“The soul is like a bowl of water, and our impressions are like the ray of light falling upon the water. When the water is troubled, it appears that the light itself is moved too, but it isn’t. So, when a person loses their composure, it isn’t their skills and virtues that are troubled, but the spirit in which they exist, and when that spirit calms down so do those things.” – Epictetus, Discourses, 3.3.20-22
Our last meditation of February, the month of passions and emotions. For me, this was a difficult and rewarding month. It made me face some personal habits that have burdened me for some time. Did you encounter such truth?
I love the imagery Epictetus gives us. Have you ever come upon a lake, and the wind is creating havoc on the water. Birds are incapable of resting due to the frequency of the waves. The following day is completely different. As the weather changes so do the state of the water. Now calm, ducks and swans may occupy the space where waves once did.
When you embrace the Stoic approach, when it becomes something you practice, you do not lose that skill. As Epictetus reminds us, it’s simply a break in composure. The waters will calm.
Here’s U2’s “Out of Control”. Enjoy.
March brings us awareness.