The Essence of Stoic Philosophy: Excerpt from Build your Resilience (2012)

An excerpt from Build your Resilience (2012) that paraphrases the Handbook of Epictetus to provide a summary of the basic principles of Stoicism.

The Essence of Stoicism

Excerpt from Build your Resilience (2012) by Donald Robertson.

So what practical advice do the Stoics give us about building resilience? Well, this is a philosophy that can be studied for a lifetime and more detailed accounts are available. An excellent modern guide to Stoicism already exists in the book A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by Prof. William Irvine, an academic philosopher in the USA (Irvine, 2009). My own writings, especially my book The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, have focused on describing the relationship between Stoicism and modern psychotherapy (Robertson, 2010; Robertson, 2005).

However, although, Stoicism is a vast subject, it was based upon a handful of simple principles. Epictetus summed up the essence Continue reading “The Essence of Stoic Philosophy: Excerpt from Build your Resilience (2012)”

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?

Continue reading “Day 3 of Living the Stoic Life”

The Evening Meditation: Some Reflections

Some personal reflections on the evening meditation exercise for #Stoicweek

The Evening Meditation: Some Reflections

Donald Robertson

Follow @Stoicweek on Twitter #Stoicweek for daily updates and, er, light-hearted Stoic chit-chat.

I’ve been practising aspects of Stoicism for a few years now, although I feel that for a long time I was just scraping the surface and I’m sure that in years to come I’ll look back on my current practice as a pretty “lightweight”¬†effort.¬† I’m a cognitive-behavioural¬† therapist and I feel it’s important for me to try to put into practice as many of the things I use with clients as possible.¬† However, CBT is largely designed for use with people who have specific mental health problems, clinically severe anxiety or depression, etc.¬† It helps people with certain problems but it has no clearly-defined goal for us to pursue in relation to life in general.¬† I felt that I needed a broader philosophical framework, therefore, in order to apply these¬†therapeutic strategies to my own personal development.¬† (I wrote my book on the subject partly to help me reconcile the techniques I liked from modern therapy with the kind of philosophical system I liked: Stoicism.)

I wanted to share some personal reflections, for a change.¬† Hopefully this will encourage other students of Stoicism to talk about their experiences during Stoic Week and beyond.¬† I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Stoic way of life but maybe some of these comments will inspire thoughts from others and help fuel a bit of discussion.

Continue reading “The Evening Meditation: Some Reflections”

Day 2 of Living the Stoic Life!

Please comment below and share your experiences on anything related to living the Stoic life on day 2!

  • Do you have any questions?
  • Are you encountering any obstacles?
  • Do you have any thoughts or observations to share with others?

‘Life, if you know how to use it, is long.’ Seneca, On the Shortness of Life.

Continue reading “Day 2 of Living the Stoic Life!”

How are you getting on with @StoicWeek?

@Stoicweek #Stoicweek Do you have any questions? Are you encountering any obstacles? Do you have any thoughts or observations to share with others?

How are you getting on with @StoicWeek?

Chrysippus
Chrysippus

Please comment below and share your experiences with Stoic Week.

  • Do you have any questions?
  • Are you encountering any obstacles?
  • Do you have any thoughts or observations to share with others?

Good news!¬† We only set up the Twitter account a few days ago and already have¬†nearly 100 followers @Stoicweek and #Stoicweek.¬† We’ve also had nearly 350 votes on our online poll “Who is your favourite Stoic?”¬† Cast your vote to see¬†the results so far.

Some Videos from Participants

[youtube-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UtqFEel6G8]

 

Who then is free?  The wise man who is master of himself, who remains undaunted in the face of poverty, chains and death, who stubbornly defies his passions and despises positions of power, a man complete in himself, smooth and round, who prevents extraneous elements clinging to his polished surface, who is such that when Fortune attacks him she maims only herself.  Can you lay claim to a single one of these qualities?  РHorace

 

Day 1 of Living the Stoic Life

Post your reflections, observations, share advice and discuss any passages in Stoicism you have found particularly helpful, all in the thread below!’¬†Please post here anything related to Living the Stoic life today, whether in the comments or, if you would like, via your own Youtube video diary! [Feel free to publish under pseudonym if you prefer!]

Poll – Which Stoic Exercises from the booklet have you tried so far?