to thee but that thou hast increased the aptness to it, and, as it were, poured oil upon the fire. . . . Wouldst thou, then, be no longer of a wrathful temper? Then do not nourish the aptness to it, give it nothing that will increase it, be tranquil from the outset, and number the days when thou hast not been wrathful. . . . For the aptness is at first enfeebled, and then destroyed. -- Discourses 2:xviii

"The key is to make new habits of thought and action, and to do this it is of primary importance not to judge too hastily. Whatever our first reaction may be, we should pause and examine it. "


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