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STOICISM.DESIGN

Back Roads of Your Self

May 30, 2019

This morning I want to to share this concept I like: "the back roads of your self." For context, here's the quote from Marcus Aurelius.

"People try to get away from it all - to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. ... you can get away from it anytime you like by going within. ... Are you complaining about the things the world assigns you? ... Or is it your reputation that's bothering you? But look at how soon we're all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. ... So keep this refuge in mind: the back roads of your self. Above all, no strain and no stress. Be straightforward. Look at things like ... a human being, like a citizen, like a mortal."

He uses the "back roads of your self" in the same way some guru would tell us that we have mountains within, that retreating inward - briefly, he points out - is a way to charge the battery.

I however like the imagery because of what it implies about travel, about the connective tissue of a city or small town as a metaphor for not just inner depth and peace, but also shortcuts. The busy thoroughfare is the obvious path, but the familiar local will know not just one but other routes to get from Point A to Point B.

What are the implications of learning these back roads? And, in this interpretation, what are they? Back roads are the result of pattern recognition, of just paying attention. Do you know how to calm yourself when you're feeling irate, or envious? What are the buttons you have to push to illicit an action you want? When you're getting in your on way, do you know what you need to do to go around?

Consider these back roads not just as a meditative mumbo jumbo and inner peace, but as a metaphor for the practical value of self awareness.

Craft virtuously.

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Copyright © 2019 Michael Schofield, All rights reserved.


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