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010 - On Attending To Yourself - Moral Letters for Modern Times

There is no one with whom you more profitably spend time than yourself.
Large Ferris Wheel - Moral Letters to Lucilius
Photo by James Bellerjeau

I mean what I say: you should scorn public opinion, shun social media, and be shaken neither by praise nor blame. Do not trust a thoughtless person. Leave them all if you can but trust yourself.

Build a foundation within yourself and it cannot be eroded by what others say or do. If you rely for your strength on others, it may be taken away at any time. As the Buddhist scriptures enshrined in the Dhammapada urge us:

Better than a hundred years not considering how all things arise and pass away is one single day of life if one considers how all things arise and pass away.

When you are true to yourself, you need not fear the judgment of time. Though your fellow man may judge you, aroused by anonymity, anger, and spite, you can rest assured that you are true to a higher purpose. Better solitary confinement to preserve your peace of mind!

Here is how I wish to see you. No, rather what I already see, for a wish is an empty thought: there is no one with whom you more profitably spend time than yourself. You are already showing your understanding and strength of character by confidently putting our lessons into practice. Many hear, but few listen. I rejoice that your ears are open, and wise words are falling on the fertile ground of your mind. A sound mind is a foundation that can support the grandest structures. Continue on in this way, and nothing will slow your progress.

As is now my habit, I send you along your way with a token. It is another true wisdom from the mind of Henry David Thoreau:

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

The masses foolishly mistake the goalpost for the goal. They spend their mortal lives on the idea that accomplishment is measured in things.

You, however, will appreciate that real wisdom comes in understanding that it is the daily shaping, turning, and grinding of the stone on the wheel that makes the gem, and not the shiny bauble that any fool can simply buy.

Be well.

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