Thursday

January 15

DO but remember the general rules. What is mine? What not mine? What is allotted me? What is the will of God, that I should do now? What is not His will? A little while ago it was His will that you should be at leisure, should talk with yourself, write about these things, read, hear, prepare yourself. You have had sufficient time for this. At present He says to you, "Come now to the combat. Show us what you have learned, how you have wrestled." How long would you exercise by yourself? It is now the time to show whether you are of the number of those champions who merit victory, or of those who go about the world, conquered in all the games round. Why, then, are you out of humour? There is no combat without a tumult. There must be many preparatory exercises, many acclamations, many masters, many spectators.

EPICTETUS. MANUAL. iii. 2, 3.

2 comments:

  1. This post to me is all about the times and seasons of an individuals life. Sometimes we are prepared for battle and need to jump into the fray. Other times we are jumping into the fray but are not prepared for battle.

    Our society has only one "accepted" sabbatical concept for academics and clergy. I feel that everyone needs to take sabbaticals and also have learning periods. Burn out is prevalent in our society and by practicing sabbaticals I think a lot of the burn out would be eliminated. Of course this would take a major restructuring of the corporate western world and would not be an easy undertaking.

    The personal application that I take away from this is to try to be attuned to the rhythms of my life, downtime or activity?

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  2. "The proof of the pudding is the eating." (Cervantes). Until we are actually tested, the knowledge gained during our philosophical studies remains unproven. This is why the ancient Stoics used exercises, to prepare themselves physically, emotionally, and mentally, for a world in which they may be called to 'battle', or to test the resolve of their beliefs, at any time. To inure themselves against fear of poverty, they practiced self-deprivation, against the fear of death, they practiced the memento mori, and so on, facing each of the greatest irritants and fears in life, in the microcosm of their practice, to inoculate themselves again the same in the macrocosm of life.

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