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Come Back To The Rhythm

Daily Stoic Emails

Marcus Aurelius wasn’t perfect.

With so many responsibilities competing for his time and attention, he was guilty, as we all have been, of letting his good habits slide.

Why else would he remind himself to keep returning to philosophy if he didn’t occasionally find himself reverting to old ways and bad habits? There he is in Meditations talking about the need for a simple diet. Talking about getting up early, to stop sleeping through the morning. He had fallen off. He had messed up. He got distracted, disrupted, overwhelmed…as all of us do.

The question is: What do we do when this happens?

Marcus actually explains,

“When jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. You’ll have a better grasp of the harmony if you keep on going back to it.”

The thing about rhythm is that it doesn’t get lost–only we can. The beat goes on. The right path stands open. We just have to come back to it. We have to pick it up again.

It doesn’t matter how badly we’ve messed up, how much we’ve stumbled, it’s still there. It’s open for us. It’s not exactly waiting for us, but it continues on, ready for us whenever we choose to rejoin.