You Have to Fight

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.

This week’s selection came from Seneca in Providence . He asks why we waste our energy on complaints when we are destined to face difficulties:

“Therefore, everything must be patiently endured, because events do not fall on our way, as we imagine, but occur according to the usual law. It has long been decided what you should rejoice in and what to cry, and although the lives of individuals seem to be different from each other in many details, nevertheless the total amount comes down to the same thing: we will soon perish, and the gifts we receive will soon perish. “.

Pay particular attention to this section:

“Why, then, should we be angry? Why should we lament? We are ready for our fate: let nature dispose of her body as she wants; let us rejoice in what is happening and firmly reflect on the fact that it is not something of ours that is perishing. What is the duty of a good person? Surrender to fate: This is a great consolation. To be swept away together with the entire universe: whatever law is imposed on us, that this is how we should live, which means that we should die, is entrusted to the gods. “

What does it mean

Everything that happens to us in life – good or bad – must be experienced, because this is the nature of our universe. Disasters are built into reality. To exist, there is no other choice but to endure the struggle created by the ever-changing world around us. These are the same difficulties that others have faced before, over and over again. What will make you happy and sad is the same thing that has influenced people since the beginning of humanity. You may think that you are different, but this is not true. You will fight, you will die, and all the material items that you have accumulated will no longer be yours.

These things are known and non-negotiable, so why be upset? Why waste time and energy complaining about things that cannot be changed? Be happy that you have the gift of life, but remember that none of yours is lost when you die. Our bodies belong to nature, so you must be ready to reclaim yours when the time comes. Take this as your destiny. Find comfort in this. You must live and die according to the nature of our universe. Only the gods could change the rules.

What to take from there

If you are struggling right now, know that you are simply doing your duty as a living being in this world. Live means fight. A hungry animal seeks food, a thirsty plant hopes and reaches for the rain, a metal beam fights gravity to carry a lot of weight, and a struggling person overcomes the challenge before him. This is our reality and it cannot be changed. So, try to catch yourself when you complain, when you cry with anger, when you pout and wonder if anyone else has this as bad as you do. Some have it, and many have worse. Save the energy wasted in emotional turmoil and use it to find your way forward.

So this concept – “fight is natural” – is not meant to be oppressive or to say that life is nothing more than a tedious pursuit of unhappy experiences. This idea is meant to liberate and comfort. You are not cursed, you are not overwhelmed and unable to weather the storm. So, you are faced with a difficult task – overcome it, like everyone else, like everything else. Of course, this is easier said than done, but if everything was simple and pleasant, we would be gods, not people.


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