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…

Why Rushing Through Life Makes You Less Likely to Help Others

I am happy to present a guest post this week from one of my favorite bloggers, Leah Goldrick. Leah became a practicing Stoic as a result of her ongoing inquiry into the Western wisdom traditions. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. She used…

Stoicism as Self-Help: A Bad Thing?

As you may be aware, Stoicism is hot these days. Some practicing Stoics appear to be view this as a non-preferred indifferent [1]. Rather than feel threatened or un-stoically irritated by it, modern Stoics should keep their chins up--or better, down, to peruse their Stoic texts and ignore the trend, which will likely die down…

Epictetus’ “Of Tranquility”: Don’t be a slave, exercise your prohairesis

In his discourse “Of Tranquility” (2.2), Epictetus frames his general advice, that we should keep in mind what is up to us and what is not, using the analogy of someone about to litigate a dispute in court. He advises his listeners to “consider . . . what you wish to maintain and what you…