Today's excerpt is one of the most important in the entire book. Now we are getting to the establishment of a ritual, a simple daily ritual of reflection. Let me know what you think.
A Good Life, a Good Day
Now that you understand my approach to wisdom, let us explore the specific skill that this book focuses on: building a simple daily ritual of self-reflection.
The ancient philosophers often debated about this notion of ‘a good life.’ What is a good life, and, how does one build a good life? This remains an essential starting point. But I would like to offer a correlated point. I offer one improvement to this approach: that as we try and think about building a good life, we concurrently think about building a good day and a good week.
I have found that the first step to building a good life, a life that you are proud of, is to start small. We must begin our pursuit of a good life by building a ritual of stepping back and reflecting, a ritual of daily retreat. It is important to have this long-range vision of a good life, but our life is lived day-by-day and the day is a manageable portion which we can focus on, understand, and improve.
A ritual of daily reflection is the greatest thing missing in most of our lives. And this is missing for many reasons. First and foremost, many of our old rituals for reflection have been displaced by a modern culture that does not emphasize retreat and reflection. Secondly, retreat is often intimidating. It can seem scary to truly listen to and observe ourselves. But one must trust the process; one must trust that this is essential work.