Epictetus - The Enchiridion - 16, 17, 18
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
16. When you see anyone weeping in grief because his son has
gone abroad, or is dead, or because he has suffered in his
affairs, be careful that the appearance may not misdirect you.
Instead, distinguish within your own mind, and be prepared to
say, "It's not the accident that distresses this person,
because it doesn't distress another person; it is the judgment
which he makes about it." As far as words go, however, don't
reduce yourself to his level, and certainly do not moan with
him. Do not moan inwardly either.
17. Remember that you are an actor in a drama, of such a kind
as the author pleases to make it. If short, of a short one; if
long, of a long one. If it is his pleasure you should act a
poor man, a cripple, a governor, or a private person, see that
you act it naturally. For this is your business, to act well
the character assigned you; to choose it is another's.
18. When a raven happens to croak unluckily, don't allow the
appearance hurry you away with it, but immediately make the
distinction to yourself, and say, "None of these things are
foretold to me; but either to my paltry body, or property, or
reputation, or children, or wife. But to me all omens are
lucky, if I will. For whichever of these things happens, it is
in my control to derive advantage from it."