Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Bertrand Russell
My son got a book for Christmas “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday. I was looking for a new book to read before bed and pulled out “A Guide To The Good Life” the ancient art of stoic joy by William B. Irvine.
When I checked on Amazon “The Daily Stoic” was on sale so I quickly bought it and to my joy, it arrived yesterday. It is 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living. I was able to catch up so I am on the right day today.
I love daily meditation and wisdom books. The book of Proverbs in the bible is full of wisdom and someone recommended reading it as a monthly meditation. There are so many books of wisdom and we can access them easily. We have the opportunity to read what the great thinkers have written. How blessed we are.
When the stoics were around in Greece and Rome there’s was not the only philosophy of life. In fact, reading last night Seneca’s brother Gallio is mentioned in Acts 18: 12-16. Even if someone only looked at the Bible as a philosophy of life it is a good one. One of the big secrets in life is there is no secret, no hidden information only open to a few that keeps the rest of us from living the good life. There may be hidden information only a few know but it may be hidden in plain sight.
What is a good life? Is it a virtuous life, a meditative life, a loving life, a forgiving life, a joyful life, an active life, a life pursuing our dreams and goals? From what I understand the Stoics believed in all this and they also believed we should be as happy when things are going well for us as when they aren’t. Joy is a state of mind, happiness comes from within and our circumstances don’t make us a better or worse person. Our thoughts, our actions, and our beliefs color our lives but who we are and who we can become is not set in who we were born to, the circumstances of our birth, our bank balance, or social standing.
Today as always these are important truths to instill in our children and to embrace ourselves. We have thousands of years of wisdom to build our lives on, we have philosophies and belief systems to choose from, and if we choose wisely they probably all lead to the good life.
The best reason for adopting a philosophy of life is that if we lack one, there is a danger that we will mislive. William Ervine
The thing that draws us to people who we see living the good life is their good life. We want what they have; we want a strong character, faith in ourselves, and humanity. Haven’t we all seen faces filled with joy, not someone preaching their faith but living it, and we know they have something that sustains them not because they tell us they do, but because it is evident in their lives?
We may not be willing to do what they do to have what they have, but we can at least recognize they have it. No one I know who has what I’m talking about is keeping their beliefs or practices a secret. Some want to push their belief system on us without us asking, and the reason they do this is that they think if we knew what they know, what it has done for them, we would get on board.
Envying people with belief systems and faith is a bit like envying the fit person. We know what it would take to be fit but we aren’t doing what needs to be done and until we decide we are willing to do it, we only look on. If we decide to embrace exercise and fitness often we are now willing to tell everyone what a difference it has made in our lives and wonder why we didn’t do it earlier. What we thought would be too hard to do, becomes easy as the rewards are so great.
I believe there are many roads to the good life. There may be trails, that lead to paths, leading to roads, leading to the good life.” We may think we have found “The Way” at points in our lives and find our thinking changes and we embrace something else, a different religion, a new way of thinking, acting, and carrying ourselves in the world. One thing I believe is “We will be known by our fruit.” If we have a philosophy of life be it a religion, practice, or belief if it is good our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will benefit from it.
How great is it to know that the good life is open to all of us? We get to choose it, search for what will lead us to it, and practice it. It isn’t the circumstances in our life, or who our parents are, or how impressed others are with us. This is open to all of us, the great and the small.
The good life comes with a price, as does everything in life. We reap what we sow, and if we don’t like what we’ve been reaping we need to plant a new crop to reap a new harvest.
To live a good life: We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference. Marcus Aurelius
A good character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness. Seneca
We are not given a good life or a bad life. We are given a life. It’s up to us to make it good or bad. Ward Foley
Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.
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