“This is the very thing which makes up the virtue of the happy person and a well-flowing life — when the affairs of life are in every way tuned to the harmony between the individual divine spirit and the will of the director of the universe.”CHRYSIPPUS, QUOTED IN DIOGENES LAERTIUS, LIVES OF THE EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS, 7.1.88
In Chrysippus’ quote from today’s page in the Daily Stoic, he mentions a “divine spirit” and “the director of the universe”, which both seem to be euphemisms for God. However, author Ryan Holiday helps us understand that it’s less about any particular god, and more about acknowledging that there’s a higher power that we need to accede to.
Holiday uses analogies from 12-step addiction programs, to help us understand that when we admit there’s “a Power greater than ourselves”, it really kind of sets us free. The key to a lot of self-work and inner growth is letting go. And it’s kind of hard to let go when we keep convincing ourselves that we’re in control.
The sooner we can concede that we are not in control, that we are not the director of our universe, the sooner we can be free and receive back that wasted energy. Giving up control is hard, but it’s the key to so much growth that comes after.
Especially at this point in human history, it’s natural and common to say “There is no God, and I make my own destiny.” That’s something that a previous version of me would have said, before I started studying the wisdom of the stoics.
And I’m not saying you have to start believing in God. But as soon as you admit that you don’t actually make your own destiny, and that you don’t have that control you crave, then you can start living the rest of your life with happiness and peace. And you can finally let go, and align your will with that of the universe.