Epictetus on the ruling center, reflections, and reality

For Epictetus, just as a doctor works on the human body and the farmer works on the land, the good person works on her “ruling center.” Some other ways to think of this ruling center: the rational, enlightened mind, the capacity we have for examining our knee-jerk reactions and determining whether they are based on…

Stoicism for crises

It has been an eventful, challenging past few months. I have been wondering for a while how Stoicism would help me deal with an actual crisis--but to be honest, I fell short of wishing for a crisis to come so that I could be tested. I’m soft, and it’s the holiday season. Needless to say,…

Stoicism and Anna Karenina

I am reading Anna Karenina and have come across a few passages that remind me of the Stoic mindset. The first, describing the landowner Levin, strikes me as a good example of someone drawing on inner strength and outward-directed goals to lead a fulfilling life.  Levin is caught in a hailstorm while riding on horseback; while…

Daily Stoic exercises for beginners

From reading the Stoics we notice their emphasis on spiritual "training" to strengthen the character and enable one to endure difficulties with equanimity. What exactly did they mean by this training, also referred to as spiritual exercises? Is it enough to read the Stoics and apply what we learn there to situations as they arise? Or…