It’s very rarely you come across a philosopher whose words of wisdom are practical and actionable.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca is one such great writer who cares for the mortal man and his actions.
I have been reading ‘Light from Many Lamps’ by Lillian Eichler Watson. Seneca was one of the first persons I thought I should read.
I was intrigued by his practical philosophy inspired by Ryan Holiday, William Irvine, Tim Ferriss, Oliver Burkeman.
‘Be content with what you have’ — is Seneca’s best told secret to happiness. Interestingly, Lillian writes that there is similar truth in other philosophers like Aesop’s Fables, Cicero, Epictetus.
Like any other philosopher, Seneca preached against selfishness, greed and pride and suggested courage, moderation and self-control. I took 3 key lessons as ideas for happiness from Seneca.
It’s one of undermined key to success. It is as simply as one’s sincerity to complete a job. Seneca preaches that one of the secret to happiness is do one’s work/ duty – to do the best – towards God and man.
This puts me in questioning, what is my duty?
I have duty as an employer, as a husband, as a father and son, and contributing member of the society. I should sincerely with all its honesty to perform my duty with utmost sincerity.
Seneca suggests that the secret lies not to dwell upon the past, nor be anxious of the fears and hopes of the future.
It’s in enjoying the present. To live in the moment.
Almost every philosopher has been proposing this. For life comes in moments not as a whole. It’s in our thinking that it comes as such that we feel overwhelmed. He suggest to enjoy the present
All is within, in one’s mind, writes Seneca.
It is about the ability to maintain ‘equanimity’ that Buddha preaches. It’s the ability not to be elevated by good fortune, neither to be depressed by bad fortune. Maintain the pose. There are thing you can control and there those you cannot. Accept life as it comes. There is contentment there.
Epicurus suggest add nothing to your riches, but remove something from one’s desires. It is in subtraction that peace is. It’s hard to accept it, but I think only by experience, one can understand. I am in that experience.
I guess the current generation we have been fed with the false sense of control and greatness to influence almost everything. We can, but we do have limits. It is the ability to appreciate our limits and to work within it with whatever idea we have is the best. Take one step at a time.
Despite the oldness of the writing, the freshness of the message is undeniable. Let yourself not be spoiled by the flirting pleasures of life, but aim for the long lasting peace and tranquility – one moment at a time.