The idea of holding the reins, of establishing dominion over my own mind, appealed to me. Already a freethinker, I began studying Stoicism and Buddhist meditation in the pursuit of mindfulness. Henry David Thoreau introduced Walden by stating that he wished to live "deliberately". I like that choice of words, for to act deliberately implies a level of control, of focus. Maintaining such deliberation is difficult, for while we possess the capacity to order our lives, we seem to be primarily emotional, instinctive creatures.
A common strength I derive from freethought, Stoicism, and anarchism is power: power over myself, conviction that I believe and act as I do because I have ruled deliberately over my mind and established rules based on reason and empathy. Marcus Aurelius advised himself to be like a citadel, which the waves crashed against but did not break, and I see my mind as a sanctuary and a castle, guarded by stern guards who do not permit unconsidered thoughts and malice to enter. In meditating, I see myself pacing the halls of such a fortress, throwing out flaming torches or dismissing aggressive courtiers. My aim is sovereignty: self-possession.
One of the difficulties in maintaining sovereignty is recognizing the emotional games we play with ourselves. I take note of them when I spot them at play in my own life, and this post is an introduction of sorts to a series of musings and articles on 'inner reign', on spotting games like self-righteousness, tribal mentalities, and the like. At the same time, I will endeavor to steer clear of the abyss of puritanism. The goal is to be free and at peace, not possessed by the unattainable.