In your preparation for taking on life, there are three facets of your training that are key. You’ve heard them before, as they are nothing new. They are Body, Mind, and Spirit. A Stoic Hero, of course has his own spin on these three aspects. I know these seem kind of cliche. I tried to be more original but there really is no other way to break it down. To be ready, to be virtuous (which means to be happy), I have to work on all three. They are not independent of each other…no way! Your physical health is affected by your mind and spirit, your mind is connected to your body is connected to your emotional well being, and on and on. Interestingly, each of these aspects fit quite nicely with the buoys on my philosophical raft. Remember these:
Body – The condition of your body is inextricably connected to the rest of your existence. You must take care of it with mindful (yes, this includes the “mind”) nutrition, exercise, and rest. The other two components of your life run much better when you take care of your body. You cannot neglect your physical health, if you are to succeed in your path to happiness.
Mind – You must use your rational thought to find virtue, to be productive, and to see things as they truly are. You must see that in most cases, A ≠ B, and that will be hard enough. However, you have to search deeper. When does A = B? Does it ever? This requires effort no doubt, but you must train your mind to see and distinguish the virtuous life, the happy life.
Spirit – Some may say that spirit is simply the emotional or chemical actions of the brain. I wouldn’t argue with them. If you want, you can call this the Emotional rather than Spiritual. Whether you or I agree with the source of our spirituality is irrelevant. The simple fact of the matter is that we are spiritual, emotional beings. We ponder our existence, we feel our reality and then we exit this reality now and again to someplace otherworldly. Something beyond rational. To be a Stoic Hero, we must tend to our spirituality. It helps us see things as they are: suchness. Sometimes, I find that the deeper down the mind hole I dig, I find spirituality. I am thinking and thinking and then, BAM!, off the ledge I go into another realm. Zen koans have a good way of taking our minds off the ledge into the unexplainable. Meditation, prayer, and sometimes even dreams can take us there. Other times, for me, all it takes is a song, and I feel free! That is spirit: one part mind, one part emotion. Virtue is a result of seeing truth, and the path to truth contains a spiritual element.
In essence, all three of these are essential in my training for life. What am I training for? To describe it in one word, it is happiness. What is happiness? You might be thinking virtue, tranquility, and peace. In the end, your happiness must be all of these.
Happiness is when you are successful at being a peaceful, virtuous, tranquil person right now.
To be this way, we must tend the aspects of the Triad of Virtue. More on each of these in depth soon, but for now check the visual on how all this fits together: