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Monday, May 24, 2010

Know How to be Abased, and How to Abound

Every life has its ups and downs, the flux symbolized by the "Wheel of Fortune" (the medieval symbol, not the game show--although that has ups and downs, too!)

Knowing how to handle both conditions is an essential Secret of Happiness.

The Christian apostle Paul put it well when he wrote to the Philippians: "I have learned to be content in whatever state I'm in. I know both how to be abased, and how to abound; I have been instructed every where and in all things both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

This same sentiment was voiced by the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca, who said, "Happy is the man who can endure the highest and lowest fortune. He who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity has deprived misfortune of its power."

How to achieve such a state? Paul attributed his strength to Christ, a "higher power." Seneca's stoic philosophy sought to attain equanimity through "moral and intellectual perfection."

Either way, the goal is to set one's eyes on the prize, not being ruffled by setbacks and successes, but always aiming at something higher.

That's it. Learn to accept the good with the bad.

You'll be happier.

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