Self-Mastery and Physical Pain

In Xenophon’s book on Socrates, he describes the great man like this:

In the first place, apart from what I have said, in control of his own passions and appetites he was the strictest of men; further, in endurance of cold and heat and every kind of toil he was most resolute; and besides, his needs were so schooled to moderation that having very little he was yet very content.[1]

The Greek word for “control” can also be translated as “mastery.” I prefer this translation, but I used the work on another in the quote above because translating classical Greek takes me longer than I care to spend. But back to the main idea. At a young age, I wished to learn the virtue of self-mastery or enkrateia. Here is my experience with this virtue in relationship to physical and emotional distress:

When I was a kid, I often experienced extreme physical pain.

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