‘The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.’
The main aim of Stoic Philosophy?
The attainment of tranquility.
The main aim of this blog?
To share with our brothers some of the best meditations from the last true nice guy of Roman Emeprordom.
Let’s find out a little more about this chilled-out, robed-up hero.
He kept a journal with him wherever he went, so he’s immediately an ancient winner with yogis, right?
He penned his philosophy from personal experience and learnt from Stoic sages like Zeno of Citium, Seneca, Musonius Rufus and Epicetus. His philosophical diary became known as ‘Meditations’ and we’ve pilfered some of his best bits to see what he was banging on about back then in the BC.
Basically, Marcus wrote: good looks, fame, wealth and stature are bobbins and completely out of our control. Hot blokes get old and wrinkly, billionaires get skint and the masses grow tired of famous-heads. Instead of external hullabaloo that we can’t change, let’s focus on what we can change, and master our own mind.
Realise the fleeting time that you have. ‘Love only what happens’, he says, because there is ‘no greater harmony.’ So be alive and switch on to every second.
‘It’s not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.’ Shed light on what really counts. Know you’ll clog it one day and tick-off your bucket-list - starting now.
‘I’ve often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.’ Screw petty comparisons and sort your own ship.
‘The object in life is not to side with the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.’ Welcome to our daily battle. Make your own minds up, gents because most folks are totes mental
‘Is your cucumber bitter? Throw it away.’ Quit your job or find a way to make it more palatable. Nobody needs a moaner so take positive action and be a hero.
‘The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.’ Choose how to interpret the guff other people spout about you. It isn’t the insult that hurts but our stories about it.
‘A man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for.’ Find your gift and work out how best to share it with others. Not only that, ‘Let every action aim solely at the common good.’
‘Excellence withers without an adversary,’ says Marcus’s Stoic Philosophy sage, Seneca. See problems as mountains to climb rather than pits to fall into. Get up there, son.
‘Life is by what you deem it.’ Look at all things with a positive slant. Everything’s an opportunity for growth, brothers. Make it so.
‘Let it be clear to you that the pace of green fields can be yours in this, that, or any other spot.’ Roll out your mat and meditate. You’ve made it. You’re home
‘If thou wouldst know contentment, let thy deeds be few.’ Cut out superfluous crap. Ask yourself if this task is essential. Learn how to say no and say it often.
‘Reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess.’ Meditate on the things you’re glad you have. This is one of our absolute all-time best ways to feel better now.
Well he would say that, wouldn’t he? But try it for yourself. Why not behave as a Stoic Philosopher for a week. Carry a journal like Marcus and leave us a comment of how you get on.
Stoics - like Marcus – took a problem-focused and action-orientated approach to mental health. Stoic Philosophy hopes to improve wellness and behaviour by challenging and changing unhelpful attitudes, thoughts and beliefs to develop coping strategies. It’s actually the fundamental philosophy behind Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) so he seems to have had some kind of a point.
It’s not all roses and unicorns, though. Read this Angie Hobbs article that claims Stoic philosophy can lead to excessive passivity and it argues Stoicism could be too sweeping in pigeonholing human emotion.
Where did the world come from? Why did God make the universe? Where do people go when they die? What’s the best way to live?
Like deep conversations you have with your bezzies - looking up at the stars with a cold one - we’re nailing all the biggies here at So We Flow. Over 12 months we’re sharing 12 distinct philosophies for men. From Socrates to Chomsky and from Patanjali to Adyashanti, we delve into play, courage, non-duality, hope and more. Together, we’ll make total sense of this cosmic soup.
So stay present and stay tuned, brothers of the Flow.
For more Yogic Philosophy check out:
So We Flow Journal – Find Courage With Osho
So We Flow Journal – Lift Your Spirit With Alan Watts
So We Flow Journal – Know Thyself with Socrates
So We Flow Journal – Believe with AC Grayling
To conclude, of course it’s useful to change our attitudes to some things that we can’t change. And concentration on the development of a virtue rather than wealth or status is liberating. But study other philosophies too, maybe ones that don’t differentiate so much between what’s good and what’s bad.
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