Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/10/2020

Effort and Pain

“What blows do athletes receive on their faces and all over their bodies! Nevertheless, through their desire for fame they endure every torture, and they undergo these things not only because they are fighting but in order to be able to fight. Their very training means torture. So let us also win the way to victory in all our struggles – for the reward is not a garland or a palm or a trumpeter who calls for silence at the proclamation of our names, but rather virtue, steadfastness of soul, and a peace that is won for all time, if fortune has once been utterly vanquished in any combat.”

– Seneca to Lucilius, LXXVIII. On the Healing Power of the Mind, 16

There is a passage in the Canon that compares the pains and suffering a lay person endures just trying to make a living with the suffering of the holy life. The quote above send to come from the same place and has sent my mind off thinking in another direction.

Certainly, we can be willing to suffer for myriad foolish aims but when we’re pursuing higher goals we often find ourselves too tired or too busy. Specifically, I often find that I don’t seem to have the energy to meditate at night or to get in a final workout. Both of these should be of the utmost importance: the former simply because I cannot hope to walk the path towards liberation without it and the latter to avoid becoming a burden on anyone.


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