“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” ~ J.R.R Tolkien
My interpretation: The world is ruled by both karma and chaos, and since we cannot control everything, we should focus on the power that we do have, and use our time in the wisest manner possible.
“Yet is it far better to light the candle than to curse the darkness.” ~ William L Watkinson
My interpretation: No matter how bad circumstances are, or how much you would like to complain about the world, doing something positive, no matter how small, will always be the better choice.
“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” ~ Victor Hugo
My interpretation: Just as the sun rises again every morning to cast its light and warmth back into the world, so shall our times of darkness and despair pass. All because you cannot see the light right now, it does not mean that it is gone for good. Hold on a little longer and have faith!
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
My interpretation: A key principle of stoicism is learning to accept the external factors in our lives with minimal resistance, whilst focussing on what we do have control over—our mind. The more we do this, the more resilient we will become, and the more we will be able to flow throughout life with relative ease.
“This too shall pass.” ~ Persian Adage
My interpretation: This old saying is an extremely useful one when going through difficult or troubling times and is almost always true. The mind has the tendency to lie to us about the transient nature of negative feelings, emotions, and beliefs, and what may seem like a never-ending thunderstorm, is really just a passing cloud with a rainbow on the other side.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr
My interpretation: This quote is known as the Serenity Prayer, and is a profoundly simple yet wise piece of advice, which is applicate to many situations in life. When things can be changed we may require courage to overcome any fear that is holding us back, but other times simply accepting the situation is the best response. One could argue that acceptance also requires courage.
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