Cultivating a Healthy Indifference

What do you worry about and why?

Why be bothered by any thing or any one when, to quote Marcus Aurelius:

Soon you will have forgotten all things, and soon, all things will have forgotten you.

Plot out your current arguments, problems, worries, and woes on a long-enough timeline, and they will cease to exist eventually.

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

No one ever taught me how not to worry. Looking back on my formative years, I lacked any measure of instruction on how not to be bothered. Instead, I was taught about all the things I needed to worry about.

How good were my grades. Should I pick another elective? Do I need more extra-curricular activities? What major should I pursue? Who do I need to associate with to get where I want?

1,800 years ago, Marcus Aurelius sagely noted that every person will die, and any records of any person’s personal or public achievements will turn to dust. So what, really, is there to worry about? Why be bothered by any person’s opinion of who you are or what you do? Their opinion will only last as long as their heart beats.

The word “bother” derives from the Irish bodhairim, meaning, “I deafen”. Not ignore. Not unacknowledged. Not disagreeing with.

To say you are not bothered by what someone says, you mean you literally cannot hear a word. Your indifference is a matter of fact because the words never enter your consciousness.

You will get upset with people. You will get upset with how things are, and how you think things should be. These are perfectly normal reactions, but you can choose to respond to your initial reactions with a healthy indifference, with a deaf ear.

Does this mean to ignore your obligations? No. Do what you need to do, as that is your duty in this life, but you need not be bothered while walking the path you have chosen.