"Look at those whose prosperity men flock to behold; they are smothered by their blessings. To how many are riches a burden! From how many do eloquence and the daily straining to display their powers draw forth blood! How many are pale from constant pleasures! To how many does the throng of clients that crowd about them leave no freedom! In short, run through the list of all these men from the lowest to the highest—this man desires an advocate, this one answers the call, that one is on trial, that one defends him, that one gives sentence; no one asserts his claim to himself, everyone is wasted for the sake of another. Ask about the men whose names are known by heart, and you will see that these are the marks that distinguish them: A cultivates B and B cultivates C; no one is his own master." - Seneca
We are reading through Seneca's essay, "On the Shortness of Life", for 21 days. The quote above is part of today's reading, Day 2. I was struck with how success, especially our society's definition of success, can be a two edged sword. Yes we are successful in what we set out to do but at what cost does that success come? Where do we find peace, that comfort in a simple life, the anonymity that allows us to be master of our days?
I am reminded of Thoreau's motivations in Walden... getting away from the hustle and bustle of his own life to live simply among nature.
How often does the tyranny of the urgent, the result of our own success, cause us to have no control over our time, money or assets?
At times I want to run to the woods to find my centre and listen to the still voice inside that brings such peace. My goal is to create the "woods" in my everyday life. A home that feels peaceful to enter, a shrine of stillness in an every growing cacophony of noise from the "modern" lifestyle. I hope that we all find an inner oasis within ourselves that we can find in a moment and abide in.