"If you live in harmony with nature you will never be poor; if you live according what others think, you will never be rich." — Seneca
Stoicism today is not an indifference to emotion or pain. Stoicism is not a religion. Stoicism is a holistic practice and a mindful way of living life. Stoicism teaches that the true road to happiness, living life fully and moral goodness is through achieving control over one's emotions, while simultaneously realizing that some things in this world are beyond our control, and through living life rationally. The DailyStoic puts it simply, "Stoicism is a pursuit of happiness achieved through an ease of mind that comes from living a life of virtue in accordance with reason and nature."
Stoics value introspection and contemplative meditation. Three areas of thoughtful study are embraced by stoics, which when practiced, lead the stoic to genuine fulfilled happiness and contentment. These areas are:
PHYSICS - This is the study of the natural world through all of the hard sciences including physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, genetics and others as well. Genuine reason-based metaphysics is also included. The aim is to live life according to reason, through which we gain knowledge.
LOGIC - This is the study of the softer sciences including psychology, sociology, economics, history and others. The aim is to learn to better understand the knowledge we gain, and to flourish as we live our lives in the world. Stoics aim for a state of apatheia (a state of being without distracting excitement or emotion, in order to think and reason clearly and correctly, to work toward a life of virtue, and to become a complete person with a good life). Stoics thoughtfully examine our emotions at their essence, without letting them interfere with our goals through illogical expression. Emotions are not suppressed by stoics; on the contrary, their energy is transformed to achieve an ever more essential inner calmness and equanimity.
ETHICS - Stoics nurture four great virtues: courage, self-control (equanimity), justice and wisdom.
Some daily practices of stoics include:
Daily Mediation on the four cardinal virtues - to act with self-restraint when it is appropriate, to be just toward others, to face painful or difficult circumstances with courage, and to choose and act wisely.
Consider some misfortune (like losing one's job) and mindfully transforming the feelings brought up by that idea with 'dispreferred indifference' (meaning it is preferred not to happen, but if it does happen, it won't affect one's worth or moral value). One's focus is not on the misfortune, but on the transformation of one's emotional reaction.
Ongoing Mindfulness - recognizing that every decision has a moral dimension.
Study - Physics (Nature), Logic (Reason), Ethics (Relationships)
Journal Keeping - to review events of the day and to recognize progress as one walks the path of the stoic.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” ― Marcus Aurelius