Of things that exist, some depend upon ourselves, others do not depend upon ourselves. Of things that depend upon ourselves are our opinions and impulses, desires and aversions, and, briefly, all that is of our own doing. Of things that do not depend upon ourselves are the body, possessions, reputation, civil authority, and, briefly, all that is not of our own doing.
And the things that depend upon ourselves are in their nature free, not liable to hindrance or embarrassment, while the things that do not depend upon ourselves are strengthless, servile, subject, alien.
Remember then, that if you take things which are by nature subject, to be free; and things alien to be your proper interest, you will be embarrassed, you will bewail yourself, you will be troubled, you will blame Gods and men. But if you consider that only to be yours which truly is so, and the alien as what it is, alien, then none shall ever compel you, none shall hinder you, you will blame no one, you will accuse no one, you will not do the least thing reluctantly, none shall harm you, you will have no foe, for you will suffer no injury.
Aiming then at things so high, remember that it is no moderate passion wherewith you must attempt them, but you must utterly renounce some things, and put some, for the present, aside, For if (let us say) you make this also your object, to attain a position of authority and wealth, then you not only run the risk (through aiming at the first things too) of failing to gain these ends, but will most assuredly miss those others through which alone freedom and happiness are born,
Straightway, then, practice saying to every harsh-seeming phantasm, You are a Phantasm, and not by any means the thing you appear to be. Then realize it, and test it according to the crIterions you possess; but especially by this supreme criterion, whether it concerns anything that depends upon ourselves, or something that does not depend upon ourselves, And if the latter, then be the thought instantly at hand, It is nothing to me,