With regard to everything that you enjoy, find useful, or love, keep their nature in mind, starting with the smallest things. If you have a favorite coffee cup, remember that it’s a cup; then if it’s broken, you can stand it. When you hug your child or your spouse, remember that it’s a mortal human being you’re hugging; then if that person dies, you can stand it.
With everything which entertains you, is useful, or of which you are fond, remember to say to yourself, beginning with the very least things, “What is its nature?” If you are fond of a jug, say, “I am fond of a jug”; for when it is broken you will not be disturbed. If you kiss your own child or wife, say to yourself that you are kissing a human being; for when it dies you will not be disturbed.
When anything, from the meanest thing upwards, is attractive or serviceable or an object of affection, remember always to say to yourself, ‘What is its nature?’ If you are fond of a jug, say you are fond of a jug; then you will not be disturbed if it be broken. If you kiss your child or your wife, say to yourself that you are kissing a human being, for then if death strikes it you will not be disturbed.
In everything which pleases the soul, or supplies a want, or is loved, remember to add this to the (description, notion): What is the nature of each thing, beginning from the smallest? If you love an earthen vessel, say it is an earthen vessel which you love; for when it has been broken, you will not be disturbed. If you are kissing your child or wife, say that it is a human being whom you are kissing, for when the wife or child dies, you will not be disturbed.
In the case of everything that allures the mind, or offers an advantage, or is beloved by you, remember, from the least thing upward, to think of it in its true nature. For instance, if you like an earthen jar, think I like an earthen jar, for so your mind will not be confounded if it should break. And if you love your child or your wife, think I love a mortal and so you will not be confounded when they die.
With regard to whatever objects either delight the mind, or contribute to use, or are tenderly beloved, remind yourself of what nature they are, beginning with the merest trifles: if you have a favorite cup, that it is but a cup of which you are fond, - for thus, if it is broken, you can bear it; if you embrace your child, or your wife, that you embrace a mortal, - and thus, if either of them dies, you can bear it.
With regard to whatever objects give you delight, are useful, or are deeply loved, remember to tell yourself of what general nature they are, beginning from the most insignificant things. If, for example, you are fond of a specific ceramic cup, remind yourself that it is only ceramic cups in general of which you are fond. Then, if it breaks, you will not be disturbed. If you kiss your child, or your wife, say that you only kiss things which are human, and thus you will not be disturbed if either of them dies.
Εφ’ ἑκάστου τῶν ψυχαγωγούντων ἢ χρείαν παρεχόντων ἢ στεργομένων μέμνησο ἐπιλέγειν, ὁποῖόν ἐστιν, ἀπὸ τῶν σμικροτάτων ἀρξάμενος: ἂν χύτραν στέργῃς, ὅτι «χύτραν στέργω». κατεαγείσης γὰρ αὐτῆς οὐ ταραχθήσῃ: ἂν παιδίον σαυτοῦ καταφιλῇς ἢ γυναῖκα, ὅτι ἄνθρωπον καταφιλεῖς: ἀποθανόντος γὰρ οὐ ταραχθήσῃ.