the stoic driver

2015/06/15

Epictetus, the Stoic philosopher, said in his Handbook,

If you are going to bathe [at the public baths], picture to yourself the things which usually happen in the bath: some people splash the water, some push, some use abusive language, and others steal. Thus you will more safely go about this action if you say to yourself, “I will now go bathe, and keep my own mind in a state conformable to nature.” […] For thus, if any hindrance arises in bathing, you will have it ready to say, “It was not only to bathe that I desired, but to keep my mind in a state conformable to nature […]”

When I drive, I sometimes do not keep my mind in a state comformable to nature. I therefore composed this mantra:

I will now drive and keep a clear mind. People will drive slowly, erratically, and foolishly. I will not disturb myself when I see bad driving. I cannot control their driving, but I can control my mind.