Two Practices From The Stoic Philosophy (IM 965)

Marcus Aurelius in his journal, which later became a book Meditations (More Lessons From Meditations) talked about stoic practices that most of us find difficult to grasp. Here are two stoic practices:

Living in accord with the virtue

This is the important exercise practiced by Marcus Aurelius. Stoic philosophy is based on the practice of “living in agreement with nature.” This means seeing things for what they are, doing what we can and enduring and bearing what we must.

He said:

No carelessness in action. No confusion in your words. No impression in your thoughts. No retreating in your soul or trying to escape it.— Marcus Aurelius

He further said in Book Eight to stick to what is in front you – the idea, action, utterance … The idea is to live life with purpose, do things with purpose –  not rashly or at random. For every action, he said-  ‘Ask: How does it affect me? Could I change my mind about it?”

Give up the judgement

We are to quick to judge anything and anyone. Most of the suffering comes from the judgement not from the suffering itself. Marcus said:

If thou are pained by any external thing, it is not the thing that disturbs thee, but thine own judgment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgment now. — Marcus Aurelius

Epictetus once said,Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.”  It is our judgement that disturbs us the must. So, the end of suffering lies in giving up the judgment and accepting the things as it is.

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