Do not waste the remainder of thy life in thoughts about others, when thou dost not refer thy thoughts to some object of common utility. For thou losest the opportunity of doing something else when thou hast such thoughts as these—What is such a person doing, and why, and what is he saying, and what is he thinking of, and what is he contriving, and whatever else of the kind makes us wander away from the observation of our own ruling power.
‘We ought then to check in the series of our thoughts everything that is without a purpose and useless, but most of all the over-curious feeling and the malignant; and a man should use himself to think of those things only about which if one should suddenly ask, What hast thou now in thy thoughts? with perfect openness thou mightest immediately answer, This or That; so that from thy words it should be plain that everything in thee is simple and benevolent, and such as befits a social animal, and one that cares not for thoughts about pleasure or sensual enjoyments at all, nor has any rivalry or envy and suspicion, or anything else for which thou wouldst blush if thou shouldst say that thou hadst it in thy mind. For the man who is such, and no longer delays being among the number of the best, is like a priest and minister of the gods, using too the [deity] which is planted within him, which makes the man uncontaminated by pleasure, unharmed by any pain, untouched by any insult, feeling no wrong, a fighter in the noblest fight, one who cannot be overpowered by any passion, dyed deep with justice, accepting with all his soul everything which happens and is assigned to him as his portion; and not often, nor yet without great necessity and for the general interest, imagining what another says, or does, or thinks.
‘For it is only what belongs to himself that he makes the matter for his activity; and he constantly thinks of that which is allotted to himself out of the sum total of things, and he makes his own acts fair, and he is persuaded that his own portion is good. For the lot which is assigned to each man is carried along with him and carries him along with it.† And he remembers also that every rational animal is his kinsman, and that to care for all men is according to man’s nature; and a man should hold on to the opinion not of all, but of those only who confessedly live according to nature. But as to those who live not so, he always bears in mind what kind of men they are both at home and from home, both by night and by day, and what they are, and with what men they live an impure life. Accordingly, he does not value at all the praise which comes from such men, since they are not even satisfied with themselves.
What are you doing today to make your choices, and to allow for those ‘best’ things you have decided to work for you to come into fruition? Today, how are you coming alive?
Found this story in the Seattle Times.
The author’s childhood friend was aboard an airplane, one of those that was driven into the WorldTrade Center, etching the date 9/11 forever on the hearts of so many people. A terrorist attack with airplanes involved. I remember when I heard that news; I was in Ireland. It brought back difficult emotions from when I was ten, and the airplane Kanishka was brought down. Terrorists, that time, too. I wrote my feelings of losing my own childhood friend in that attack in my book, Kanishka.
But back to the Betty One tribute. I wanted to share a snippet from the story that really felt beautiful, to me:
‘The Campanile chimes as I’m giving the rest of the assignment. They know the story so they’ll share it: They’ll choose a friend and listen together. Then they’ll write the personal and the partnered experience. This teaches more than story, this magnifies experience and memory. I tell them they’re breaking a secret: they’re writing the intimacy, which becomes their own Betty Ong story.’ –Fae Myenne Ng
Writing our intimacy. I love that.
Here is the link to the full story.
Kismuth‘s values are
Kismuth is dedicated to the memory of A.
This post’s image is that of a sun dial, at the site of the Air India Disaster Memorial in Ahakista, West Cork, Ireland.
I made a visit to the Air India Disaster Memorial and wrote about what I felt when I saw my old friend’s name on the wall of names that is next to this sun dial.
I really took my time with this, and with writing the same scene for my book, Kanishka (Kismuth Books / 2015).
Time slows down sometimes such moments of confronting a past that could have been different, and a reality that is here and now.
Kanishka, like all of Kismuth‘s books, asks, ‘What about if?’
‘Kismuth’ means ‘destiny.’