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…

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…

Looking at “the thing behind the appearance”: examining “phantasiai” and finding calm

Happy Stoic Week! One of this week’s morning meditation passages, from Marcus Aurelius, reads in part: There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind, especially if he has within himself the kind of thoughts that let him dip into them and so at once gain…

Epictetus’ Handbook: Three Ways to Readjust your Thinking

Epictetus’ Handbook* is ancient wisdom for the modern attention span. I am perpetually juggling work and home responsibilities and tend to have ten half-read books on my nightstand. It is not a badge of honor, but a curse. I have read only a few of the Discourses but have actually read all of the Handbook. It spans…

Drive Like a Stoic

  This past weekend I spent eight hours in a car with my little boy. I had plenty of opportunities to practice virtue and temperance, but I could have done with fewer. It was at times a sweaty-palms, white-knuckles experience, but it made me think about Stoic philosophy and how driving is a metaphor for…