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Think more on Good than Bad

If you think on the good things in your life, you will remember them more and more, and feel at peace with what you have. If you think on the bad things in your life, your will remember them, more and more and you will be unhappy, thinking on bad things instead of good.

You are what you think, if you look on yourself as a person who has good luck in your life, you will find more good luck than bad. Our ideas about what is good and what is bad mould our life. Be careful to see the good, and you can live the good.

Doing bad deeds may give you and adrenaline rush, and you can get things done, but that rush will be short lived, lasting up to an hour only, and you will feel flat afterwards.

When you do good things those feel good chemicals will be released – endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. These chemicals do in fact feel good to you, and are not harmful to the body, unless they lead to things that may result in bad things. The runner’s high you may get when when being active may lead you to not realising you are damaged and can cause greater ill effects.

Taking all of this into account, it is obvious that being good is better for a person, with those feel good chemicals all flooding in. But doing good can lead to better things in a community, and even on a more global level, with people doing good things for others that lead to many useful and good things.

Volunteer groups, with many people helping other people, and doing random acts of kindness, presenting workshops that help others, starting up self-help groups, and a variety of other things, these may in fact begin with people seeking to help, and enjoying the way that helping makes them feel.

Doing good for others, truly can and usually does, feel good for the do-gooder! Doing bad things certainly has no lasting beneficial effect. If you’ve ever wondered whether you should do good things, the answer is certainly a resounding YES! Weigh up what time you have available, for sure, but if and when you can easily do more good things, DO IT!

And have good things in your life, family, friends, pets, a garden, trees, all good things! Having a purpose and good things to do in your life, these can add to feeling good about yourself, and they can also help with your health and well-being.

Stoicism Is A Work In Progress …

I am learning to be a Stoic, it’s difficult, but very interesting.

If you’re sick of being offended by the words of others, you have options to prevent it happening. 
1/ stop reading or listening to the words of others
2/ think, and consider what you read or hear using a more accepting/curious attitude

If you look at such things with a more open mindset, annoyance will not assail you. Think on why such things have been written or said, analyse reasons for the words, explore context and gain better understanding …

None of us are perfect, we are all somewhere on the road to ‘perfection’, or wisdom. The aim of the Stoic is to live a life that meets their ideas on wisdom, courage, justice and temperance.

I’m working through what Stoicism is, or trying to anyway. It’s much deeper than the way many people think when they hear or read the word ‘Stoic’, as in someone who endures pain or hardship without complaint, or any show of feelings. But there is so much more to it all than that.

The stoic person, when faced by offending words, would feel sorry for the ignorant person who said or wrote the words, and hope that the person came to a better understanding on the enormity of what those words may have done to others, in terms of possible harm.

That is my interpretation of it anyway, and as always, I welcome comments and ideas about it.

Why Moderation Is Not Boring

When a person wishes to move from an ordinary life to a more Stoic life, there will be others who may tell you it that you will be boring, if you go too much into the Stoic mindset. Stoics are thought on by the general public to be the people who don’t do anything interesting and in fact have a grim or humourless approach to life.

This is far from the truth, the Stoic in fact take pleasure in things that are by Nature pleasurable. Dining on tasty food and drink, engaging in things that bring enjoyment, these are things that the Stoic would indulge in, at every time as is likely to occur. The proviso though, and this is what may lead to this misconception, is that the Stoic will not indulge in these things to excess, but will do them in moderation, not too little, but never too much.

plain is pretty!

Those who over-indulge will more likely go beyond what Nature would give, and so may be responsible for possible dire consequences. Drinking, eating, partying, these are fun things, yes, but over-indulging in any of them can bring troubles. Excess weight can bring disease, with too much alcohol, drunkenness and mis-speaking or doing unwanted things, as well as health risks also may occur.

nothing excessive here

Moderation will be the Stoic’s catchword, taking part in, but not over-indulging in is the way go. With excess in many things, bad results can occur – people may overspend on their latest obsession with material goods – clothes, music, housing decorations, all manner of things. Having moderation in all of these things will bring you a pleasant life, with nothing going overboard. It will also guard against going in the opposite, and not having enough of those things.

Suffering from lack of necessary things is never going to help a person to do the best they can. Lack of food and drink leads to weakness and inability, a lack of enough shelter the same. An expensive record collection may lead to having so many songs that the person will never have enough time to listen to them all. The same may apply to books too, or cars, clothes, decorating, in much, there may be little – not enough time to enjoy them, because the getting of them is time consuming, perhaps.

delicate and natural loveliness

Moderation is valuable, because the moderate life is one where you can concentrate on the best and most appropriate things, sharing perhaps with others, all enjoying the good things, but not overindulging, because then things can go wrong, and nobody, surely would want that, not if they thought properly about it. There is much to be enjoyed, if you look to finding your pleasures in simple things in life!

