Protect Your Mind As Much As Your Body
Welcome back to Mid-Week Meditations , Lifehacker’s weekly dip in the pool of stoic wisdom and a guide to using its waters to meditate and improve your life.
The choice this week belongs to Epictetus at Enchiridion (28) . He asks why we don’t value protecting our minds as much as protecting our bodies:
“If a person gave your body to any stranger they met on their way, you would probably be angry. And don’t you feel ashamed of letting your own mind be bewildered and bewildered by anyone who verbally attacks you? “
Here’s another version:
“If a man gave his body to a passer-by, you would be furious. However, you transfer your mind to anyone who comes so that he can offend you, leaving him alarmed and worried – aren’t you ashamed of that?
What does it mean
This question, which Epictetus asks, takes the form of a mini-thought experiment. If you walked and someone would take your body and do whatever they wanted with it, you would be pissed off, wouldn’t you? Thus, you are doing your best to prevent people from touching, grabbing or moving your body unless you authorize it.
But for some reason, we usually don’t use such strong defenses when it comes to our minds. We transfer our minds to everyone and everything that happens, be it an advertisement, a politician, a social media post, the news, or just a stranger who wants to humiliate us and disrupt our day. Doesn’t it bother you?
What to take from there
There are so many things that distract us, confuse us, make us doubt ourselves, anger us, and push us in a direction we never intended to go. This is because we allowed it to happen. We prefer to let these things in and influence us, and this is the unshakable foundation of Stoicism itself.
Of course, just blocking everything is not easy. To do this, we must fight our own instincts and biology. However, we can all protect our minds a little more. Every day, think about how you can protect yourself from the relentless onslaught of persuasion. Learn to recognize what an attack on your mind looks like – from something insignificant, such as undue distraction, to something larger, such as a villainous acquaintance – and say to yourself once a day, “No, I won’t let that happen.” Just as you would strike an unwanted hand trying to grab your body, drop the intrusion into your mind.
Your body and mind are the only two things you will always own as long as you are alive and consistent. No matter what, you always need them, as they are your two most valuable possessions. Why not protect them equally?
You can read the entire Enkhiridion for free here .