Archief | oktober, 2017

Stoic week day 7

22 okt

Glad and cheerful, let us say, as we go to our rest: ‘I have finished living; I have run the course that fortune set for me’. If God gives us another day, let us receive it with joy. The happiest person, who owns himself more fully, is the one who waits for the next day without anxiety. Anyone who can say, ‘I have had my life’ rises with a bonus, receiving one more day. – Seneca, Letters, 12.9.

Meditation:

1.Situation. What is the upsetting situation that you’re imagining?

That my little stray cat gets run over by a car , a very likely situation.

2.Emotions. How does it make you feel when you picture it as if it’s happening right now? How strong is the feeling (0-100%)?

I walk out of the door and see him lying in the street , he is still a little alive and i cry my eyes out as i call animal ambulance. He dies in my arms , i cry. When i picture this i get really upset and start crying , the feeling is about 80%

3.Duration. How long (in minutes) did you manage to sit with it and patiently expose yourself to the event in your imagination?

I managed to repeat the scenario for about 5 minutes in my head and changed the script a few times.

4.Consequence. How strong was the upsetting feeling at the end (0-100%)? What else did you feel or experience by the end?

The feeling was about 30% and i also noticed a sense of peace coming over me , acceptance.

5.Analysis. Has your perspective changed on the upsetting event? Is it really as awful as you imagined? How could you potentially cope if it did happen? What’s under your control in this situation and what isn’t?

My perspective on the upsetting event and upsetting events have changed indeed, to just keep breathing and letting the emotions overwhelm me while it’s not really actually happening is a good training for when these things actually happen in real life

Yes it was really really awful , even just in my imagination , i think a beautiful little furball being run over by a car just seems unnecessarily cruel.  I would cope if it happened , i would make sure he got taken care of real well.

Under my control would be to keep the cat inside and cut him of his hunting territory , i have already decided that i will not do that. So that is not an option. There is really very little under my control in this situation , so i accept it as a possible scenario.

This morning when the cat was meowing in the back yard , i felt this sense of happiness and greeted him with the happy feeling in my heart that today was a good day to spoil him , but then , every day is a good day to love the ones you love. It has made me realise that life is too short for fear of losing people. I will make the best of the time we have together

 

If anything this course has taught me that i cannot change what i cannot change , that i should put effort in virtues and not spend time on worries , revenge , hate in general.

But i already knew that. For a few months now i have been destroying my feelings over certain things , because as a Jedi i cannot live my life with regrets , unanswered love and other bullshit that distracts me from my duties. I am glad i did this course , it has made aware that i am on the good path , the Jedi path.

 

I also painfully realised loving someone is worth the pain , being in love with someone is not. It’s just a craving like anything else. So the love is still there , but the rest ? No thanks aint got time for complicated and unreachable love.  Got Jedi stuff to do.

Waking up this morning was good , although i had a hangover , i look at my little stray cat and feel happiness with a hint of sadness , i might never be the Vulcan that i aspire to be , and might never be the Jedi that i crave to be so badly. But i will be grateful and i will live my life to the fullest. I will dedicate my life to being of service and i will read more …promise loll, even philosophy 😛

 

May the Force be with you ❤

 

Self Renewal : A course in Stoicism day 6

21 okt

Stoic week day 5

 

The works of the gods are full of providence, and the works of fortune are not separate from nature or the interweaving and intertwining of the things governed by providence. Everything flows from there. Further factors are necessity and the benefit of the whole universe, of which you are a part. What is brought by the nature of the whole and what maintains that nature is good for each part of nature. Just as the changes in the elements maintain the universe so too do the changes in the compounds. — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.3

 

The ‘View from Above’ is a guided visualisation that is aimed at instilling a sense of the ‘bigger picture’, and of understanding your role within nature as a whole. You can practise a visualisation of the ‘View from Above’ by downloading the audio recording provided.

When i did the meditation i had the strange sensation of floating above myself and as i went deeper into the meditation i realised i was letting go , it was a wonderful sensation. Seeing myself as a valuable part of the Universe and at the same time just be a mini glitch in time , how we worry about our lives and about the things we cannot change. I was pleasantly surprised with Donalds voice and i love his accent.

