The Daily Stoic for November 24th, “Train To Let Go Of What’s Not Yours”.
“Whenever you experience the pangs of losing something, don’t treat it like a part of yourself but as a breakable glass, so when it falls you will remember that and won’t be troubled. So too, whenever you kiss your child, sibling, or friend, don’t layer on top of the experience all the things you might wish, but hold them back and stop them, just as those who ride behind triumphant generals remind them they are mortal. In the same way, remind yourself that your precious one isn’t one of your possessions, but something given for now, not forever . . .”—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.24.84–86a
Loss is one of our greatest fears. It is for me, at least. So today’s stoic asks us to remind ourselves that this someone we love is mortal, and can die, or leave us. It’s not our belonging.
Train To Let Go Of What’s Not Yours
That’s such a hard concept to accept. The stoic meditation from just two days ago focused on physical stuff, but I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if we applied the same philosophy to someone. Someone we love, of course.
Honestly, I don’t have an answer as of now. Obviously, if my partner left me, or went missing, I would suffer a lot. How could it be otherwise? I love him. I think that all of us can feel the same way about someone we love, even if it’s our father, or mother, or sister, or maybe our best friend…
Obviously, most of the times you recover from such a loss. Life goes on. And it’s true that denial or ignorance won’t make things better. I also realize that today’s stoic is not telling us to just stop caring about people we love or think about them as “replaceable” stuff in our lives.
However, I can’t help but wondering how would that work for me. I don’t care about my stuff, or even to what happens to me to certain extent. But I can’t look at the ones I love as if I’ve already lost them. Not yet, probably not ever?
I have the feeling that, as the year comes to an end, the daily stoic meditations are approaching a grande finale, a climax so to speak. It’s amazing how much I have thought and how much I have changed in eleven months…
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Train To Let Go Of What’s Not Yours”, takes “It’s already broken” one step firther, and asks us to have a little voice inside of us to remind us that nothing outside -even the ones we love- should be taken for granted.