The Daily Stoic for the last day of January: “Philosophy as medicine of the soul”…
“Don’t return to philosophy as a task-master, but as patients seek out relief in a treatment of sore eyes, or a dressing for a burn, or from an ointment. Regarding it this way, you’ll obey reason without putting it on display and rest easy in its care.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 5.9
We all lead busy lives. Work, responsibilities, our daily chores… all those things plunge us into a life rhythm of continuous busyness. Sometimes, we don’t realize that we are occupying all of our time and, if we had more hours in the day, we’ll find something to fill them up.
I am no exception to this phenomenon.
Yesterday, I read a very interesting quote from Cal Newport, author of Deep Work:
“I’m comfortable being bored, and this can be a surprisingly rewarding skill—especially on a lazy D.C. summer night listening to a Nationals game slowly unfold on the radio.”
I wondered when was the last time that I felt bored. Not that boredom is something desirable. However, you need to have free time for being bored, and I certainly haven’t experienced that for years now.
The reason is probably that I am always busy these days, taking care of my business, writing at the blog, working… when I have some free time, I use to go out with my partner for some beers, a dinner, or maybe a stroll by the city or visiting a museum.
And don’t get me wrong: I love my business and profoundly enjoy writing at my blog -every day more, in fact-. I cannot complain about going out for dinner either.
Nevertheless, it seems we are always trying to occupy our time with something. Up to the last minute.
Philosophy As Medicine Of The Soul
I am not proposing boredom as an alternative, of course 🙂 . But I think that we should devote some time to cultivate our minds.
I have actually caught up with meditation. I take some time off most evenings for it. It helps me review my day, gain some clarity, relax, and sleep better.
Of course, meditation and mindfulness are just two ways of doing that, but there are many more. Many stoics like to devote some time during the mornings to ask themselves some questions, or write down their thoughts. However, you don’t need to get fancy or adhere to any philosophical movement. Just devoting some time every day to just think, be present and maybe share your thoughts with others is enough.
We are not machines or robots. What differentiates us from animals is our ability to think, to understand a piece of art, to read a philosophical quote and extract our own conclusions and criticisms out of it.
And that, even though not that urgent, is definitely as important as your work, your business or a good dinner with your beloved one.
The last Daily Stoic for January: “Philosophy As Medicine Of The Soul”, discusses philosophy as a necessity in our modern society. In my case at least, it’s true. I tend to occupy up to the last minute every day. Today’s stoic suggests us to devote some time to more mindful activities .
While I am back to practicing meditation every day, I want to really take this suggestion more seriously. I doubt I will get to the point of being bored as Cal Newport confesses, but one of my goals this year is getting to the point where I don’t feel like I am filling my time instead of living it.