 

What i learned is that i am too earthbound , to attached to my pain , grief and what has happened in my life , i learned that we all have the same struggles to a point and that we are interconnected with the discipline of nature. How nature needs to be respected and is an essential part of being healthy of mind. I also learned that with all my imperfections i still am able to sit still and love and enjoy being me. After the meditation i felt more whole , i did not feel so apart of ..well the rest. The overwhelming feeling of loneliness i have experienced at a few occasions in my life can now be explained as i disconnected myself , no one did that to me , it was me.

 

For the compassion side , i had a difficult conversation with someone i have known for 2 years now , the person sucks the living daylight out of people and knows to turn and twist everything you say into you being selfish. I see that often with severely abused people , you try to help them , try to be there for them , but somewhere in their head they don’t heal and keep seeking it outside themselves. When i was abused i did the same, i lashed out , became erratic , went ballistic and finally had to conclude that it was not worth it.I am worth it to have a good life , a life of a Jedi , where i can be of service and help others that are stuck. My conclusion broke my heart a little , i cannot be there for her if she after 2 years cannot be there for herself , i am too limited , i am not around for her , i live too far away and i am a schmuck online. I am of great value to a lot of people in my real life and i even have good relationships online. But counselling someone online is not what i am good at , i expect people to Jedi up and get their asses going and to learn to appreciate what they have. In this Stoic week i not only learn what is wonderful about me and others , and i am beginning to see where my limitations are. What she says about me does not hurt me anymore , i feel for her and i feel helpless that i cannot help but i also have to cultivate some kind of indifference to things i cannot change , and believe me , i am getting there.

 

Floating over my myself i noticed aswell that my body posture is very closed , my favourite meditation position is like an embryo in the womb loll , i will find another posture that is more with a straight back and open lungs , i noticed today that my breathing is not right , so i learned a lot today. So it was a good day 😉

 

May the Force be with you ❤

 

Stoic week day 4

19 okt

During this midday exercise, reflect on your personal relationships and think about whether you should try to change your attitudes or actions towards other people. Think about someone who is annoying you or hostile towards you. How do you respond? Do you feel his or her attitude is really harming you? Do you feel you have it within you to regard them as your brother or sister (despite the way they treat you) – and how might this alter the nature of the relationship?

As people are getting hostile and even yell at me , i notice i quickly realise that they cannot harm me , the downside to that though can be that i can react in a very cold manner , which can make them even more angry. Finding the right balance between staying involved but not be drawn into their negative cycle and downright indifference is essential. I still have to exercise compassion and understanding without being pulled into excessive drama. Count to 20 it is for me. Today someone’s mother started screaming at me and i knew it was because i was right. Doing the right thing is not always easy and i did not mean to offend her , but i will no longer sit still and let injustice take place or things being said about the dead that they cannot refute.  So i step back , let her cool down and form her own opinion , because i already know what mine is. And as a part of the clockwork , i sometimes have to move in the general direction too.

 

Think about someone who is close to you, a partner, child, or intimate friend. Do you feel your relationship is helping each of you to develop the virtues (wisdom, courage, justice, moderation) or not? If not, or if only in a very limited way (perhaps the relationship has become rather stale), what can you do to improve things in this respect?

My mother is very demanding in an extremely childlike way , she is very intelligent but has been in and out of mental hospitals as long as i know her. The relationship is at a state now where i can only bare her for a few hours a few times a week. This hurts , she is ill and she needs me , but i even heard myself say once that i don’t need her. And i know i do the right thing by her , but i don’t feel it anymore. For this to change i have to go back to the base of love and start building again on compassion and discipline my patience. I could spend more time with her and by that i mean , more often , shorter periods. We could go out together more for short trips and i could become somewhat deaf to her whining , and not let it get to me so much. Because now it’s wearing me down.  I have to have the wisdom when to listen and when to speak , the courage to spend more time with here , i have to do right by her and spend shorter periods at the time , and i need to switch off as soon as i leave her house , think other things.

 

How far do your relationships reflect the fact that we are all, as the Stoics suppose, autonomous agents and that our happiness depends ultimately on ourselves.

I am very happy with most of my relationships they are equal and most of my friends and family have the same values so that is a good thing , there are some exceptions but that will always be the case. By being responsible for my own happiness and choosing a sort of solitude i have learned to be a lot happier with my life and much more resilient

To what extent do you adhere to the belief that we can only be harmed by ourselves and not by others?

I know it’s true , but i don’t feel it that way, i have seen too much evil to really believe it , even if it is true , it’s a hard thing to accept

Do your relationships, including very close ones, give people the freedom and scope to shape their own happiness, or do you try to manage this for them, thinking you are acting for the best?

