You really don’t understand why you’re unhappy, even though it’s right in front of you? Well then, let’s spell it out with this handy paraphrase of Pythagoras and his famous “Golden Verses.”
This guide to peace of mind dates from 2,500 years ago, making it the very definition of wisdom for the ages.
In order to sleep well, pause to reflect upon what you did in the light of the sun, taking stock of what was accomplished and noting anything left undone. Ask yourself if you wronged anyone, and note any mistakes made. Close out the day in your mind, and embrace your deserved rest.
Upon waking, calmly consider what you need to accomplish. Be tender to family members, make sure your friends have been chosen for the excellence of their character, and accept their advice and criticisms. Do not allow yourself to end a friendship over a trivial matter.
Develop your abilities, for what is possible is very close to what is necessary. It is within your power to overcome the odds against you. Start by working to eliminate the habits by which you defeat yourself.
First and foremost, respect yourself. Try to learn from your misfortunes, and bear your circumstances with patience and without complaint. Remember that financial success and the esteem of your peers are easily lost. When you see lies triumphant over truth, get out of the way and wait patiently for truth to right itself.
Engrave on your heart the following: Do not allow anyone to fool you into doing something that is not good for you. That includes yourself, for mindless speech and actions are the way to a life of misery. Most people bring misfortune upon themselves, and in their distress they seek salvation everywhere but where it can be found, which is within. They cannot rescue themselves because they are blind to the laws that rule them, the playthings of passions that make them run around in circles.
Meditate upon the virtuous life continually until you grow to love it, and always choose the good instinctively over the bad. This will put you on the path to becoming the strongest and wisest you can be.
And never undertake a project until you have prayed to the gods to help bring it to fruition. You must begin the work, but only the higher powers can bring it to completion. In this way, you will gradually come to understand the different beings and forces, and the bonds between humans and the immortals. You will also come to know the One who is the foundation of all, for He contains all within Himself.