These are notes on my readings from letters of the Stoic master Seneca. Very helpful if you work in high stress environments. Adding a link to the whole PDF book here —
Volume 1 - The Tao of Seneca.pdf
#1 – On Saving Time
- Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time.
- Gather and save your time, which till lately has been forced from you, or lched away, or has merely slipped from your hands.
- Make yourself believe the truth of my words—that certain moments are torn from us, that some are gently removed, and that others glide beyond our reach. The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness.
- You will find that the largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill, a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purpose.
- Whatever years be behind us are in death’s hands.
#4 – On the Terrors of Death
- Doubtless you will derive enjoyment during the time when you are improving your mind and setting it at peace with itself; but quite di erent is the pleasure which comes from contemplation when one’s mind is so cleansed from every stain that it shines.
- For it is not boyhood that still stays with us, but something worse—boyishness. Boys fear tri es, children fear shadows, we fear both.
- No man can have a peaceful life who thinks too much about lengthening it, or believes that living through many consulships is a great blessing. Rehearse this thought every day, that you may be able to depart from life contentedly; for many men clutch and cling to life, even as those who are carried down a rushing stream clutch and cling to briars and sharp rocks.
- They are unwilling to live, and yet they do not know how to die. Therefore, encourage and toughen your spirit against the mishaps that a ict even the most powerful.
- Think of those who have perished through plots in their own home, slain either openly or by guile; you will that just as many have been killed by angry slaves as by angry kings. What matter, therefore, how powerful he be whom you fear, when every one possesses the power which inspires your fear?
- Take my word for it: since the day you were born you are being led thither. We must ponder this thought, and thoughts of the like nature, if we desire to be calm as we await that last hour, the fear of which makes all previous hours uneasy.
- “Poverty brought into conformity with the law of nature, is great wealth.” Do you know what limits that law of nature ordains for us? Merely to avert hunger, thirst, and cold.
- In order to banish hunger and thirst, it is not necessary for you to pay court at the doors of the purse-proud, or to submit to the stern frown, or to the kindness that humiliates; nor is it necessary for you to scour the seas, or go campaigning; nature’s needs are easily provided and ready to hand.