Thanks a lot for this wonderful initiative. As a classicist I wonder if you could give the exact literature sources of the quotations of ancient philosophers. Perhaps I will find these in the accompanying book? Anyway, I do acclaim this revival of Stoicsm.
[…] Video: Early-Morning Meditation […]
Fantastic – but long winded and poorly synthesised. A pity that you have not included some of the Bhuddist tenets and ideals. There are many similarities. Contemplation can lead to spiritual awareness and growth. I think what is lacking is a sense of the spiritual – I found this all a bit instrumental. I am sure that people who have busy, full days will find this hard to listen to and therefore may not carry it out. However, great to have help in a more practical way to live a good life. Thanks all.
Thanks Sue. Yes, you’re right I think there is a lot of overlap between Stoicism and Buddhism in terms of practical focus. It might be helpful to incorporate some Buddhist practises this week alongside Stoicism this week, but all our resources obviously are focussed on Stoicism.
But there are also some key differences between Buddhism and stoicism which need mentioning – Buddhism is generally accepted as a religion with beliefs involving a supernatural element such as reincarnation. My understanding of stoicism is that one of its key tenets was that once you are dead, that’s it, there is no soul or entity that carries on and it was practised by at least some atheists/people who challenged religion as the only source of guidance on how to live? Although Marcus Aurelius’ writing has a spiritual sense am I right in thinking that this is more related to stoic physics than any belief in the supernatural and he mentions the Roman gods as a turn of speech rather than because he believes in them in any sense we would relate to today? (and the Roman state religion didn’t set ethical guidance any way hence the proliferation of cults at the time, including one called Christianity) What stoicism is similar to, it seems to me, mindfulness, the secular version of Buddhism, which is also now popular as a form of therapy. I think this project needs to carefully evidence how stoicism is different from mindfulness and how it can provide additional benefits that mindfulness practice does not encompass.
Thanks Clare. Yes – I agree. Although Buddhism has many different forms. In the west, quite a few forms of Buddhism do not emphasise reincarnation at all, but are purely practical in focus. In that sense, they are similar. I think your last point is really important too – there will be more on Stoic mindfulness/Buddhist mindfulness later in the week – keep an eye on the blog.
Thank you Clare for your very interesting and thought provoking reply. Of course, you are right about the Bhuddist’s belief in reincarnation – probably a device used in many religions to ensure a respect for ‘life’ and a means to encourage us to behave in a way that, if called to account, we can say that we are worthy, through effort, to a higher life. A bit cynical but let’s face it, that’s how most religions started and then were used as a means of political as well as social/sexual control.
I think Bhuddism tells you how it is ie that life is pretty tough and transient and so to live a life that is meaningful we have to meditate on ourselves in order to live the best possible life we can. Mindfulness is now used as part of cognitive therapy and I can directly say that it is an extremely valuable tool for overcoming trauma or on-going illness.
However, as I said in my original post, for me there is a lack of spirituality in all of this. To put it simply – contemplation of the universe our place in it, working for the greater good etc.
Keep up the good work. Reading other posts – please don’t dumb any of this down, just synthesise it a little more – it is rather long winded at the moment and people may find that they can’t give all the time to this week that they need.
I’m not one for advocating the dumbing down of society per se, but this is a little bit heavy going as an introduction to Stoic meditation for a beginner like me.
Maybe next time it would be productive to #also# have a much simpler video / guide – just for those of us who don’t use words like “equanimity” in our daily vocabulary. 😉
It might spread the concept wider and be altogether more inclusive.
Just an idea. 🙂
Donald Robertson, one of the team, is doing an ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Reddit – any queries you might want to ask about Stoicism, you could ask Donald there: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1rcttw/iama_philosopher_and_psychotherapist_involved_in/
And also, please post anything here which you feel could do with more explanation, and we’ll do our best.
I think a version with less explanation (not more explanation) would work better for me personally but of course I accept I might be alone in that view.
I just wondered if a simpler version (as well as the more detailed one), which addressed the techniques and objectives and less of the history behind it, would include more people.
I guess I am asking for a simpler version because I’m finding it difficult to grasp… apologies but I’m just not anywhere near as clever as you good folk. But I am interested to learn more so I am trying. 🙂
BTW: Just to be clear, it really was just an idea, (not a complaint at all) .
There are brief versions of both morning and evening recordings, without any history.
I am finding that the short audio version of Morning exercise cuts off about halfway? On iPad at least that is what I am finding – is these technical issue at your end?
I think it’s more likely a problem at your end. We’ve had a lot of people using the video and I don’t think it’s been cutting off for them. Try downloading the file to your device before playing rather than streaming it over the net.
Thanks Miguel. Feel free to use the ‘contact us’ form if there is anything I can help with. Also on each day we are posting a ‘how’s it going’ post – please ask any questions about Stoicism there too. Best of luck with the week!
I have enjoyed listening tremendously . Interestingly I believe that the 12 Steps of AA ( and all subsequent 12 step programmes ) are based on these teachings . Do you have a class or group in Halifax that one could attend. ? Thank you for your work .
Thanks Elizabeth! I think that’s an interesting point on the 12 step programme – I’ve heard it made a few times. I hope someone will do a substantial comparison at some point (does anyone know of one?). I don’t know about any Halifax groups – I’ve forwarded your message to a Halifax based Stoic though – hopefully he will get in touch!
Is there anything more wonderful than a Scottish accent? I could listen to you read the phone book. Remember those?
I think this video is EXCELLENT! I am a beginner with stoicism and it seems to me that the team have come up with a fantastic way to take us to some core ideas essential to get us novices to get in touch with it. The extracts from verses etc delivered at exactly the right pace inclines the mind beautifully first thing in the morning. Thank you!
I agree its heavy going and fortunately started on my days off work otherwise i doubt i would have got started.The fundamental ideas are good though and I’m taking what I can out of. I am a Scot so love the accent.
Feeling unstoppable and more and more motivated …go Zeno go…
Thank you. Very interesting and not heavy going at all. Please don’t dumb it down!!
[…] you used the guided video meditation for the early morning reflection? How was […]
Hi . The previous posts indicate that there is a wide range of
interst which I find heartening . I am a psychotherapist and have done a fair amount of reading and some practice of stoicism previously.
It seems to me that stoic week has to present ideas which are complex, but in a manner which will encourage development. Some words will be unfamiliar but I think that is part of personal development.
I was interested in the comments and exchange regarding Buddhism and Stoiicsm . I think that ther is an important point to raise that stoicism is a significant element of ancient greek philosophy which has shaped the western view of the world without very much reference to it in western education.I have listened to some thereapeutic resources which draw upon buddhism, but find that the stoic thread fits better personally with my sense of where I am in the. world and where my cultural connections are.
A very late reply, I admit, but I read the replies for the first time. Please allow me to say that I think there is in Buddhism no such thing as reincarnation. The Buddha denies the existence of a self (anatman). Buddhism teaches rebirth, and that is quite different. My congratulations to the team of Stoicism Today. Keep up the good work.
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