Gems of Delight

“Primum non nocerum. (First do no harm)” – Hippocrates

The word ‘aphorism’ was originally used by an ancient Greek physician in view to treating disease. So one might say they were antidotal in scope. Today we often use the term to represent a concise statement of truth, or a pithy saying that preserves a principle of sorts. As for myself, an ideal aphorism reveals a deeply felt and experiential truth; namely, they are like guiding stars that provide orientation. In this respect, they can be used as a preventive measure, or a way to remain one in body and soul.

My personalized approach to crafting an aphorism consists of a basic linguistic structure. Each one contains a principle based value infused with a virtue that may or may not be apparent. They also begin with a particular action word and remain within 4 to 5 words. Some of them are grammatically incorrect, and may not appear intelligible upon first sight. In addition, one may never penetrate the core of an aphorism if they lack the necessary life experience and/or resolve to pursue its relevant wisdom.

All in all you may find that my list of 96 aphorisms to be a general representation of the values held by people all over the world. The idea here is to carefully read through them so as to determine which ones in particular resonate with you the most. Then spend some time pondering them to see if they truly coincide with the person that you are or want to be. Here are the 12 aphorisms that help to give my life structure and personal meaning:

1. Address first things first
2. Promote health & wellbeing
3. Exercise prudence with integrity
4. Nourish your soul with beauty
5. Try to understand things first
6. Teach in order to learn
7. Envision a more practical way
8. Being of great soul (Magnanimous)
9. Know what’s within your control
10. Embrace autonomy and creativity
11. Build relationships on trust
12. Empathize deeply with others

It would likely breed complications to use these aphorisms as a rigid code of commandments, so keep in mind that they are subject to change as you grow and learn. Perhaps another way of looking at your personal list of aphorisms is to view them as a way to add salt to your value system, so as to preserve them and keep them within reach during occasions when you are faced with making a conscience decision. Aphorisms are stars by which to light up our way, not a drone like methodical system to manipulate outcomes.

Click here for my list of 96 aphorisms. Feel free to print off a copy or share the link with others. Be patient with yourself as you carefully search for the 12 that bring out the best in you and indicate what your life is truly about.

About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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11 Responses to Gems of Delight

  1. Karen says:

    I keep a book of what I call “Magic Lessons” and my top 10 (12?) vary with circumstances and my state of mind. Their power, their ability to light my way, feels like magic because they make my next step so clear, always. Thank you for sharing yours 🙂

    • Thank you for keeping your response relevant to my post. So did any of my aphorisms from my list of 96 resonate with you? Care to share your top 12 with us?

      • Karen says:

        Some of yours are similar to my own, and the ones above that resonate most for me are “Address first things first”, “Nourish your soul with beauty” (really, that is the key to life, when I consider beauty beyond physical beauty), “Try to understand things first”, and “Teach in order to learn”. From your longer list, I like “Fill your day with goodness” and “Grow in love and wisdom”.

        Neil Strauss on Twitter (@neilstrauss) summed it up well:
        “The deepest insights are the ones that are the most banal to hear but the most profound to experience. Such as,
        love yourself
        you are enough
        everything is connected
        you are loveable as you are
        scrolling through twitter is not the best use of your time”

        Other favourites of mine:
        – The only way to have a friend is to be a friend. R.W. Emerson
        – Don’t search for happiness or success, notice them.
        – You need not find a cure for everything that makes you weak. D. Green
        – Would this problem still exist if I stopped thinking about it?
        – If you feel like you don’t fit into in this world, it’s because you are here to help create a new one.
        – Once you start wearing big skirts, drinking whiskey and laughing at the sky, it’s very hard to go back. 🙂
        – Commit to stillness.
        – Try thinking the opposite.
        – Anyone who enjoys inner peace is no more broken by failure than they are inflated by success.
        – Adapt to change or don’t, but know that everything changes.
        – Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it. A. deGrey
        – Choose wonder.
        – Who you are doesn’t cease to exist because there’s no one there to admire it. H. Priebe

        It’s an inspiring exercise to review these! Thanks 🙂

      • Interesting choice of aphorisms and quotes; thank you for sharing. ‘Love yourself’ seems to be a popular one these days. Although, I’m not entirely certain that people mean the same thing when they talk about love. What do you suppose love is? One or two sentences would suffice, preferably in your own words, rather than rephrasing others or providing synonyms.

      • Karen says:

        Haha! Putting love into words is pretty high on the list of things I leave to poets. What do I suppose it is? There’s seeing below the surface of a person, full acceptance (in the buddhist sense) of that inner person, and magical delight I will leave to poets to describe.

      • “Care is the path to the deathless; carelessness the path to death. The careful/caring do not die; the careless/uncaring are as if already dead.” – Dhammapada

  2. inese says:

    Thank you, Jason. I will ponder upon your aphorisms, two every day. Will see how it goes.

    • There’s also the option of reading the entire list at once and choosing the 12 that resonate with you the most. It may be better to meditate on those instead.

      • inese says:

        Another great suggestion!

      • It’s good to know our hearts are aligned. Please share your results with me should you complete the exercise. Imagine yourself choosing the 12 gems (aphorisms) that are to be enshrined upon your golden crown, enabling you to maintain a clear conscience and a pure heart.

        “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” – Matt 6:20

      • inese says:

        Yep, Matthew said it all. I started with two aphorisms.

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