7 Days into Daily Stoic
As I said before in A Key to a Peaceful Morning, I start my day with some kind of meditation. Yesterday, I found a new discounted meditation book in the Kindle store (pros of an eBook reader XD), the title is ‘The Daily Stoic’ by Ryan Holiday. While reading Filosofi Teras, I realized that I'm kinda intrigued to study stoicism. And today I wanted to share what I have been learning for the past week, reading ‘The Daily Stoic’ on a daily basis!
Learn how to straighten our judgment
“The essence of good is a certain kind of reasoned choice; just as the essence of evil is another kind. What about externals, then? They are only the raw material for our reasoned choice, which finds it own good or evil in working with them. How will it find the good? Not by marveling at the material! For if judgements about the material are straight that makes our choices good, but if those judgments are twisted, our choice turn bad” -Epictetus, Discourses, 1.29.1-3
Today I learned that, if you wanted to seek steadiness, stability, and tranquility, you mustn’t eliminate what others say or locked yourself in your room. Instead, We need to filter on how we see the outside world through the straightener of our judgment. How we see the world will determine how we respond to the world.
If our judgments are crooked, then everything that follows will be crooked. If you want to be steady, if you want clarity, proper judgment is the best way.
How not to be disappointed
“For if a person shifts their caution to their own reasoned choice, they will at the same time gain the will to avoid, but if they shift their caution away from their own reasoned choices to things not under their control, seeking to avoid what is controlled by others, they will then be agitated, fearful, and unstable” - Epictetus, Discourses, 2.1.12
To achieve serenity, we do not need to be on a quiet hill, a beautiful temple, or in an expensive villa. We can achieve it everywhere, stop waiting for the ‘moment’ to come, just do it. Serenity and stability are the results of your choices and judgment, not your environment.
Serenity is the result of how we respond to things that are outta our control, and things in our control. If you seek to avoid the hard way of life, you will be disappointed. BUT, if you seek to avoid the harmful and disruptive judgments that cause those problems, you will be stable and steady wherever you happen to be.
One way to reach serenity
“Keep this thought at the ready at daybreak, and through the day and night—there is only one path to happiness, and that is in giving up all outside of your sphere of choice, regarding nothing else as your possession, surrendering all else to God and Fortune.” - Epictetus, Discourses, 4.4.39
ALWAYS aware of something that is in your control and what’s not in your control. By that, you can give less shit for the thing that’s not in your control, and protect what’s yours to control.
Remind yourself to focus on the former, not the latter. Remind yourself that the only thing you truly possess is your ability to make choices. Remind yourself that aside from the choices you make, your fate is not entirely up to you. Remind yourself again how much is outside of your control and where your choices begin and end.
Serenity will come to those who practice their mind, and body regularly. Always train your mind as hard as you train your body. By then, you might be closer and closer to achieving serenity.
What’s in our control?
“We control our reasoned choice and all acts that depend on that moral will. What’s not under our control are the body and any of its parts, our possessions, parents, siblings, children, or country—anything with which we might associate.” -Epictetus, Discourses, 1.22.10
One might wonder, what is inside our control, and what’s outside our control. The answer is rather simple, the circle of control contains just one thing: YOUR MIND. That’s it. Nothing else is in our control. There is clarity in simplicity.
You’ve just got one thing to manage: your choices, your will, and your mind. So please choose your thoughts carefully.
“Understand at last that you have something in you more powerful and divine than what causes the bodily passions and pull you like a mere puppet. What thoughts now occupy my mind? Is it not fear, suspicion, desire, or something like that?” - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 12.19
Nowadays, distraction is not a mere simple thing. It's everywhere; smartphones, video games, the internet, and even our environment. These are just a small slice of the temptations and forces acting on us—distracting us and pulling us away from the things that truly matter. Every human being is pulled by these internal and external forces that are increasingly more powerful and harder to resist.
So how do we overcome our addiction? Simply by cutting the strings that pulled your mind, in our case, it's the smartphones. Limit your daily screen time for like 2hr daily. By that, you will have more time to use your mind for what it was created for; to create. Sure, paying attention requires work and awareness, but isn’t that better than being jerked about on a string?
What to do when we are lost?
“Tranquility can’t be grasped except by those who have reached an unwavering and firm power of judgment—the rest constantly fall and rise in their decisions, wavering in a state of alternately rejecting and accepting things. What is the cause of this back and forth? It’s because nothing is clear and they rely on the most uncertain guide—common opinion.” - Seneca, Moral Letters, 95.57b-58a
Sometimes, we are in doubt whether we are on the right path or not. There is a greek word that might be helping, euthymia. Seneca defines this as “believing in yourself and trusting that you are on the right path, and not being in doubt by following the myriad footpaths of those wandering in every direction.” It is this state of mind, he says, that produces tranquility.
We often pulled out of our tranquil state many times throughout the day. All we need to do is to have the ability to return quickly. The trick is not to reach a state where you are never distracted, but to master your ability to let go of distractions when they happen and return to your intended state.
You need to break the loop
“So in the majority of other things, we address circumstances not in accordance with the right assumptions, but mostly by following wretched habit. Since all that I’ve said is the case, the person in training must seek to rise above, so as to stop seeking out pleasure and steering away from pain; to stop clinging to living and abhorring death; and in the case of property and money, to stop valuing receiving over giving.” - Musonius Rufus, Lectures, 6.25.5-11
To live our life to the fullest, we ought to venture outside of our comfort zone and into the discomfort zone. Because that’s where the growth happens. Yes, maybe it's hard for us to start leaving our comfort zone. But trust me, at the end of the day, you will be grateful that you have left your comfort zone.
Habitual actions are either to seek pleasure or avoid pain - Tony Robbins
Before doing what you do out of rote memory or routine. Ask yourself: Is this really the best way to do it? Know why you do what you do—do it for the right reasons.
At the end of the day, our life is what our thoughts make it, as Marcus Aurelius says.
After reading this book for almost a week, I feel that I gain a lot of new insight. And I’m really eager to make it into my daily practice! This book is really a life-changing book, worth my $2! Also, I recommend u guys to take a look at this daily stoic blog, I used a lot of reference from it :DD
That’s it from me guys, keep striving and always be grateful! See u on the next blog XD
- 17 toasts