Meditations

Sunrise-On-SeaSome useful resources to understand and practice Stoicism on your own, including collections of quotes for meditations and aids to spiritual exercises.

I keep a personal collection of favorite quotes from the ancient Stoics, to reflect on during the morning meditation, or at any time I need to reach for the wisdom and insights of the Greco-Romans. Here are the pdf versions of the entries so far:

I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to coherently and sustainably visualize things in my mind’s eye. Which makes it difficult to do some of the visualization exercises recommended by Stoics. So here is a slide show (8′ 25″) that helps me do the “view from above” (see Robertson’s Stoicism and the Art of Happiness, chapter 10). The background music is Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A, K 622, Adagio.

I have also built a similar slide show to aid me in the “expanding circle of concern” visualization (“Hierocles’ circle, see chapter 5 in Robertson). There isn’t much point in sharing it, because it is customized to my personal needs, but you can build your own by following something like this template:

<slide 1> “Oikeiôsis, the perception of something as one’s own, as belonging to oneself / When that something is humanity itself, oikeiôsis is the beginning of justice”
<slide 2> a picture of Hierocles’ circle (you can find one here)
<slide 3> a picture of yourself
<slide 4> a picture of your partner, if you have one
<slide 5> close members of your family
<slide 6> less close members of your family
<slide 7> close friends
<slide 8> less close friends and/or acquaintances
<slide 9> a picture of a crowd in your city (“fellow citizens”)
<slide 10> a picture of a crowd in another place in your country (“fellow countrymen”)
<slide 11> one or more pictures of people from other parts of the world (“mankind as a whole”).

It’s easy to come up with one’s own variations, or add more slides to each subset (e.g., 2-3 slides of close friends, rather than one). Add some suitable background music, save, and occasionally watch the resulting video (I recommend a total length between 5 and 10 minutes).

For similar, and additional, guided meditation exercises, check out this excellent page from Stoicism Today and download the audio files and scripts provided there.