I’m not a religious person. My mother is, and I totally respect her views.
The only Gods I believe in are the ones I have to eventually destroy in video games. But even though I don’t believe in a typical religion, and I consider myself a hard atheist, I do understand the value of faith. The value of belief.
Perhaps not the things science can’t eventually prove to be true, but most certainly, the power and bond from following the idea of something.
Although it’s just after the middle of Winter here in Sydney, it seems that I’ve come out of hibernation early. My entire world right now is in chaos, and although what’s going on in my life is too deep to share on this platform, rest for me is assured not to be restful. There’s just so many things going on. They’re mostly good things, but there are many things.
Taking a brief moment to pause and ponder about my next steps caused me to subconsiously dig up an old memory.
In my childhood home, my mother hung up a framed picture with a quote on it (behind the toilet door, no less. Probably why I can remember it so well). It was a religious quote. It read:
God, grand me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.– Reinhold Neibuhr
Powerful stuff. Although if you asked me what it meant as a child, while relieving myself on the toilet in my childhood home I’d tell you; I have no idea.
This quote that I’ve read thousands of times with no religious bias whatsoever is perhaps the reason why I’ve gravitated towards Stoicism as a life philosophy for so long.
One of the core ideas the great Stoics practice is the idea that no matter what is going on around you, or no matter what happens to you; there are only two things that truly matter in life – the things within your control, and how you control them. The things you cannot change, and the things you can.
Self-control and fortitude. The idea that the things that are outside your control don’t matter – why worry about something when you can’t do anything about it? Why waste your energy? And for the things you can control or have an influence over? Remove yourself from ego and emotion and think rationally, without anger, bias or judgement.
Sometimes I get caught up in the heat of the moment with things and priorities thrown at me at 1000 miles an hour wizzing by my head like a bullet shot from a gun. Sometimes its hard to sort the wheat from the chaff, to find the calm from the chaos. But it’s there…
You just have to slow down and remember to care only about the things that truly matter.