“Journaling is paying attention to the inside for the purpose of living well from the inside out.”
~ Lee Wise
I have tried journaling on and off for the past few years, however only recently have I found a system that works for me and have been consistent with it for long enough to start reaping its benefits. Since I have committed myself seriously to journaling daily I have found it extremely helpful in decompressing the mind, providing perspective on obstacles and emotions, and useful in tracking progress towards goals.
Continue reading The Art of Journaling
“Rule your mind or it will rule you.”
Inner monologue is the verbal dialogue that runs (often amok) in one’s mind, and is in many ways reflective of one’s sense of self. Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions of the human psyche is the idea that you are your thoughts; I think the inner monologue is better characterized as some semi-autonomous entity which, whilst being able to wander independently in the absence of guidance, can be controlled, or at least reined, with adequate awareness and proper practice.
Continue reading In Conversation with the Self
“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.”
~ Marcus Aurelius
Stoicism is a philosophical school of thought with origins in ancient Greece around the 3rd century BCE. Stoicism was particularly popular throughout the Roman and Greek world, with the majority of its surviving literary corpus written by several prominent figures of the time including Epictetus, Seneca, and the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. I was introduced to Stoicism in university and was drawn to its pursuit of virtue and its emphasis on individual responsibility and living ‘in accordance with nature’. Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations was my introduction to philosophy and sparked my interest in the use of philosophical study for the development of the inner self.
Continue reading The Stoic Ideal
“Come to terms with death. Thereafter, anything is possible.”
~ Albert Camus
In A Man’s Search for Meaning, one of the main themes proposed by Viktor Frankl in his theory of logotherapy was the idea that one’s search meaning in life is the primary motivational force in life. It is important to acknowledge that the temporal limitation of life is an integral component to such a force: the meaning to human life is predicated on an inevitable death. It is really this inevitable, looming death that truly motivates us, that provides the impetus for all human endeavour. Our consciousness of death, despite our best attempts to ignore it, is what propels us to create and act in the world; it alone gives meaning to every moment through the mere fact that it could be your last. We no longer are forced to confront death anymore: the death of our fellow humans largely happen in hospitals; the food we eat is processed in farms and factories far away from our own homes. This dissociation from the process of death leads one to grow up without ever needing to truly contemplate the limitations of our existence. This possibly adds to the shock and grief felt when we inevitably lose those close to us.
Continue reading The Denial of Death
“Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.”
~ John Lennon
It seems to me that our modern culture values quantity over quality. We are over-concerned with how much we can get done or obtain in the shortest space of time; there is a latent joy in slowing down, being present and appreciating each passing moment.
Continue reading The Art of Slowing Down
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
~ Viktor E. Frankl, A Man’s Search for Meaning
I recently joined a book club, and the book for my first session was A Man’s Search for Meaning, a book I had purchased many months ago and never got around to. It is one that I knew I would enjoy given its psychological and existential themes, and it did not disappoint. I learned much from this short yet powerful book, and its relevance is everlasting.
Continue reading Book Review: A Man’s Search for Meaning
“A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence, it has no critical faculty.”
~ Sigmund Freud
One must be conscious of the contagious effect of the crowd: it influences our decision-making processes, our beliefs, and our daily lives in ways that go criminally unnoticed in modern day society. One must also acknowledge that while the individual experience is foremost and invaluable, one exists in a space and time that must be taken into account. Humans are essentially social beings: total retreat and abstinence from the crowd is not only impossible but detrimental. A balance must be struck, one that facilitates individual growth whilst reaping the benefits of community membership and the pleasures of conversation. From time to time, it is useful to retreat into solitude, using such a space to re-calibrate yourself and reflect on your current state of being. Eventually, however, one must inevitably return to the world, and take one’s place within it.
Continue reading The Contagion of the Crowd
“Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called ‘ego’.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
The unrestrained ego is the biggest obstacle to achievement and peace of mind, the two things people most want in life. Not only is the unrestrained ego bigger than most obstacles one encounters in life, the unrestrained ego often creates obstacles that would not exist if one had control over it.
Continue reading The Horse and the Rider
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t really matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Certain moments in history are so profoundly prophetic in nature that one struggles to refute the intervention of the divine. Such moments — like MLK Jr’s last speech, given only one day before his assassination — are almost undeniable evidence that God does his work through certain individuals, sent by Him to teach us and correct the course of humanity. Such individuals are heroes of faith, putting aside selfish desires and conquering the natural human tendencies toward fear and satisfaction of base urges. These figures dominate religious literature: see Moses and Jesus Christ for example.
Continue reading The Ballot or the Bullet
“I am bound to the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand. God help me. Amen.”
~ Martin Luther
These were the infamous words uttered by Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, at which he defied the church, which at the time believed itself to be on par with God Himself.
Continue reading Libertas