Tuesday, May 28, 2013
The ancient definition of “passion” was “anguish” or “suffering” – which comes from passive reaction to external events. *Stoics endeavored to transcend passion through apatheia, or peace of mind (literally, “without passion”) to attain eupatheia, which are feelings that result from evolving our reactions.
Are there situations that spark negative emotions in you? Most of my Facebook friends post often about how situations make them feel (insert negative emotion here). If you look again at the first sentence - their anguish and suffering come from a passive reaction (victim) to external events. When I read this I recognize that there are many times that I let my mind take me to negative places. Today, in simple situations I have worked on seeing difficult situations and choosing a neutral mindset.
Another Stoic tenet is that nothing is good or bad and the only thing we control is our perception. The Stoic idea is that every situation is an opportunity. I am sure that it will take work but I can see how controlling my perceptions, seeing everything as an opportunity and not good or bad and not allowing myself to being victimized will make me a better man.
*Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection," would not suffer such emotions.