The inner citadel
Our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy.
When life overwhelms you or when you need to fall back into natures
rhythm a well trained and tuned mind can be your greatest asset; it
gives you the ability to spend time with yourself, remembering your
maxims and utilising your reason to think through adversity. It gives
you space to strip situations bar or to pause and look down on the
world from above; there can be no safer and stronger place than
your inner sanctuary.
As you learn to reflect and meditate on the Stoic doctrines, you learn
to retreat into yourself, and slowly you begin to build this inner
citadel. A citadel that, even if laid siege too, can withstand any attack.
One which will never fall to anger, greed, lust, desire, fear, pain,
delusion or any other harmful emotion.
Retreating into yourself, either in moments of calm or turbulence to
rehearse your maxims, remember death, love your fate or prepare for
what may come your way is deeply therapeutic.
It is to be your own counsel. Retreating into your mind can give you more safety, comfort and clarity than any citadel made of stone and or brick. It will take time to build and will require a lot of patience, but persevere and remember - Rome was not built in a day.
Questions to get you started
How impregnable is my mind, at this moment, to anger, fear, desire and any other vice or obstacle I may face?
As cities have guards, vigilant and ready on the walls, how can I begin to keep watch over my mind, how can I begin to build my inner citadel to retreat into?
Where does my mind need ?
Quotes to inspire
People seek retreats in the country or the sea. Retreat into yourself. Nowhere can give greater peace of freedom than within your own soul. - Marcus Aurelius
Retreat into this little plot of earth that is truly your own. Do not distress. Preserve your freedom and look at things as a man, a human, a moral creature. - Marcus Aurelius
Your ruling centre is invincible when it retreats into itself and is content in it - Marcus Aurelius
A mind free from passion is a mighty citadel. There is no stronghold more secure than that he can retreat and remain unassailable. - Marcus Aurelius
Return to philosophy as often as you can and take your rest in her - Marcus Aurelius