Day Thirty Nine: Worry

Daily Journal

My condolences to Aaron “Ump” McCollum and family for the loss of his father, George. I met him on The Earps US tour in November 2007. George showed up for three gigs that

springfield

The Earps with Roadie Brad at Bass Pro Shops Museum in Springfield Missouri. November 2007.

trip. Kansas City. Springfield, Missouri. Memphis. He bought us a hotel room in Springfield, which was a nice thing to do since no one showed up and we made $16. The rapper Tec 9 was also staying at the hotel, and it was obvious that his show went a lot better than ours had. The next day, George paid admission for the whole band and “Roadie Brad” to go to the Bass Pro Shops Museum in Springfield.

Today will be a shorter journal entry. I went hiking at Iroquois Park with my Meetup group last night, so I didn’t have time to work further through the Designing Your Life book, but I will get started on Chapter 3 tonight.

Deng Ming-Dao on Worry:

Worry is an addiction
That interferes with compassion.

Today’s entry is almost like taking a subject that Stoics talk about quite often and getting a Taoist opinion, which is more or less in agreement with Epictetus. Like Epictetus, Ming-Dao says, I paraphrase, that there are just too many problems outside of our control, making it impossible to address all of them. He defines worry as “concern gone compulsive”, and given some of his language, like “spiritual degeneracy” and “cancer of the emotions”, he considers worry to be a very negative thing. He say s when you meet a problem, help if it is in your power to do so. “After you have acted, withdraw and be unconcerned about it. Walk on without ever mentioning it to anybody. Then there is no worry, because there has been action.” Being unable to address all concerns and problems there would be to worry about, he advises us to take care of yourself and something good for those you meet.

Daily Stoic

Today is a lesson from Seneca on the subject of anger. I have struggled with this lesson. I have done a lot of screaming at people over the things they have done. I’m not one to cry, but I am a person who gets furious and impatient at times. Using a lesson from Seneca, Ryan Holiday says the next time you catch yourself having a fit, ask yourself “Is this actually making me feel better? Is this actually relieving any of the symptoms I wish were gone?”

Here’s a video from the 6-part series with Alain de Botton called “Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness” about Seneca and anger.

I’m off to work. Enjoy your day. See you tomorrow.
B.G.

Day Thirty One: Orientation

Daily Journal

This morning, I recorded a 21-minute podcast as a review of the month of January 2017. Topics covered in the podcast:

  • The balance between “Going with the flow & letting life unfold” vs. “Goals”
  • The difficulty of avoiding time management in our society since our jobs swallow up most of our time.
  • Overcoming addictions that take away free time. (Smoking cigarettes, Facebook, cellphone addiction, drinking, snacking, etc.)
  • Successes & failures during January 2017.
  • Goals for February 2017 and beyond.

Deng Ming-Dao on Orientation

Planets orbit the sun.
Forms orbit the mind.

Most of us embody disparate aspects in our personalities; these are our forms, the way we take shape. If we aren’t careful, we can become confused by such complexity. We should not deny any part of ourselves. We should arrange them. All elements are valid — they must simply be placed in the right context.

Those who follow Tao understand that a diverse personality is problematic only if some aspects dominate to the exclusion of the others. This is unbalanced. If there is constant alteration between all aspects, then equilibrium is possible. Like the planets, feelings, instincts, and emotions must be kept in a constantly rotating order. Then all things have their place and the problems of excess are avoided.

Just as the sun is at the center of our solar system, so too must the mind of wisdom be the center of our diverse personalities. If our minds are strong, then the various parts of our lives will be held firmly to their proper courses, and there will be no chance of deviation.

I found this chapter more difficult to understand that other chapters of 365 Tao. I was able to get some insight from a quiltmaker’s blog, oddly enough. It almost sounded like he could be referring to the different roles we play in life. Sometimes I identify as a father, a worker, a writer, a musician, a lover, a reader, a music historian, etc. The trouble comes in when I’m wearing the wrong hat at the wrong time. Jack Kornfield covered this in Chapter 5: The Mysterious Illusion of the Self, in his book The Wise Heart.

I’m also reminded of Ecclesiastes 3 from the Bible (which Pete Seeger wrote into a song called “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, which The Byrds made into a hit song):

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

The Daily Stoic: Philosophy as Medicine of the Soul

Today, Ryan Holiday reminds us that although we get busy with work and making money, being creative, and being stimulated, we can drift away from philosophy. When we forget about philosophy, we get stressed and this injures us. We need to have a regimen and practice of philosophy. For me, that’s what this blog is all about. I would recommend to anyone owning a book like 365 Tao, The Daily Stoic, Daily Devotions (for Christians), or some kind of daily app like “Daily Buddha Quotes”. Some kind of philosophy or spirituality  that works for you, to restore you every morning and get you through the day. It’s a good practice.

Tomorrow is February 1st. New challenges:

  • Writing first draft of a book.
  • Couch to 5K running program.
  • 66-Day Challenge to spend 15 minutes per day on employment and money making opportunities.

Peace.
B.G.