The way i treat people is very laissez faire , sometimes they try to make me feel that i am responsible for their happiness , but as i make it very clear to them that they are not responsible for mine , i expect them to make their own happiness , but having said that , i love to help people build their dreams and encourage them to be the best they can be.

 

 

 

Stoic week day 3

18 okt

If you find anything in human life better than justice, truthfulness, self-control, courage… turn to it with all your heart and enjoy the supreme good that you have found… but if you find all other things to be trivial and valueless in comparison with virtue give no room to anything else, since once you turn towards that and divert from your proper path, you will no longer be able without inner conflict to give the highest honour to that which is properly good. It is not right to set up as a rival to the rational and social good [virtue] anything alien its nature, such as the praise of the many or positions of power, wealth or enjoyment of pleasures. – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 3.6

 

Thinks to reflect on , what place do these things have in my life:

Wisdom : I used to dislike philosophy for the sole reason that it meant a lot of reading and talking to other people , constantly reflecting and deflecting and a dependance on other , in short , i hated the idea that my wisdom could only grow when confronted with others , their ideas and god forbid their wisdom , i was sabotaging myself with this is realise now , i need philosophy in my life , cannot believe i am saying this .. Not that i am not a social person , i very much am , but i always thought that i was pretty wise myself …ow how wrong i was loll  In order to do the right thing i need to know what the right thing is , and that is something we all together have to find out , and we find that out by reading and talking and interacting , as much as i am a hands on person who would rather be doing something to learn , namely be active outside rather than with a book inside , the need for wisdom and wisdom in itself is a great virtue , the persuit of wisdom is one that can be learned , how wonderful , i am blessed really that someone like Aurelius took the trouble to write all that down to share with us so we can learn from it , and one day , do something with it to become a good person.

Justice : this is a very important virtue , this means you can think outside yourself and measure others with the same stick you measure yourself with and then some. It’s a virtue because when you love justice , you love the ones that have been wronged , you have empathy for both victim and suspect , but you know that justice belongs to the victim, and ultimately to us all.

Moderation: too much of anything is overkill , our species found that out real early , to much food , sex , drugs , alcohol , thinking , crying , even too much laughing brings unbalance , balance is important , it means you love yourself enough to do right by yourself and others. You know when to stop and you also feel responsible for others when they do too much of anything, and if you cannot do anything about it , you make sure you don’t worry too much , so you can become somewhat indifferent to what you cannot change , seems like a very hard thing to do when someone is harming himself , this stoic thinking is going to take all of my self discipline loll

Courage.

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

― Maya Angelou

I could not have said it better , really , without courage we don’t leave our comfort zone , we don’t know how to moderate because it brings change , we don’t dare stand up for others (justice) and because we never fail we don’t learn, and thus fail , i think courage is the most important virtue

 

Desires

Health: it’s an important desire to stay healthy , but because we have not got full control over that , we eat well , and work out , and that’s about it really , not much else we can do.

Property : not so important , but …a jedi must have enough for him/herself and a little to share , so it’s not so much about having things , but being able to care for oneself and others

Status : not so important , but you don’t want to be know as the lazy bumm

The virtues are seen by them as forms of expertise in living. So if you have the virtues you will be good at doing everything else in life. (Including looking after your health, property, and the welfare of your family or friends.) If you lack them, you will not be good at doing any of these other things and will make mistakes in your handling of life. That is why the Stoics saw virtue as the only thing that is needed for happiness. When compared to virtue all, other things are relatively unimportant and without fundamental value.

 

As a first move in this direction, here are two exercises that might help. First, use these questions to clarify your core values:

 

What’s ultimately the most important thing in life to you?

The most important thing in my life right now is learning to be a better person

What do you want your life to ‘stand for’ or ‘be about’?

I want to be of service to others , to help people

What would you most like your life to be remembered for after you’ve died?

For being brave and kind

What sort of thing do you most want to spend your time doing?

I love to do volunteer work , i could do that all the time

What sort of person do you most want to be in your various relationships and roles in life? For example, as a parent, friend, at work or in life generally.

One that you can count on , one that you can trust

You could also ask how far your own core values match what the ancient Stoics meant by ‘virtue’, especially character traits such as wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation.

Pretty much the same really , since i am studying the Jedi way i learn a lot about wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation. Stoicism and the Jedi Way align perfectly next to each other , i will benefit from becoming more Stoic , i already ask myself questions i did not before. Like “Can i change my 85 year old whiny mother ? ” No i cannot so i just enjoy the time more we both have left and try to be more patient.

