A Successful Day

Even as a youth, I thought that the Christian church should teach a more practical life. This from a guy who was reading philosophy and theology by age 14 (no wonder I never had friends!).

We would be told what we should do but not so much how. Pray, they said. I felt like the disciples. Teach me how. Jesus had answered with what we call The Lord’s Prayer. Sermons have been preached on the meaning of each phrase. Nothing on the practice.

I offered to teach prayer. Six or eight people signed on. I wanted to teach how to pray. They wanted a discussion class on theories of prayer.

Perhaps that’s why I am drawn to the Stoics. Not a religion, they were philosophers of the practice of life. When you arise in the morning, how do you actually live that day.

Ryan Holliday, writing in his Daily Stoic, said,

A successful day for a Stoic is simple. It’s not about having made more money. Or having gotten more famous, or dazzled more people with your accomplishments. It’s whether or not you got better. Specifically, it’s whether you got better at life—more prepared for the troubles, for the temptations, for the opportunities that lay ahead. As Seneca wrote to Lucilius, the prescription for this philosophy is simple: “Each day acquire something that will fortify you against poverty, against death, indeed against other misfortunes, as well and after you have run over many thoughts, select one to be thoroughly digested that day.”

Ryan Holliday

Prayer today can be breathing with awareness to calm and focus the mind and body. Service results from awareness of other people we meet and we see a way to help–even if it’s opening a door or picking up a dropped object. Worship can be a conversation. Those indeed would lead to a successful day as we reflect on the evening examen.

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