How to progress ?
What is a sound practice, so that we might progress?
It is to refrain from associating with people of different stamps & aims, it is the crowds that seek to distract you, from that which is your purpose.
Why are people so greedy for the future?, always putting off & saving for the future yet to be.
It is because no-one has yet found themselves, Hence, await in peace the remaining portion of your time, claiming nothing for yourself.
I have been asking about, & inquiring of everyone who comes from your part of the country, what you are doing, & where you are spending your time, & with whom.
I am here for you, & do not deceive me; Live just as if I were sure to behold them.
If you wonder what particularly pleases me that I hear concerning you, it is that I hear nothing, that most of those whom I ask do not know what you are doing.
This is sound practice, – to refrain from associating with people of different stamp & different aims, & I am indeed confident that you cannot be warped, that you will stick to your purpose, even though the crowd may surround & seek to distract you.
What then, is on my mind?, I am not afraid lest they work a change in you; but I am afraid lest they may hinder your progress, & much harm is done even by one who holds you back, especially since life is so short, & we make it still shorter by our unsteadiness, by making ever fresh beginnings at life, now one & immediately another.
Hasten ahead, dearest Lucilius, & reflect how greatly you would quicken your speed if an enemy were at your back, or if you suspected the cavalry were approaching & pressing hard upon your steps as you fled.
It is true; the enemy is indeed pressing upon you, thus you should therefore increase your speed & escape away & reach a safe position, remembering continually what a noble thing it is to round out your life before death comes.
O when shall you see the time when you shall know that time means nothing to you, when you shall be peaceful & calm, careless of the morrow, because you are enjoying your life to the full?
Would you know what makes people greedy for the future?, It is because no one has yet found themselves.
I pray that you may get such control over yourself that your mind, now shaken by wandering thoughts, may at last come to rest & be steadfast, that it may be content with itself.
Having attained an understanding of what things are truly good, & they are in our possession as soon as we have this knowledge, that it may have no need of added years.
One has at length passed beyond all necessities, – one has won their honourable discharge & is free, – who still lives after their life has been completed.
Farewell, Seneca, StoicTaoist