May the Force be with you ❤

 

Stoic week day 2

17 okt

Yesterday’s midday exercise was about reflecting on my life as a whole and seeing how far my life matches your deepest ideals and aspirations.

If  these didn’t match in some respects (and this is very likely), i will want to try to change my motives and actions to fit your values, which is what Seneca talks about in today’s morning text for reflection. This midday exercise is designed to help this process along.

Ask yourself which aspects of your life you think you should change – your main projects and objectives, the way you behave towards other people, and how you think about yourself.

Emotional wellbeing: i fret too much about things i cannot change , like i said yesterday this thinking motor of mine does not seem to be able to be switched off. I could use some more emotional balance.

 

Discipline : It’s going well but i am prone to slacking, this means that discipline is a problem for me , that i have to change

 

The way i behave towards other people ,

I attack when i feel attack , i don’t behave very well when i feel cornered or lied to, the idea that someone would do stuff like that to another human being baffles and takes me by surprise every time . I need to grow more compassion and try to see that most people react from a place of hurt ,  i not only have to become Nicer , but behave nicer aswell , more in tune with the Loving attitude that i aspire to give. I think stoic thinking can give me the tools to contemplate before i react. To shut up when i need to shut up and to speak when i need to speak. I know people say , count to 10 , well i need to count to 20 or so lol

 

How i think about myself:

Self Doubt , i doubt myself a lot , that makes me vulnerable to not assessing situations for what they are , i act out of panic and make wrong decisions , i don’t think so much of myself , everybody else is more important than me. But on the other hand i can get very upset when not treated well. And i often don’t understand that people mean well , or not.

 

What is needed to bring about this change? Is it a change in your life-situation – and if so, is it something that can be changed, bearing in mind your earlier commitments (which you may still see as important)? Or is it a more internal change, relating to attitudes and ideals?

It’s a more internal change , a deep constructive change that is less relying on outside circumstances and how others think of me. I am doing good in that area but it can always be better. From caring what others think , to not giving a ..there must be something in the middle , something more balanced , more serene.

 

Ask yourself if you are really committed to change or if this is just a passing phase or mood. Without a firm commitment, there will be no change but with it possible courses of action will open up. Think more specifically about the very first step you would like to take, and also about the ultimate goal in this process.

For a few years now i have been studying to conquer certain aspects of my personality, to cultivate compassion and to try to understand how i can be a better person , yes i am very committed , and yes , i already made the first step by realising we are all connected and compassion and love are worth learning to the benefit of the greater good

 

Stoic week day 1

16 okt

“What is beyond my control is indifferent to me.”

Very confronting , but that’s what i am here for , i worry too much , i will reflect on this and on how my life has been going till now.

 

Practice writing down reflections on your life as a whole, what your core values are, and how consistent your current way of life is with your ideals.

1.Faith in a better future: My faith in a better future is sometimes crushed by reality but i will never give up believing in it even if it hurts even to breathe sometimes.

2.Want to  Discipline and train the mind to gain knowledge, a strong will and serenity. And to gain Wisdom. : Reading has helped a lot in that area , gaining understanding requires a lot of insight that we cannot just gather from observing each other , we need the background information of thousands of people before us , they shared their words , worries , angst and solutions with us. For a society to stagnate all one has to do is to prevent people from reading. Now i have the patience for it , i read and write more than ever , maybe , maybe one day i will be wiser aswell , but then , the learning never stops , i hope it never stops , i am doing great in that area

3.Discipline and train the body to develop and maintain health: A healthy mind in a healthy body , certainly goes for a Jedi , to be of service requires a body that is able to deal with that , not that someone in a wheelchair cannot be of service because they can , off course , i think the most important thing is that we keep our body as healthy as we can so we are not distracted by our limitations or overtaken by them but rather incorporate them into our being as we are all flawed , be it physically or mentally. I do well in this area , i have a good routine going and i am much more resilient , sad maybe and cry a lot , but still very resilient. Discipline and train the body to be able to serve within my abilities and with my limitations

4.Respect life : I respect life in all its forms , that does not mean i don’t eat chicken , i love chicken , poor chicken , but i love salad and vegetables more 😉

5.Strive to achieve balance in all areas of life.: Owgodyes , this needs a lot of improvement , i let my emotions and worries get the better of me , it just keeps going round and round in my head and i cannot change any of it , not good , i need to grow indifferent to what i cannot change so i can put all my passion ( love) into the things i can achieve and change

6.Protect and serve the innocent and weak: Yes as much as i can, need some stoic here aswell though , i can get rather passionate when i defend the weak

7.Create a Humble demeanor to be of service for the greater good. See above , same problem , i am not very humble , i have to learn this , i think the stoic lifestyle is one of humbleness without thinking too much about being humble , i very much like to master that skill.

