It’s official. I can’t read any more for or at least for the foreseeable future.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m forcing myself into non-fiction or that I’m restricting myself to fewer books at once as I’m wont to read at least four at any given time. Which would be counter-intuitive for the very reason I tried that in the first place: concentration.
But I’m inclined to believe it’s because how much I’m living inside my head lately. The saddest thing is that I’ve gotten used to the hole this has left in me, I’ve worn a path around it.
However, I decided to be optimistic or perhaps the word should be realistic. I’m too used to bemoaning things that I can actually change or learn from. Baby steps: a chapter a day of my current primary read “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior” by Leonard Mlodinow.
Then once a day introspection from “The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom …” which should be simple enough.
As I’m here I’ll get it out that I’m investing time into learning the Stoic teachings of the likes of Seneca The Younger, Epectitus and Marcus Aurelius. I’ve been listening to The Practical Stoic Podcast and signed up for The Daily Stoic newsletters and even joined their Facebook group.
It’s … enlightening. In fact, it’s possibly the most practical philosophy out there and it’s reflected in one of Aurelius’ quotes:
“Waste No More Time Arguing What A Good Man Should Be. Be One.”
From my previous readings into the varieties of philosophy, I have noticed much debate about how people should live to the metaphysical probabilities of reality and a great many other interesting facets of thought. Stoicism encourages you to live every day in accordance with nature and to cultivate character to the best of your ability. Don’t just think about how to live, practice it.
To give a super brief overview, courtesy of The Daily Stoic:
The Philosophy asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness and judgment should be based on behavior rather than words.
That we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.
And perhaps one of the more insightful bits I’ve heard, as I’m listening to the audiobook format of Meditations by M. Aurelius, is this:
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.
And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.”
It’s early days yet but I do feel a perceptible shift in mindset and I’m looking forward to the learning and therefore to the growth that Stoicism offers.
So yes, my lack of want for reading is stressful but that was before I’d taken on more responsibilities and dealing with the challenges it brought unbalanced me some. It’s not the end of the world, I’m adapting to changes and I’m finally realizing it’s a balancing act.
I think I got this.