When you’re going to do something, keep the full nature of the activity in mind. If you’re going to a show, picture the way people behave at the theater – pushing, cutting in on lines, arriving late, talking. You’ll be better off if you say to yourself, “I’m going to see this show and I’m going to keep my attitudes under control.” And so with everything you do. Then if anything gets in the way of your enjoyment of the show, for example, you can say: “My goal wasn’t just to see this show, but to keep my attitudes under control, and I won’t keep them that way if I get irritated at what happens.”
When you are on the point of putting your hand to some undertaking, remind yourself what the nature of that undertaking is. If you are going out of the house to bathe, put before your mind what happens at a public bath—those who splash you with water, those who jostle against you, those who vilify you and rob you. And thus you will set about your undertaking more securely if at the outset you say to yourself, “I want to take a bath, and, at the same time, to keep my moral purpose in harmony with nature.” And so do in every undertaking. For thus, if anything happens to hinder you in your bathing, you will be ready to say, “Oh, well, this was not the only thing that I wanted, but I wanted also to keep my moral purpose in harmony with nature; and I shall not so keep it if I am vexed at what is going on.”
When you are about to take something in hand, remind yourself what manner of thing it is. If you are going to bathe put before your mind what happens in the bath—water pouring over some, others being jostled,. some reviling, others stealing; and you will set to work more securely if you say to yourself at once: ‘I want to bathe, and I want to keep my will in harmony with nature,’ and so in each thing you do; for in this way, if anything turns up to hinder you in your bathing, you will be ready to say, ‘I did not want only to bathe, but to keep my will in harmony with nature, and I shall not so keep it, if I lose my temper at what happens’.
When you are going to take in hand any act, remind yourself what kind of an act it is. If you are going to bathe, place before yourself what happens in the bath: some splashing the water, others pushing against one another, others abusing one another, and some stealing: and thus with more safety you will undertake the matter, if you say to yourself, I now intend to bathe, and to maintain my will in a manner conformable to nature. And so you will do in every act: for thus if any hindrance to bathing shall happen, let this thought be ready; it was not this only that I intended, but I intended also to maintain my will in a way conformable to nature; but I shall not maintain it so, if I am vexed at what happens.
When you are about to take in hand some action, bethink yourself what it really. Is that you are about to do If you propose to go to the bath, represent to yourself all the things that take place at the bathing establishment, the squirting of water, the beating, the bad language, the theft. And after this fashion you will take the matter more safely in hand if you say I intend simply to bathe, and to maintain my purpose according to Nature. And similarly with every action. For thus if anything’ should occur to cross you in your bathing, you will instantly think I did not only intend to bathe, but also that my purpose should be maintained according to Nature. But it will not be so maintained lf I let myself be vexed at what occurs.
When you set about any action, remind yourself of what nature the action is. If you are going to bathe, represent to yourself the incidents usual in the bath, - some persons pouring out, others pushing in, others scolding, others pilfering. And thus you will more safely go about this action, if you say to yourself, ” I will now go to bathe, and keep my own will in harmony with nature.” And so with regard to every other action. For thus, if any impediment arises in bathing, you will be able to say, “It was not only to bathe that I desired, but to keep my will in harmony with nature; and I shall not keep it thus, if I am out of humor at things that happen.”
When you are going about any action, remind yourself what nature the action is. If you are going to bathe, 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.” And in the same manner with regard to every other action. 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; and I will not keep it if I am bothered at things that happen.
Ὅταν ἅπτεσθαί τινος ἔργου μέλλῃς, ὑπομίμνῃσκε σεαυτόν, ὁποῖόν ἐστι τὸ ἔργον. ἐὰν λουσόμενος ἀπίῃς, πρόβαλλε σεαυτῷ τὰ γινόμενα ἐν βαλανείῳ, τοὺς ἀποῤῥαίνοντας, τοὺς ἐγκρουομένους, τοὺς λοιδοροῦντας, τοὺς κλέπτοντας. καὶ οὕτως ἀσφαλέστερον ἅψῃ τοῦ ἔργου, ἐὰν ἐπιλέγῃς εὐθὺς ὅτι «λούσασθαι θέλω καὶ τὴν ἐμαυτοῦ προαίρεσιν κατὰ φύσιν ἔχουσαν τηρῆσαι». καὶ ὡσαύτως ἐφ’ ἑκάστου ἔργου. οὕτω γὰρ ἄν τι πρὸς τὸ λούσασθαι γένηται ἐμποδών, πρόχειρον ἔσται διότι «ἀλλ’ οὐ τοῦτο ἤθελον μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν ἐμαυτοῦ προαίρεσιν κατὰ φύσιν ἔχουσαν τηρῆσαι: οὐ τηρήσω δέ, ἐὰν ἀγανακτῶ πρὸς τὰ γινόμενα».