8.Cultivate  compassion and patience toward others as well as the self. Working on it , could do with a bit more compassion , mainly for the self , i can be rock hard for myself and thus for others , not nice , i am not nice lol

Now, try to sum up what you think is most important and worthwhile in a human life, what you would like your life or any life to have at its core. What are the things that, above all, make for happiness or misery?

Love : we need more of it , everywhere , love makes happiness , even if you are in a miserable state , to love yourself and others makes it better , and better to endure

Perseverance: Just do what you love and persevere , keep going , a path is meant to be rocky it’s fine , i tell myself this all the time when i cry myself to sleep

Compassion: is very important , i am learning this the hard way , i should have been compassionate and not so judgmental , the Universe is showing me this. I will persevere in this. I think this will bring emotional balance as well.

 

“What is beyond my control is indifferent to me.”

Now for my reflection. You love and you learn is the saying , and it is better to love than to not love even if it hurts like hell , so to become so indifferent to what is beyond my control will take a lot of effort but i feel i am already going there. I think my goal should be that i don’t fret over things that i cannot change and thus create more space and energy for the things that i can change. I cannot make people do stuff , but i can do my stuff to make this world a better place. Even if things don’t go my way i can still make the best of it. This takes perseverance and serenity , two things that keep popping up in my head when i think of all the things that go wrong that i cannot do shit about.  It’s hard , you want to scream from the top of your lungs and lunge and kick and cry , and it’s all useless. So i need to transform that energy into something that is beneficial. Create a better emotional balance. Something that is of service to others without being inconsiderate to the Self. Love myself , and let others love me. I am here….that is a start.

May the Force be with you ❤

Gratitude

7 okt

Gratitude is an essential part of survival , without gratitude negative feelings set in and we feel we dont get what we deserve, The thing is though, we dont deserve anything, nobody owes us anything. So why not be grateful? I am grateful for my foul mood yesterday. Does that make sense? Yes it does , instead of heading home and cocooning i could be there for people who need me. I have lost so much in life. but i have gained aswell , i did not deserve either. I did not deserve what was given to me , and i did not deserve so much to be taken. But i deserve to be grateful, and content and at peace.

Tomorrow we have a gathering for Derrel , he has been taken from us last year and he is dearly missed. I am grateful for having known him. It will be the first time i go to Pepperplus again in almost a year , Derrel you were so right about so many things and wrong just as many times. I promised you something you asked me in your deepest of pain,you wanted me to look after your girls , could have warned me there were so many loll ,  and i was hesitant ( when i stroked your hair i saw you look at me and smile and we just looked in eachothers eyes , no words needed ) , but now my life has come to a grinding halt in so many aerias , its time to built on that promise , it is safe with me. She is safe with me and i am safe with her. Maybe we will never find peace , but we dont have to look for it alone! May the Force be with you Derrel, i know where you are 😉

 

I have learned a lot. Nobody could ever imagine what happened after he died. I completely fucked up , ….everything. From being up there to all the way down here.

 

I fell from Grace , and you know what …Fuck Grace , she is a bitch for holding me up so long and protecting me against the pain. Now it came all at once. The heartache , the confusion , the pain…everything in one year. I feel like i have been hit by a truck sometimes. How am i doing ? Ah well , seeing the circumstances ? Great ..

Am i still in pain and restless ? Sure , but i am just continuing my studies , just putting one foot in front of the other. One of Derrels apprentices is a key part in my life right now and we are learning from eachother , as i am no longer a Knight and she is no longer an Apprentice , no master , no apprentice. Just friends holding eachother high and being there.

My routines are going awesome , although i notice i am beginning to slack on the meditatons , hmm not good because those do me a world of good. Gym is going fine. Reading is awefull again loll , but i will catch up one day.

Tomorrow is a day to be grateful , like today is

May the Force be with you ❤meneer_niemeijer_van-voren-648x864

Artwork : MijnheerNiemeijervanvoren by Petra Fenijn