Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Medication or Meditation? - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VII.56
Meditation VII.56 - Medication or Meditation? - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil
Consider yourself to be dead, and to have completed your life up to the present time; and live according to nature the remainder which is allowed you.(1)
(1) The Stoic lives ever and only in the present. The past is unalterable and irretrievable. To live in the present as if yesterday was still with us is both senseless and illogical. This is truth, and it is power. We do not need to plead for forgiveness or pray for redemption for our past wrongs. Those wrongs were a consequence of living contrary to nature. We redeem and forgive ourselves when we choose to live according to nature. Remember that this is a choice. We do not require the intercession of a divine power. We make this decision alone; we have this sovereign power alone. We do not need to pray for forgiveness; we forgive ourselves. We do not need to love God; we need to love ourselves because we are divine. The psychological distress, suffering, anxiety and depression associated with regret is a burden we need not carry with us if we let go of our past. If we have lived contrary to nature, we have behaved badly and illogically. We have exhibited neuroses. We have manifested pathological behaviors and "mental illnesses." We have sinned. How do you want to remedy these things? Will you choose to live according to nature, or will you internalize the religious label of "sinner" and accept religious punishment? Will you choose to live according to nature, or will you internalize a psychiatric label, embrace your "illness," pursue psychiatric counsel, and mask your pain with medication? What will it be - religious or chemical medication, or internal meditation?
Russell McNeil, PhD, is the author of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: Selections Annotated and Explained by Skylight Paths Publishing. The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book. The published selections are referenced in this Blog by page number and section.