Command Yourself

Remember, that not he who gives ill language or a blow insults, but the principle which represents these things as insulting. When, therefore, anyone provokes you, be assured that it is your own opinion which provokes you. Try, therefore, in the first place, not to be hurried away with the appearance. For if you once gain time and respite, you will more easily command yourself. – Epictetus

Why is it that they say “fools rush in where angels fear to tread?” Quite simply: the more your function is aligned with truth, the less risk you have of being “hurried away with the appearance.”

Take time to consider this principle: the truth needs no defense. Once this principle is clearly understood, there is no longer need for either defensiveness or taking offense. That another is speaking or acting on the basis of misguided human opinion instead of truth is no cause for losing your composure. In fact, when such is the case it behooves you to remain calm and resist the temptation to judge by the appearance, all the while looking for a way to shine the light of truth compassionately upon the situation and those involved.

6 thoughts on “Command Yourself

  1. Kolya

    This is good to remember anytime that we feel ‘riled up,’ about what someone else is doing or indignant about what someone says or thinks about us. If we are more concerned about the truth and expressing what’s right ourselves, we will not be so concerned about what others are doing. We would be much more clever if we looked for ways to help vs ways to condemn or judge.

  2. Lady Leo

    As I was reading this post the words from your post a few days ago immediately sprang to mind, “It seemed so to him.” I was delighted for myself and appreciative for your daily posts. They are sometimes about or lead to the point of understanding that judgement in any of it’s guises is the poison pill for creative living. The habit of ensnaring our lives early on with this curse is so pervasive that it is thought to be wise, natural and even clever if we become good at it. The fact is if you read most ancient philosophy or many of the great leaders’ text they will consistently cite non judgement as the superior virtue. It’s not that living with out judgement is the pinnacle of achievement for mankind, we have a spectaular job to do on this Earth and we’ll never even scratch the surface of it while judgment hijacks our hearts.

  3. Joshua

    “The Truth needs no defence, it defends”
    When we are aligned with it, all the protection necessary Is provided, plus the added benefit of magically causing the defences of others to be lowered.
    Relax, my friend, nothing of value will be lost.

  4. Zach

    This is one thing that I have really had to learn as I grow older. Yes, there are times when immediate action is required, but they are few and far between, and are more likely to be about another’s well being than some reaction that I am having. When it comes to a situation where there is some emotional charge, but no life threatening reason to act, it is almost always wiser to take the time to let the situation settle in your heart.

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