Living the Stoic life is does definitely not mean living a boring life, but a simpler life, but as Seneca said two thousand or so years ago “Philosophy calls for plain living, not for penance…our lives should observe a happy medium between the ways of the sage and the ways of the world at large.”

These are my thoughts about moderation in the Stoic life, I would appreciate reading your thoughts about this, if you would like to leave a comment here.

The Happy Stoic

Finding happiness in life can only come from within ourselves. If we think we need the verification of our worth from others, we are setting ourselves up for possible sadness.

Happiness in simplicity …

The main thing in life is to live a life we consider to be a worthy one, for who can feel happy with themselves if feeling ourselves to be failures. If you look only to others, you are subject to the judgement of those others, and who can know truly from where their judgements arise?

Further to that thought, how can we value ourselves if we have only our own ideas of our value? Being involved in our community, taking part in events, adding assistance to others, these are ways to actively favour good works, encouraging, inspiring, instigating better things for self, and others. But remain aware always that the things done are good in themselves, and be aware of the dangers of self-seeking behaviours, where the seeking of accolades interferes in the good works.

One must remain always aware that how we feel is truly dependant on our own thoughts, and if we feel let down by something, it is because we are letting ourselves feel that way. Sure, bad things can happen, but a happier interpretation is to look on those things as chances to do better. We can only truly rely on ourselves for our own happiness. And remember to take advantage of every moment of good fortune, while realising it is only good if we do so, otherwise it is a good chance squandered.

Moments of good fortune, will surely come more often to the person who sows the seeds for such results. Such things are not based on ‘whims of Nature’ but more likely on sensible forethought, and willingness to reach out and take what is there in front of you.

And living your life in these ways, acting with good will, and with beneficial actions for self and other members of your community, these can assist others to realise these benefits are possible for them too, and so may come to acting well in similar ways. When many act in such good ways, helping themselves to become good people, this is how life for the many can become beneficial to all.

Those who are unable to help themselves for whatever reasons are to be helped up, not looked down on. When you act for the greater good, using your wisdom in such matters, you will realise that your life can be a template, for people to examine, and try to emulate, in their own way. For as we are all different, so our talents may lie in different things, and adding together the various talents of the group, into their joint projects, wonderful and useful results may arise.

A good life, is a happy life – it doesn’t need much of anything, it simply requires enough of the important things – food, water, shelter, purpose. And so purpose in life grows with living the purposeful life, step after step to your best life possible.

Proof of Stoicism’s Value

Today I brought my calmness and wisdom into play, and worked through a problem that could have ruined me, if I’d let it. I wrote about it here, and gave credit to my learnings regarding Stoicism, that helped me to calmly work my way through something that could have stressed a person out.

Calmness in the face of problems, and working through possible problems in wise and rational ways is all a part of why I am glad to have Stoicism in my life, these days. I take my poetry seriously, and I could have lost many of my newest poems today, but I didn’t.

I’m finding my poetry has gone up a notch, and I have been thrilled with the quality of my most recent poetry written. I hope others will be impressed with my newest poems too, and I especially hope the publisher I have in mind, will want to publish my latest collection.

I had thought of never sending any more poetry to this particular publisher, ever again, but I ver soon realised they had done the right thing by rejecting that messy and ill thought out ‘collection’. It was more a rag bag of poems, some ok, some good perhaps, some quite ordinary really, and it was far from being a cohesive collection that fit together in any real way.

Poetry collections play an important part in my life in various ways, but the idea of getting a new poetry collection out is the most important way right now. But I have quietly got on with the process of getting this new collection together, it will certainly not be a rush job, unlike that rejected ‘collection’.

I have another important writing related thing going on right now as well, the Gawler and Adelaide Plains Festival of Words (Location). This is also being worked on by the sub-commitee in a methodical way, and things are going well with it. This is happening from 24-28 July, and is looking to be an excellent and interesting Writing Festival. Writing Workshops, talks from interesting and interested people, it is a writing event that is bringing in a broader audience, of community members I expect.

Calm in the face of potential stressful situations is such a valuable tool to have, thank you, Stoicism, I love what you help me with!

When We Die, We’re Gone

The Stoic life is a combination of wise words, and a slap in the face. How so, you might ask. Many people have written wise words about how to live the Stoic life, not more so perhaps that the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Marcus wrote much about his Stoic life, but he wasn’t writing to become famous for his words.

Marcus’s words were written to himself, as he went over his day, looking at the things he’d failed in, and how he would do better if faced by such things again. He was not writing for an audience, so he was writing the truth as it seemed to be to him.

