We control our reasoned choice and all acts that depend on that moral will. What’s not under our control are the body and any of its parts, our possessions, parents, siblings, children, or country – anything with which we might associate.
Epictetus, Discourses, 1.22.10
Today’s question is what jerks me around?
My mind jerks me around.
It seeks to control my actions, not to be controlled by me.
I realize I must tame my mind, like one would train a wild stallion.
I cannot let my mind run free, nor let it be a force that controls my actions.
The only thing that I can control is my choices, my will and my mind and today, I let myself down.
My choices – after dinner, I ate too much, which will negatively impact my health and will be a waste of money if I don’t need the food.
My will – I spoke too severely to each of my sons this evening in different circumstances. What could have been teaching moments or good experiences were ruined. Why, because I took out my tiredness on them, instead of recognizing I was tired and not letting it impact how I treated them.
After the interactions with my boys, I felt horrible.
The main reason for Stoicism and for financial independence is to spend quality time with my family.
To do that, I have to take control of my mind at all times, which reminds me of a quote from Turning the Mind Into an Ally, by Sakyong Mipham:
The bewildered mind is like a wild horse. It runs away when we try to find it, shies when we try to approach it. If we find a way to ride it, it takes off with the bit in its teeth and finally throws us right into the mud. We think that the only way to steady it is to give it what it wants. We spend so much of our energy trying to satisfy and entertain this wild horse of a mind.
With an untrained mind, we’ll live most days of our lives at the mercy of our moods. Waking up in the morning is like gambling: “What mind did I end up with today? Is it the irritated mind, the happy mind, the anxious mind, the angry mind, the compassionate mind, or the loving mind?”