“Most of us would be seized with fear if our bodies went numb, and would do everything possible to avoid it, yet we take no interest at all in the numbing of our souls. —EPICTETUS” ― Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key
Of the three books in Ryan Holiday’s trilogy of Stoic insights my favorite is the final book, Stillness is the Key. Although Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle is the Way both offer brilliant insights, I believe the fullest life begins with intentional daily alone time, where stillness and contemplation are king.
Stoic master, Epictetus, reminds us that the failure to protect and observe a disciplined inner life can result in tragic consequences, from a sense of personal disquietude and an unbridled set of thoughts and actions toward others. I certainly find that I pay a price for failure to honor my ritual of silence and solitude. And, unfortunately, the price I pay often takes its toll on others.
It was obvious to me this morning before I began my AM ritual, (which has been slipping lately). That’s when it struck me: I have been far too judgmental and too quick to anger of late. I find the ugly side of me emerging too easily when I fail to participate in the precious self-care of stillness and solitude and silence.
The State of the Soul
I think Epictetus nailed it when he indicated that we are experiencing a “numbing of soul.” And I agree. Since the state of the soul is also part of the equation, the process of stillness and solitude must, for me, include an intentional spiritual dimension. That is why I often use the term “contemplative prayer.” It is a mostly wordless prayer seeking God in the fulness of Divine Presence. When combined with meditation and inspirational reading, contemplative prayer concludes a morning ritual with rest, insight, and energy.
When the inner self is cleansed and set free it is key that unlocks the door to sacred action.
When Flustered and Upset
Give Yourself the Key to Restoration
Photo courtesy of peterschreiber.media at istockphoto