On a gray and drizzly day, I suddenly see the light. As so often happens, I'm fretting to myself about money, or rather my lack thereof.
That's when I realize: if I simply enjoy everything more, then all my problems are solved! I can become a personal utility monster—somebody whose internal value system is so huge that it dominates all other factors (to a Utilitarian anyway). My pleasure in the moment can be big enough that nothing else matters.
And then I recall the extraordinary book The Miracle of Mindfulness (Thich Nhat Hanh, 1976) and its advice that, when eating an orange, eat the orange —don't focus on peeling and separating the next orange slice, and thereby miss the slice in your mouth right now. Nhat Hanh observes:
The universe exists in this present moment. No desire can pull you away from this present peace, not even the desire to become a Buddha or the desire to save all beings. Know that to become a Buddha and to save all beings can only be realized on the foundation of the pure peace of the present moment.
And that in turn reminds me of Arnold Bennett's remark in his diary on 3 Apr 1908:
Every morning just now I say to myself: Today, not tomorrow, is the day you have to live, to be happy in. Just as complete materials for being happy today as you ever will have. Live as though this day your last of joy. 'How obvious, if thought about'—yet it is just what we forget. Sheer M. Aurelius, of course.
Which leads me back to Stoicism, and all the things I should remember to be utterly indifferent to. Easier said ...
(thanks to Lisa Yanaky http://bookbrothel.com/ for the Miracle of Mindfulness quote above; and see also BennettOnStoicism (29 Apr 1999), FairForAll (28 Nov 1999), BasementWorries (15 Jun 2002), MyOb (18 Aug 2002), LightMind (22 Aug 2002), SpiritualExercises (25 Oct 2002), StoicStruggles (22 Dec 2002), ...)