As a practitioner of Stoicism, I’m always looking for ways to cement the Stoic principles into my daily life.
I read, absorb, take notes and repeat in order to learn. Then I attempt to practice what I’ve learned by applying the lessons to specific situations and decisions every day. I try to follow the virtuous path and have “good” guide me.
I produced this daily Stoic routine to capture common scenarios where Stoicism can be applied and to turn good intentions into good habits.
The Stoics were known for their daily practices, including journaling, mentally preparing for the day in the morning, and mentally reviewing the day in the evening and so we’ve come to copy their exact acts.
What we’ve also done in modern times is use their practices to create new ones. A great example of this is Stoic mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation, of course, is nothing new; apps like Headspace and Calm have exploded in popularity in recent years and encouraged many new habitual meditators.
But what are the options for those who want to use meditation to further integrate Stoicism into their way of thinking and how well do the two disciplines combine?
Here are three options, at varying degrees of commitment, that I have personally found useful. (Note: these recommendations are based on personal use, I have no affiliate connection to these services.)
The View From Above
Creator: Donald Robertson
Description: Recording of meditation script based on the ancient philosophical meditation called “The View from Above” by modern scholars.
This meditation is based on the following passage from Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations (9.30):
“Look down from above on the countless gatherings and countless ceremonies, and every sort of voyage in storm and calm, and the disputes between those being born, living together, and dying.
Think also of the life that was lived by others long ago, and that will be lived after you, and that is being lived now in other countries; think of how many don’t know your name at all, how many will quickly forget it, how many who – perhaps praising you now – will soon be finding fault.
Realize that being remembered has no value, nor does your reputation, nor anything else at all.”
I see this meditation as providing a quick blast of perspective when needed. Take 20 minutes to fully immerse in it when life feels frustrating or overwhelming and you’ll find you soon calm down.
7-Day Anxiety-Melting Stoic Meditation Course
Creator: Jon Brooks
Description: Series of 7 audio recordings available via insighttimer.com. Each lesson features a core Stoicism technique that can be used specifically to ease anxiety.
Cost: $20 for one-off course purchase or $59.99 for yearly membership to Insight Timer
Jon Brooks is the presenter of the Stoic Handbook podcast which also features occasional guided meditations. In this course, hosted on the meditation site Insight Timer, Jon uses Stoic principles in seven dedicated sessions to specifically tackle anxiety.
I found the course to be a refreshing approach not only to anxiety, but also to Stoicism and meditation. Each session provides a fresh perspective and calmly guides the listener through a logical thought process to deal with various anxious feelings.
The lessons are:
- Day 1: “What If Technique” to uncover the source of your anxiety
- Day 2: Maxim creation to cut through the chaos and return to peace
- Day 3: Mindfulness of sensations to shift anxiety from enemy to ally
- Day 4: View from above to gain perspective and reframe the narrative
- Day 5: Premeditation of adversity to build resilience and heal anxiety
- Day 6: The Amor Fati formula for deep acceptance of what is
- Day 7: The final contemplation to annihilate core fears
Knowing how anxiety feels, I thought Jon got this course spot-on. The lessons are effectively evergreen allowing the listener to return to them again and again, something I have personally done since first trying the course.
Overall, a worthwhile course if you’d like to use Stoic principles to understand and process feelings of anxiety in a logical way.
Creator: Caleb Ontiveros
Description: Practical meditation app which includes more than 45 hours of content on Stoic theory and exercises.
Cost: $69.99 per year or $9.99 per month
Stoa was created by Caleb Ontiveros and is featured on Product Hunt. For some background on Caleb’s motivations for creating Stoa, check out this interview I did with him.
The app presents a well-rounded package which combines a large library of meditations with other audio content such as interviews with modern Stoics and lessons about ancient Stoics.
Guided meditations include:
- Morning/Evening Routine
- View from Above
- Memento Mori
Stoa is the ideal app for building a Stoic mindfulness habit as it features a daily meditation in addition to the collection of meditations that can be accessed at any time. As with any habit, starting small is key and crucially nothing about Stoa feels overwhelming in the beginning.
What Is Stoicism? Daily Meditations
Creator: What Is Stoicism?
Description: Guided meditations to help you start your day in the morning, reset in the afternoon, and review in the evening.
I created these meditations as check-ins to be used at key points in the day. Drawing from Stoic wisdom, they help you set good intentions at the beginning of your day, gain perspective half-way through your day, and calmly reflect at the end of your day.
Using the list at the link above, you can access both the audio and text versions of the meditations. There are also visual versions in this YouTube playlist.
Whatever your level of commitment, hopefully you’ve found a useful resource here to get you started – happy meditating!