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On the Shortness of Life by Seneca

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On the Shortness of Life by Seneca

Doing for the sake of just doing, doing for the sake of proving, doing for the sake to satisfy others, doing just for the sake of enjoying or doing for the sake of learning, and evolving the self. These are the factors which mostly decide our actions and lead us to a destination that could be either heaven or hell for us. Our life is very delicate and that’s something which could either our strengths or our weaknesses and this is eventually decided by the way we look at things, accept, observe, analyse, and interpret it. We have to be very alert while seeing and ignoring anything that comes into the radar of our consciousness because that is the exact place where either we keep something in our brain as a memory for lifetime or reject for the same too.

Life is short if we don’t know how to use and it’s long enough too to do or to experience that is most important to us if we understand how to use it as well. For that reason, we will have to be selective in everything, every book we read, music that we listen, every film we watch, every place we visit, every person we spend time with, every thought we think of. In short, we have to be selective in everything either we are associated with or we be associating in coming time. There are so many things to experience. So many places to go, so many people to meet, so many things to see, and things to do that we couldn’t possibly do all in one lifetime. That’s why we have to make the most out of it and select the best times, the best people, the best places, the best things of things and the best experiences so that we can live the best of life.

Eating, drinking, marrying, bearing children and just passing time are not the only meaning of life. In the physical sense or in materialistic way, it is well and good to fulfill all these aspects of our physical needs. But we also must know the fact that human being is made up of body, mind and soul and along with physical needs we must fulfill the needs of mind and soul too. By only doing this we get to the station of mindfulness and tranquility where we can bring out the real self of us and feel free, free of all rituals, customs, cultures, traditions, belief systems and the conditioning of our mind.

We can enjoy more if we prioritise soulful deeds along with day to day physical and mental activities because our soul is our life supportive system. If we don’t satisfy its needs and always do whatever our senses say us to do then we will be happy just for a moment afterwards we lose our inner calmness and make karmas which bind us with this universe permanently. Anything we do to boost our ego then we become the slave of our mind and then again and again we commit same mistakes and find yourself in a never ending vicious loop.

Greed and lust seem very attractive at the start but after a point of time a person loses attraction in his life, this is the fact and we should be dependent to materialism as less as we can because a time comes when we don’t need popularity, respect, branded stuffs, costly and spicy foods, parties, crowds, sounds and noises, fake friends, fake relationships, fake repetition, representation or imitation but what you need the most are genuinity, truth, honesty, peace of mind, solitude, mental and spiritual satisfaction, no longings and above of you need neutrality. You want to be neutral just like a devotee who forgets himself in the process of devotion. You got to be that, that is the way to that can make you meet to your truest self to which you have never met before but acted like you have met him. Those books help you to come out of that delusional idea of self actualisation and make you explore the true self by following the path oneness.

In this book, he talks about how we should view everything as taken on loan from fortune, and never think of ourselves as owners of that stuff, and how to keep a distance so that fortune is able to gently take back and not tear away everything that was given to us by fortune itself. He also talks about not being worried or ashamed of poverty, misfortune, disease and death as these are nothing but a cycle that every living has go through.

It’s a thin book that tops the list of Penguin books of great ideas. Seneca was a philosopher for whom the issue of wealth and richest took central stage in his writings. How can a so called Stoic philosopher at one point be one of the richest people in the Roman Empire? This paradox alone makes Seneca one of the most fascinating figures from antiquity and worth studying.