The headline of this post is a thought of my own, and it relates to a thought I had today. I certainly don’t believe I am going to heaven when I die. When I die, that’s it, my life is over, and my mind and body will be finished. Whether others remember me after I die is irrelevant to me, because I won’t know, I’ll be dead.

Other people may have other ideas about such matters, and all I can say to that is, well, I don’t believe your thoughts to be true. I cannot see how or why there could be a God, or Heaven, or so no Hell either. I don’t do good things so I can get into Heaven, I do good things because that is the right thing to do, both for myself, and for others.

And if others do bad things to me? According to the Stoic thoughts, I should feel sorry for those people because they surely have something wrong with themselves, that they should do such bad things to another person. So forgive them, but do your best to not be harmed by that person again.

I have troubles with this line of thinking, but I realise the problem is more likely to be with me, than with the wise Roman ruler, and others of his ilk. I will go on thinking about such things, and work to gain understanding. I welcome the thoughts anyone else has regarding these matters, and I hope for greater understanding. Please leave a comment, if there is anything you can add to this!

Learn to Want What you Already Have

The headline above is one of the important ideas in Stoicism. If you can convince yourself you want what you already have, what a joy that will be – to be able to cease striving for more, because you already have what you want.

You won’t be striving for unattainable things, and this can bring you joy. Then you will be grateful for things in your life. Further to that, if you set yourself to imaging the things you don’t have, focusing on the negative things, such as not having sight, then realising the wonders that sight bring to you may feel even more wondrous!

If you wish for unattainable things, you will never be happy, and if you never celebrate all your victories, no matter how minor, you may never feel successful, and die a lonely life with feelings only of failure. Celebrate life, live a moderate life, with no gluttony and enjoy everything you can, without going over the top with anything.

Nature moderates excess by having trees drop branches if the tree is overloaded.\

Gluttony in most things can lead to discomfort, at the least, and serious health issues, and even death, at the most. Who wishes to bring death upon themselves, for an hour or so of excess, when the moderate life can give joy and comfortable living?

I want a life of happy moderation, enough food but never too much, moderate wealth but not a burdensome amount, and having my talents recognised but not mindless adulation. Love from those I love back, honesty but not nastiness with it, and gratitude for what I may have done but without cloying overthanking.

As a good dog is happy to share their life with us, in peace and honestly, so a good Stoic can live their life with others, peacefully and honestly, showing love to those who deserve it, but unlike the hound, realise the famine is unlikely to come, and so there is no need to overeat just in case it comes.

Missy enjoying her quiet life

Missy knows how to live a good and moderate life, resting much, and enjoying the quiet pleasures in her life! Going outside to be with Nature, looking to the sky to see the birds, but, being canine and not a Stoic human, she will eat to excess if she gets the chance to. It is up to us humans, who love and care about her, to ensure she enjoys her food in moderate ways.

Are Stoics Happy?

Many people assume that Stoics are staid and cheerless people, never smiling or carousing, or ever having any kind of fun.

But that is misunderstanding what it really means, to be a Stoic. Stoicism is all about being satisfied with what one has, or in fact, being grateful for all we have. If we are alive and not in pain, we are so much better off than someone who is alive and in pain.

If we have shelter and food, we are better off than a homeless person with no access to anything to eat. If we have a job that we get paid for, even though we’d like a better, higher paid job, we are still better off than an unemployed person.

If you were to think on the good things in life you have, and imagine how you may be if you didn’t have all of those things, you will see that yes, you do indeed have a good life. And if there is someone who seems to be having a better life than you, what of it? There may be negative things happening for that other person of which you have no knowledge.

Blue skies, trees, a good road, life is good!

Life for me is good. I have a roof, a husband I love, who loves me. I have a fine son, and other family members I love, and who love me back. I have a dog who brings joy to my life. I have a garden with beautiful flowers, I have food growing in my garden too. And that blue sky in the photo is up there above me on most days. Beautiful!

I am a very fortunate person. I can honestly say that, and I believe. I can imagine many ways in which my life could have been worse, and indeed still could be worse. But there is no point in getting upset about those other ways, because the life I currently have is the only life I can have, the one I’m living right now.

My future life is truly unknowable. I could guess at how it may be, but I can’t live it, until it is here. The future is a myth, and while some things can be prepared for in the present, there is no point in getting so carried away doing that, you neglect to proper ‘be there’ in the now.

These thoughts are from my own personal understanding on what Stoicism is about, and if I don’t get it quite how another person sees Stoicism as being, so be it. We are all entitled to look on life how we consider it to be, and live accordingly.

Our guard flamingo watching over the garlic crop.

The link just above was the resource I used to write this particular, along with my own thoughts, based on my other studies, especially this book:

This is a great book, get a copy, if you can

So are Stoics happy? Well I consider myself to be a Stoic, and yes, I am happy, are you?