How to be a Stoic

Posted: February 2, 2015 in Musings, Philosophy
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How to be a Stoic

In every culture we know of, whether it be secular or religious, cosmopolitan or tribal, the question of how to live is central.
How should we handle life’s challenges and vicissitudes?
How should we conduct ourselves in the world and treat others? And the ultimate question:
How do we best prepare to die?
The practice of Stoicism is not really that different from, say, practicing Buddhism (or even certain forms of modern Christianity):
it is a mix of reflecting on theoretical precepts, reading inspirational texts, and engaging in meditation, mindfulness, and so on.
Thousands of people participated in the third annual Stoic Week organised by a team at the University of Exeter.
The goal of Stoic Week is twofold: on the one hand, to get people to learn about Stoicism and how it can be relevant to their lives; on the other hand, to collect systematic data to see whether practicing Stoicism actually does make a difference to people’s lives.
Stoicism was born in Hellenistic Greece, very much as a practical philosophy, one that became popular during the Roman Empire, and that vied over centuries for cultural dominance with the other Greek schools. Eventually, Christianity emerged, and actually incorporated a number of concepts and even practices of Stoicism. Even today, the famous Serenity Prayer recited at Alcoholic Anonymous meetings is an incarnation of a Stoic principle enunciated by Epictetus: “What, then, is to be done? To make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it naturally happens.” (“Discourses”)… continued in article…

Meditation, mindfulness and focus on virtue make up the core of Stoic practice.



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