Day 3 of Living the Stoic Life

Use this thread to post anything (questions, observations, and reflections) related to living the Stoic life today!

If needed, here are a couple of questions to get you started:

  • If you have practised one of the exercises in the morning, did it have a helpful impact on the rest of your day?

  • Has any exercise been difficult? What could make it easier?

  • If you are new to Stoicism, have you found that this week has counteracted the stereotypes of it so far?

Piece about this week appeared in Guardian today:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/28/stoic-week-stiff-upper-lip

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9 thoughts on “Day 3 of Living the Stoic Life”

  1. Today’s challenge was not being afraid of the future. I have been in many different places in my life, and all of them were good, and none of them were permanent. This one too shall pass, and if I cannot imagine how anything different could be as good as this, that is due to the limits only of my imagination, not the possibilities.

  2. I’ve found prospective rehearsal in the morning to be somewhat useful. For the first couple of days, I just rehearsed possible difficulties keeping a vague idea of virtue in mind. By keeping one of the general precepts (what’s under my control) in mind this past morning while rehearsing, I was able to get a clearer picture of how I would possibly handle difficulties. Having a precept in mind acted as a good yardstick. Perhaps having a specific virtue in mind to practice would help too, but I haven’t tried that.

    As I stated previously, to keep myself focused, I’ve chosen to stick to one exercise in the morning, one throughout the day, and one in the evening. My chosen daytime activity is consistent prosoche. While I’ve found this useful in non-stressful times, it’s hard to wield for me in stressful times during the day. For that reason, I’ve decided to add cognitive distancing and empathetic understanding to my daytime repertoire. So, my Stoic day will look like this: prospective meditation and rehearsing in the morning; during the day, prosoche during non-stressful times and cognitive distancing & empathetic understanding during stressful times; retrospective meditation at night.

    We’ll see how adding techniques works for me.

  3. Last night’s meditation and reading and thinking helped a lot today and have been talking to pretty much everyone I’ve seen (whether they like it or not!) about Stoic ideas. Such a wonderful philosophy and so wonderful to really put it into practise. Have been thinking of how and why it’s all still so relevant. While history might be about the variables between our lives and the past, ethical philosophy is primarily about our one overriding shared experience: having a human brain and how to get the best out of it. Beautiful.

  4. My latest video diary. Sorry it’s going to be up a bit later than normal, I had something on this evening that took up more time than expected! Hope you enjoy some of my thoughts after it’s uploaded:

  5. The addition of a daily structure that creates a pattern of self-review and analysis makes a clear difference. While I’ve done some similar things (daily meditation, writing, notes and reminders to myself) they have been simply once a day or even more sporadic. Making a commitment to a series of exercises through the length of the day reinforces the idea of this as a way of life. It is especially useful when, as happened yesterday, major frustrations threw me off track. Knowing that I will return to the same process today allows me to put aside yesterday’s stumbles and return to the practice without a lot of fuss. That in itself helps to retain a certain serenity. I think Epictetus said something of the sort but can’t recall where.

    I’ve had two nights where I’ve awoken and found it difficult to fall back asleep (all too common for me). I’ve noted that to be the most challenging time of all. When staring at the ceiling and the little wheels in the brain spin round and round it requires some effort to bring maxims to bear and let go of worries and other negative thoughts. I’m not sure why but the contemplation of the sage was helpful.

  6. In many ways paying attention to the moment, your thoughts, actions & deeds transfers across reliions, movements & philosophies. We pick a style that we can concur. Stoicism has a practicality & rhetoric I find useful to reframe how I view the world. Still, one can have many points of reference. Seneca makes sense to me, helps unburden the weigh of events & worries. And then there’s Zisek if you want something with more cardiovascular resonance.
    However, it’s always good to remember to mediate & such like with a group. I was hoping fo more participants but people are busy and …..

  7. I’m finding the morning and evening meditations quite helpful-I think I’ve actually been getting more done throughout the day since I’ve been doing this experiment! I’m still struggling with the idea of cognitive distancing, but hopefully this will become less of an issue as the week progresses. All in all, things seem to be going well (although sometimes my head hurts from all the thinking! ­čśŤ )