Inner peace? Where did I begin?
I stumbled across Stoicism one night in the depths of my depression when I couldn’t sleep, had read all the Wikipedia articles that existed about killer whales, and could not get my body to a point where it would accept the restful state that it needed. I had just lost my job, was going through a stalking case in court with my ex-boyfriend, and was recently let go by my soulmate. As I lay in my bed for the 37th hour, my dry eyes burning to the point of tears, staring at the bright white iPhone screen in my black room and contemplating any possible purpose to live even one more day, I Googled “help i’m depressed.”
An article appeared in the results, and one of the 10 suggestions that showed up on the page was to investigate Stoicism and deal with depression by differentiating between those things which I can control and those things which I cannot.
I began by reading William Irvine’s “pop culture” stoicism book A Guide to the Good Life [the ancient art of stoic joy]. It was the right thing to read at the time. I investigated the 3 main Stoic sources we have today (Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius) and purchased readable translations of Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic and Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Seneca’s Letters and Aurelius’ Meditations often led me to feel peaceful and soothed in my times of turmoil, but what struck me was that I had been soothed by reason. By thinking rationally, I had found some peace.
I then purchased a book called Stoic Serenity: A Practical Course on Finding Inner Peace by Keith Seddon. This final book will be my textbook as I embark on a more methodical journey into the Stoic philosophy, and it’s where I begin.