Month: September 2018

philosophy, Psychology, Self development

The present moment, willingness for action


2 Comments

Staying in the present moment is hard.

It is hard because it’s complex and contradictory. You will suffer, but you will also enjoy life, and all in the present moment, always.

2700It’s easy to be in the present moment when we are enjoying ourselves, hell, you don’t even notice you are present when you are having fun, that is why time simply flies.

When we are experiencing discomfort, however, it’s easier to let our minds shelter themselves in the comfort of  “when this happens or passes, then I’ll be good/happy/safe”. In illusion, it seems to be a better place to dwell, the imaginary mind.

Dwelling in imagination, more often than not, brings more pain and more discomfort.

Living in the present moment all the time gives you the ability to work with reality as it is without wishful thinking, it will permit you also to be pragmatic and intelligent in your decisions as you will not be self-deceived by what you “wish were true” and instead with what is true in real life.

Living in the present moment may not be fun all the time but why do you want comfort all the time? Isn’t it better to “suck the marrow of life”? To live fully and with courage, to live without regret, knowing that you stood there, in rain or sun, in fortune or misfortune?

Merely “focusing in the present moment” is hard as I already said. The Buddhist philosophy has a lot to say in this manner and Stoic philosophy can be aided with some of its practices.

Buddhist advice for staying in the present moment

“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, “Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?” You’ll be embarrassed to answer.

Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you. Only the present—and even that can be minimized. Just mark off its limits. And if your mind tries to claim that it can’t hold out against that…well, then, heap shame upon it.” Marcus Aurelius 

The stoic advice for living in the present moment is: “just focus on the present moment”,Cy_Med “focus on the task at hand”. This is not enough in my opinion.

The mind is always thinking about something, always, that is its job.

It’s hard to focus on the present moment if you have no training at all to do so, it may be the best practice, but how can you become good at being in the present moment, no matter what?

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Buddha

Become aware of your breath.

When you become aware of your breath, you automatically shift your attention at something that anchors you to the present moment. We are breathing all the time, every second of our existence we breathe and this is why it is so helpful to remind us of being right here, right now.

Meditation is just practicing focus. But you need something to focus on and the breath, being there all the time, is the perfect anchor for the present moment.

Each time you realize that you are not putting attention on your breath anymore, you just shift your attention back to it.

This way, you can practice staying at the present moment all the time. Training your mind to become better at “dealing with the task at hand” as Marcus proposed.

Action and courage to live.

Living in the present moment is not for the weak and the faint-hearted. It requires courage. It requires the courage to accept and deal with everything that is existing at the moment. Being bored or being exited, it doesn’t matter, we should always be with existence as a whole.

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Modern problems

Stop the courting


1 Comment

The age of trying to be liked by others must come to an end, now, it is hurting not only ourselves but others as well.

There is an interesting passage in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, Self-reliance, which states:

The nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner, and would disdain asGm_0391 0002
much as a lord to do or say aught to conciliate one, is the healthy attitude
of human nature. A boy is in the parlour what the pit is in the playhouse;
independent, irresponsible, looking out from his corner on such people and
facts as pass by, he tries and sentences them on their merits, in the swift,
summary way of boys, as good, bad, interesting, silly, eloquent, troublesome.
He cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an
independent, genuine verdict. You must court him: he does not court you.

You must court him, he does not court you. This is pure gold.

When I first read Emerson, I thought he was being kind of a douchebag by saying this, but in reality, what happens today is that falseness, is now the rule. This “nonchalance” of the boys at the parlor reminiscences of what it means to be “real”.

When you are trying to court someone, be it your boss, your spouse or your friends, you are not doing it out of a genuine place. You are doing it because you are trying to get something out of that courting. Most of the times that are approved, which approval is, plainly, asking for other people’s permission to exist, which is simply detestable.

The nonchalance has to be reclaimed, a compliment must be made out of respect and true meaning, not just to reciprocate likes on facebook.

Stop the courting and let them court you.

albert-camus-biblioteca_tonaAt least, from this standpoint, you will stop acting in order to be liked, and you will focus on your own work and on your own things. Do it for you and do it for us as well. You are the only unique person that can bring us your original work, but if you preoccupy yourself for court all the time, you will not do what you think is cool, but what you think others think is cool, and that is no longer cool.  Praised or unpraised, it doesn’t matter, you owe your best work and best self, nothing else matters.

God will not have his
work made manifest by cowards.

Ralph Waldo Emmerson

 

Subscribe and receive for free the Askesis ebook to further develop your practice of stoicism. 

Subscribe here

Visit our Patreon page for more stoic, Patreon only content. Thanks.

Support Stoic Answers

Stoic answers is committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious stoic contemporary thinking. No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the great ancient Stoics and contemporary knowledge, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

$10.00