Top 10 Ancient Lessons On Happiness From The Greeks
This article first appeared in mindbodygreen.com and is written by Maria Benardis
The ancient Greeks have much to teach us about life and how to live it in a conscious, joyous and peaceful way. Below are 10 philosophies I learned from the ancient Greeks that have provided me with the courage and strength to live my best authentic life. They’ve also provided me with the tools to live a joyous and peaceful life.
1. Do everything with “agapi” (unconditional love).
Do in life what you are passionate about and what you truly love. Be authentic and strive to be your true self.
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” — Aristotle
“Love is the cause of unity of all things.” — Aristotle
“Love that shines from within cannot be darkened by obstacles of the world of consequences!” — Pythagoras
2. Embrace and learn from your challenges.
Find peace with your challenges; be present and open to new opportunities and ideas. Interpret a NO as a new opportunity to knock on another door or to move you in a new direction. The biggest obstacle in our lives is ourselves.
“Live today, forget the past.” — Ancient Greek Proverb.
“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” — Demosthenes
3. Believe in yourself, listen to yourself and not to take too seriously what others say.
No one knows you better than you. You will encounter many people who won’t share your ideas, views and vision. There will be many who will provide you with free advice on how you should run your life. Listen without judgment and follow your heart’s direction.
“Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.” — Plutarch
“Learn to be silent, let your quiet mind listen and absorb.” — Pythagoras
“Only when your mind is silent and listens, and your heart is full of love — only then God talks with you.” — Pythagoras
4. Dream about what you want not what you do not want.
It is important to dream, dream big and to never stop dreaming.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” — Epicurus
5. Never give up and never lose faith.
Replace fear with faith. Humility, love and faith attract miracles. All will happen at the right time and the right season.
“No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” — Epictetus
6. Always strive to think and feel positive.
“Think good thoughts” the ancient Greeks would preach. When negative thoughts enter your mind, wave them goodbye and replace them with happy thoughts. Focus on the present and things for which you’re grateful. Eliminate negative people around you and always surround yourself with positive and happy people.
“Medicine is woven into the stuff of the mind.” — Hippocrates
“Happiness is an expression of the soul in considered actions.” — Aristotle.
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” — Aristotle
7. Search within for answers and direction.
It’s important in tough times and in times when we need guidance to pray, meditate and to increase self-knowledge.
“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” — Plutarch
“You have in yourself something similar to God, and therefore use yourself as the temple of God, on account of that which in you resembles God. Honor God above all things that he may rule over YOU. Before you do anything think of God, that his light may precede your energies. The reason which is in you, is the light of your life. Ask those things of God, which you cannot receive from man.” — Sextus the Pythagorean
8. Find courage from within during challenging times.
Tough times never last, but tough people do.
“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” — Epicurus
“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” — Aristotle
9. Follow your flow.
Fate has all to do with it.
“Fate leads him who follows it, and drags him who resists.” — Plutarch
10. Look at your mistakes positively as experiences that will move you in the direction of your dreams.
Forgive yourself and others. You will make many mistakes along the way.
“To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.” — Plutarch
Maria Benardis is an award-winning author, health coach, teacher, chef and founder of Greekalicious, Sydney’s first exclusively Greek cooking school.
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