Day Five of Stoic Week: How's it going?

Everyone please feel free to comment below and share your experiences from the fifth day of Stoic Week!

The First Book of the Meditations 

Please post on anything to do with your practice of Stoicism today. Some questions you might consider to help with this:

  • How did the practise of preparing for adversity, or for a difficult event, go?
  • Did you use the audio recording for it? How was that?
  • How has the consistent practice of the morning and evening meditations helped this week?
  • Do you have any questions?

If you are blogging about the week, or if you are doing a video diary, please also post links to those below.

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15 thoughts on “Day Five of Stoic Week: How's it going?”

  1. Is anyone else taking part in this that also has very small children about. How do you do the morning meditations or the lunchtime exercises? My kids are not thrilled by the whole thing and I’ve still not managed to find a toddler friendly way of explaining Stoic mindfulness to them!
    Does anyone have any useful strategies on doing both?
    http://365daysinkind.com/

  2. As Stoic week progress, one theme which keeps coming back to me is putting virtue first. This means putting virtue before money, pleasure, health, and status. I usually do this, but sometimes I still find myself going after these other goals. Still, I realize that if I do not put virtue first, or I pursue these other goals unethically; I will not have a good, clear, peaceful, and joyous mind and conscience. So, I am trying to remember through the week that basis of all goodness in my life and also in society is virtue. Without virtue, my life and society will be in ruins.

    1. One question that sticks out for me in the first questionnaires was something about, “Do you feel you have had a successful or worthwhile life” or words to that effect. I can’t access the questionnaire links to get the exact question at the moment as they are saying “Link invalid”. Anyway I answered quite a low score for myself to that question originally because I was basing my impression of my life by how much money I have or did have in the bank, how good my social standing is or was, how well I’ve done in the business world and my career. But I was marking all that up against financial worth. Put virtue in place of money and you have a whole new ball game. I’d score myself higher now with Stoicism in mind and all that I’ve learned this week so far and there is still two days to go.

      I’m not looking forward to philanthropy though, tomorrow’s subject. This could be my weak spot. I hate going into the supermarket every Saturday to do the weekly shop. My common bugbear is charity workers standing at the end of the checkout with their buckets and offering to help me with the packing. Ahhhhhhhh. Drives me mad. I know they mean well, but every bloody Saturday they get me.

  3. I like day 5. I think this Controlling of our Emotions Lunchtime Exercise is a powerful tool. Although in the beginning it only mentions Seneca’s text on Stoic remedies for anger, I think you could just as easily apply it to all the 7 deadly sins, wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony as well.

    The exercise on premeditation of future “evils” or adversities like, bereavement, poverty, exile, illness, and one’s own death is quite outstanding. I’ve been practising all afternoon, while on a long drive across country (Radio switched off, as it has been all week). I’ve been pondering things that have happened badly in my past as well as things that could go wrong in the future. I especially thought of my most recent family bereavements and how I could have dealt better with them, not only when they were dying but also when they were living.

    I wondered however in the end, if the opposite un-Stoic exercise of premeditation of future “auspicious fortune” and good luck like, winning the lottery, finding an ideal partner, receiving an unexpected bonus, etc, etc, etc, could be introduced to future Stoic Exercises to add balance and control. Just a thought, after all, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.

    1. How has the consistent practice of the morning and evening meditations helped this week?

      With so much happening in so short a space of time this week. It’s felt like I’m cramming a lot in. I’ve not been able to fully spend all the time I’d like, going in depth into my morning and evening meditations on the day ahead and the evening’s reflections. It’ll take practice, practice , practice.

      Jack of all but master of none so far, but I’m in it for the long term I think.

  4. I have been doing reasonably well but I have had difficulty with regard to some decisions that I have made in investments and in parenting. I have made these decisions to the best of my ability at the moment but the outcomes were hurtful to others who do not practice Stoicism. Some of my decisisionmaking was due to my not doing enough deep thinking and others due to biased thinking.

    I certainly should have had control of my thinking but, despite the Stoic reliance on logic, the human mind does not naturally always make thorough or logical decisions.

    As a Stoic, am I not entitled to feel badly about my erroneous decisions? I guess not, since they are now out of my control, being in the past. I can only do differently in the future.

    Sadly, Stoicism is great but does not give me much help with making good decisions in the real world, except to free up my time from inactivity due to remorse.

    Marcus was a good Stoic but made, it would seem, a bad decision at the end of his term as emperor to make his son his heir. This caused much misery for others. I wonder if Marcus was able or would have been able to handle the results?

    I guess I will have to read the complete Meditations for a clue. What do you think?

    Jack
    P.S. Can you have had a good life in the Stoic sense and have made many bad and hurtful decisions? Does it not really matter? I guess not. What do you think?

    1. I think the answer to your question is yes. I think it is important to remember that for Marcus Aurelius history was already written. He and the other Stoics believed in predestination. They seem contradictory over it at times, but it was what they believed in.

      We may not believe in predestination (well I don’t anyway), but we can still recognise that all we can do is our best. The outcome isn’t something we have control over.

  5. Meditation has helped me in dealing with anxieties and worrying this week. I have already used the Stoic premeditation mp3, which has a calming effect. Now downloaded the other mp3’s and transferred them to my ipod. Definitely need to make a habit of doing morning and evening meditation!

    By the way, I once read an interview in which a psychologist advised something similar (reviewing what you have accomplished at the end of the day).

    1. This has been a really helpful exercise for me building on the techniques I have practised in the past both following the Rule of St Benedict and on the Theology for today course but have let slip over the last two years. The course Audio and Visual resources are interesting and thought provoking and the handbook is really well written. This mornings reflection is something to aim for going foreword and the daily routine is something I will continue as I am already reaping the benefits. Thank you and the team.