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External Detachment For Internal Freedom -- How To Develop an Inner Core

Updated: Mar 7

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Building an Inner Fortress: Finding Stability in a Dynamic World

We need to cultivate an inner core, a sanctuary within us that remains largely unfazed by either external storm, nor sunshine. Doing so can rid us of many unnecesary agonies, caused by unnecessary dependencies. The higher our expections are from others, the likelier that we suffer. Actively creating this mental barrier between our mentality and the external world, is key in maintaining our high spirits, and eliminating the likelihood of things and beings to be seen as bothersome.

This inner strength is not necessarily about emotional numbness or apathy, but rather about being grounded in reality. It allows us to weather life's dynamic occurrences with resilience and grace, finding mental calmness even in the face of challenges. The cultivation of an inner core can also help in professional settings (such as the one I'm in when working on Philosocom), where the "tochen" is the content, and the "kli" is us and our mentality.

Consider the paradox of Diogenes. Here was a man content with a life far removed from Alexander Macedon's grand ambitions. He lived in a simple barrel, embraced unconventional behavior like public urination, and possessed only the bare necessities. Yet, Diogenes was filled with happiness and satisfaction.

His life emphasizes a crucial point: true fulfillment doesn't always reside in worldly pursuits or grandiose achievements. While Alexander envisioned conquering the world, Diogenes found joy in the present moment, surrounded by his dog and a life devoid of material worries. Of course, "world domination" may feel like an extreme example, especially compared to that of Diogenes, who simply sought to live in the present as life went by.

But think about your own aspirations. Have you ever pinned your happiness on a specific career goal, material possession, or relationship status? Do you believe attaining that specific "thing" will finally grant you this elusive feeling of long-term contentment? You might think so, if you work to live, and not live for the sake of work.

Diogenes' life serves as a reminder: external validation and achievement, while appealing, often fall short of delivering lasting happiness. Cultivating an inner sanctuary of peace and acceptance, independent of external circumstances, offers a more sustainable path to fulfillment. That is assuming that you want to be fulfilled. Perhaps we shouldn't generalize, as I live for success, not for happiness. But I digress.

If you're looking for happiness, however, Diogenes' example doesn't mean abandoning ambition or your goals entirely. It's about prioritizing inner well-being and aligning your pursuits with your values. Because when happiness stems from your core, not external validation, you become less susceptible to the winds of fortune, whether favorable or not.

Remember, even Alexander, despite his conquests, couldn't conquer death or ultimately find true peace in his empire. True, lasting happiness resides within, accessible even to the homeless sages, and is attainable if we nurture the strength of our inner core.

Cultivating Inner Meaning in a Consuming World

Instead of Diogenes in his barrel, let's consider ourselves, the modern-day consumers, drowning in a sea of possessions, as we unintentionally prove wrong the contemporary philosophy of financial materialism. We chase after endless "things" - fancy meals, when simple food nourishes; expensive games, when ones with no pay can be just as fun.

Either way, we're hoping they'll fill the void and validate our existence, in a seemingly-infinite cycle of desire. But why do we reach so high, when even the most luxurious of expenses fail to satisfy us, on the long term?

Perhaps it's the fear of "compromising," of living a limited life when the world brims with experiences to be had... Or to be afraid of being seen as a defeatist by choosing to lead a life of solitude. But what if contentment wasn't about acquisition, but about internal meaning? What if we shifted our focus from external validation to our inherent worth, finding fulfillment beyond the trophies of our conquests?

Do we truly need the degree, the car, the perfect partner, the fleeting thrill of a purchase, to feel significant? Diogenes, in his humble barrel, found happiness within himself, a self-sufficient "reactor" fueled by his philosophy. Everything external - possessions, relationships, achievements - will one day fade, leaving only the echoes of our inner journey, and ourselves, of course. Things and people come and go, but we will go from our own lives, only when we die.

Regardless of our wealth or bias of presitge, we can cultivate this inner meaning, this sense of purpose that transcends the fleeting. It's not about rejecting the world or shunning genuine human connections, but about recognizing that fulfillment can come regardless of where we are in life. For our emotions are products of our thoughts. Changing our mindset, would entail gaining more power on our feelings.

Take my own experience. A surge of pleasure used to wash my mind when I saw statistics on Quora - views, upvotes, followers, etc. Social media is built to gratify us. But I don't mistake that for the ends of my efforts. These metrics are external, fleeting, and beyond my direct control. Why should my happiness hinge on things I can't command? Even my money, though mine to spend, doesn't define my inner state. Even the wealthy would find themselves miserable.

My inner world remains independent, untouched by the flow of my possessions and my achievements. I don't choose to be happy. I choose to succeed. I refuse to let my emotions be hostage to things that slip through my fingers like water, and I refuse becoming hostage to my own emotions in the same manner. By embracing the fleeting nature of all things and beings, I minimize the sting of loss, and cultivate a resilience that transcends any external circumstance. Even war.

Thus, life becomes far less painful than otherwise. What makes my life important is my work, which I determine to be my lifelong purpose. Little else matters to me, for I am ruthless.

Finding meaning within is the true challenge, for we are not programmed by society to be satisfied with what we already have. Most of us can't even do nothing and enjoy it. In yoga, the corpse pose is considered to be one of the most difficult postures, even though it's just laying down, relaxing. Consider how difficult it is for many to just relax while keeping themselves awake.

Finding internal meaning is a journey of self-discovery, of learning to appreciate our inherent worth, of forging a life rich in purpose, regardless of the trinkets we accumulate or the medal awards on our uniforms. This is the path to true happiness, a happiness that endures even when the world around us changes, regardless of its change.

Reclaiming Your Center

In the grand game of life, the only true constant is change. Possessions, relationships, even our own bodies - all are subject to the tides of time. Yet, amidst this ever-shifting landscape, there remains one unwavering anchor: ourselves.

We can control our reactions, our perspectives, our very internal compass (which our life philosophies can also be a part of). Even in the face of deep poverty, we have the power to choose and shape our brains to still maintain high spirits. We can succumb to negativity, allowing it to fester and poison our well-being. Or, we can choose to dance with the current, to find acceptance and even joy within flow of circumstance, despite its tyranny.

Reclaim your center from external circumstances, the core of your being is one that is capable of being unshaken by external storms, should we be tough enough, and learn the importance of not caring too much, when caring too much is counter-productive to us. It's about recognizing that true happiness doesn't reside in fleeting possessions or achievements, but in the quiet strength of your own inner world, which, technically, is what you have the most control of in this life.

Yes, your car, your house, your job, your social media stats - they belong to you. But they are not you. They are seperate and will always be. Attaching them to yourself too much can be a mistake you'll regret, should they vanish. They are transient, borrowed from life. When they fade, as all things inevitably will, a piece of you doesn't have vanish with them... Not if your inner core is strong enough.

At the very least, you can decrease your attachment, and thus, you'll be able to better reclaim your center, as seperate of the external world. That applies to philosophers as well, but I digress. The external world might not care for you, either way, if you're too irrelevant when you die. Concern should be there in the name of practicality. Otherwise you'll be wasting your emotional energies, leading to burnout.

My advice is simple: stop outsourcing your happiness. Stop looking for it in the ever-shifting sands of external validation. Remember, Diogenes found his happiness in a barrel. You can find yours anywhere, for it is a matter of mindset, more than anything else. And I'm only addressing happiness because many of you value it so much over success.

We are not the same.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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