What takes up your time? What takes up your thoughts?
These are the question I was made to ponder by Ryan Holiday with his book for the day’s entry. Because in our complicated lives, making things simple does involve discarding some things that take up our thoughts. Pointless worries about things that you can’t really do anything about for example.
But how do you deal with that?
“If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters—don’t wish to seem knowledgeable. And if some regard you as important, distrust yourself.”
— EPICTETUS, ENCHIRIDION , 13 a
In my daily grind, especially lately, I have been involved with interacting with people who I don’t know personally, and who don’t know me personally. But for some reason their opinion is important to me.
Whenever I type anything in an internet forum, I am careful with my words, with what I type. I try to make sure that each phrase I conjure up is polite, and not offensive. But as seen in my previous interaction, I will eventually meet people who are angry at what I have to say, despite my best efforts to be as nice as possible.
And honestly, it keeps my heart racing. I feel anxious, as I dread the next message I will receive, because it could be inflammatory. Reddit is just too open for information to move around, and anybody could easily get in touch with anybody. Of course there are ways to block people and filter out what you read, but why should I allow myself an avenue of distress? Ever since that exchange, I dread that orange message icon, because it could be another hate message. So today, I deleted my Reddit Account.
I know I’m a Stoic, but my meditation is only been weeks at this point. I have to recognize that I have not achieved the peace of mind that comes from the years of meditation that Marcus Aurelius had. The neurosis I’m dealing with from years of insecurity is still deep within my subconscious, and it will take a lot to dig it out.
I proclaim that I am a Stoic, but the journey towards becoming the Wise Man is still a long one.
So one exercise I need to do tonight; is focus on removing myself from all those insecurities. Today’s meditation is extremely relevant, given the circumstances that I am dealing with; people have opinions and I do not need to know them. They can’t significantly change the motions of the natural order, because just like me, every one else is likely to be another nobody.
I do not need other people’s validation.
I do not need their attention.
I do not need to interact with people online.
I do not need to feel that my opinion is needed.
I deal with people in the real world.
I deal with real problems, not the problems of someone half-way across the world.
I am a Stoic, and I do not need to be everywhere.