My adventures through the wonderful world of audiobooks have led me to some strange and wonderous lands (some more strange than others). I’ve travelled 19th century Russia in War and Peace – though never left because wow is that a long book which I do not have the enthusiasm nor commitment for – lived through the World Tai Chi Push-Hands Championship in The Art of Learning – spurring on a brief but intense few weeks of chess obsession – and learnt the Critical Business Skills for Success, in a series of lectures entitled “Critical Business Skills for Success”.
Today, a step back in time. Though perhaps a few steps up from a step – a leap, a full lunge extension. Travelling with me on my daily drives is the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca, and his letters to his dear Lucilius. Entitled, “The Moral Epistles”, 124 letters penned by Seneca expound the Stoic way of life and living, among other things. A fuller treatise on the work will have to wait, though suffice to say that much ink is spent by Seneca, in his advanced age, on mortality, on living, and on accepting death.
In earlier years of my own, I was scared of dying. “Not dying”, I remember saying to myself, “but never having lived”. To die before having ever lived is a tragic fate. Yet it seems, not altogether uncommon.
I’m not so scared anymore. I am content with what I have accomplished so far, little as it may be. I make plans for the future, yet each day is itself a contentment. I try to live each day in accordance with my guiding principles, so that there is no regret in my actions.
Is the alleviation of my fears based on something external – what I have seen, created and accomplished? Or is it an internal change – becoming more at peace with mortality and accepting the present as all that one possesses?
In any case, the influence of Stoic teachings is showing. If nowhere else than in the unabated (unashamed?) self-reflection of this post. I’m working on it.