Stoic Zen; 10 Crucial Life Lessons from Ancient Eastern and Western Philosophy
Meditation is a place to view consciousness in its entirety, to see problems as they arise, and to watch them pass. Through it, is easier to see that all those who do bad things, small or big, are like ourselves except in different stages of development.
Knowing that and that we all need to minimize problems, achieve our desires and cooperate makes it easier to accept and deal with things as they come.
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Education is largely the process of removing fears, be it of ideas, people or happenings. Ignorance is not bliss, as the mind will invent explanations that are far more terrible than reality.
Keep learning, learn about the world, about yourself, and continue to contemplate.
Chaos is the natural state of the universe. There are more ways things can go wrong than ways things can go right. But chaos is a potential threat and that’s why we like orderly and ordering things.
Understand that there will always be problems in your life. Don’t expect to solve every problem or to always do the right thing. Simply do the best in your power, but don’t try so hard that you create more problems than solve.
The Stoics realized that morality is simply wisdom in actions. Being good is not an arbitrary, aesthetic choice. It is a practical, wise thing to do and involves being truthful, fair, cooperative and accepting of challenges and outcomes.
“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
There are always things out of place in our life, seriously contemplating our existence tends to make us feel slightly alien to this world. Taken to an extreme, it leads to existential depression.
The simple fact of the matter is that nothing is out of place. It is simply human nature to create problems to solve.
All feelings are the brain’s way of guessing what’s the world around us and what dangers it may pose. Emotions, especially fear, are extremely practical in keeping us alive, but our sedentary lifestyle confuses these emotions.
We can create our own fears and delusions to the point where most of our fears become completely imaginary. See the world as it really is, observe its constituent parts, and it loses its power over you.
Most things are outside of our control, and if you were responsible for everything in your life you would also be responsible for every negative part of it.
Focus on making the most reasonable, logical decisions possible over what you can control and forget the rest.
“It is quite impossible to unite happiness with a yearning for what we don’t have. Happiness has all that it wants, and resembling the well-fed, there shouldn’t be hunger or thirst.”
Life rarely goes according to plan and desired things often fail to deliver the satisfaction we expect of them. Freedom isn’t found by filling up on your desires, by removing your desires, especially desires of grandeur.
So approach the world with a grateful attitude. It is not wrong to be rich or famous, it is simply risky and irresponsible to base your happiness on achieving such goals.
“Two elements must be rooted out once and for all:
The fear of future suffering, and the recollection of past suffering.
Since the latter no longer concerns me, and the former concerns me not yet.”
Not living in the moment is what brings anxiety and regret to our lives. Unless necessary, put out of your mind what is to come and what has been. Those are often unnecessary to satisfy most of our present needs.
We are in constant search of something to concern ourselves with, and this can be stimulating and enjoyable. But solving problems for eternity is bound to eventually become hell.
Even if you believe in an afterlife, whatever vessel you inhabit in the afterlife will not be you; it will be a different existence. Simply remember that you will die; enjoy your problems while you can because they will eventually be lifted.
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Stoicism is about accepting the facts as they are and then deciding what you’re going to do about them. Nobody recommends denial. Accept. And then do something.
Beliefs about events do. Bad feelings are caused by irrational beliefs, so if you’re feeling negative emotions, focus on the belief you hold about what happens.
For stoics there is no good or bad, there’s only perception. And you control perception.
Ignore the rest. We worry about things that we have no control over. But worrying never fixed anything.
The stoics are saying that if you focus your energy on what you can change, you’re going to be a lot more productive and effective.
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