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(Dr. Alkistis Agio, Trainer, Author of FEAR TO FREEDOM)
In today's guided meditation, we reflect on the wise words of Pericles of Athens who said that "Freedom is not a matter of possessing the ability to control or impact the events of our lives. It is about being free from the frustration and pain that comes from wanting events to occur other than they do." This wisdom sounds remarkably like the Stoic concept of "Dichotomy of Control".
'The ‘Dichotomy of Control’, is a central idea that the Stoics held and practiced. Epictetus, one of the main Stoic philosophers taught:
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals and not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own.”
(Discourses, 2.5, 4-5)
Thanks for watching; If you'd like to help support this channel, please consider donating to her PATREON page here: https://www.patreon.com/alkistis.
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Are you feeling fearful, angry, frustrated or anxious lately? It often takes a ‘sudden event’; A failed marriage or enterprise... Being laid off from a top-earning job... A public failure... The death of a loved one... or A personal health scare (Covid19)...to cause you to deeply reflect about what really brings you fulfillment in this one precious life you have been given. The bigger questions then confront you head on:
The ‘sudden event’ catalyst causes a personal inventory about what is truly important, what is out of alignment, and what changes you need to make...In reality, you don't need to wait for a sudden event to jolt you into this much needed personal soul-searching-My webinars are designed to help you transform your fear into freedom. Input your details to find out more about how you can join on ANY WEDNESDAY. Click here to join & ask your question https://www.alkistis.net/freedom.html
Today, we listen to a deeply relaxing guided meditation, where we focus on the lesson of the great statesman, Pericles...Pericles lifted Athens fifth century BC Athens, into a golden age through his support of the arts, architecture, philosophy, and democracy building...He said,
"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others..." Pericles continued, "Freedom is not a matter of possessing the ability to control or impact the events of our lives — it is about being free from the frustration and pain that comes from wanting events to occur other than they do"...
Sit back and relax:
In today's guided meditation, we reflect on the quote of Marcus Aurelius,
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”
That was a personal reminder to continue living a life of virtue NOW, and not wait.
You’ve heard it said before—probably many times—that it’s important to live in the present moment. In our current twenty-first century lives, it’s not easy. There’s always something coming up that we need to prepare for or anticipate, and our lives are so well-documented that it’s never been easier to get lost in the past.
Given the fast pace and hectic schedules most of us keep, a base level of anxiety, stress, and unhappiness is the new norm. You may not even realize it, but this tendency to get sucked into the past and the future can leave you perpetually worn out and feeling out of touch with yourself.
The cure for this condition is the daily #Stoic practice of #MementoMori , which means reflecting on our own inevitable mortality. No, it's not morbid, its magnanimous - you stop being 'petty', you see the bigger picture of your life.
This is what #Plato called, "The view from above". This is how to be free.
The famous Stoic philosopher Epictetus lived as a slave and then as a free man in Ancient Rome. He is one of the more important stoics. He said that the only thing we can control is our thoughts as they are internal. We cannot control the external world.
A great question to ask to ourselves is based on the dichotomy of control. What things are within our control and that things are without our control. The answers are valuable to our personal development.
The ‘Dichotomy of Control’, is a central idea that the Stoics held and practiced. It is also the original concept behind the Christian Serenity Prayer,
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.
This week, be extra vigilant about this practice and see how it will transform your reality almost magically!
PS. If you liked today's vlog, make sure you support our work onwww.patreon.com/alkistis and you will receive more gifts!
We colloquially use the term ‘stoic’ to describe someone who remains calm under pressure, and avoids emotional extremes. Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy, developed by Zeno, who was inspired by the teachings of Socrates. It was later adopted by the Romans.
Today there is a movement called the Modern Stoicism. Stoicism is a valuable “operating system” for life. It offers a solution for modern people, who want to have a “moral compass ” based on humanist values & principles, without the need for religion or priests. It’s the original ’self-help’ philosophy, and it can help you to overcome anxiety (especially Covid-related 'drama')
Stoicism centres around relentlessly focusing on what you can control, & ignoring what you can’t. This seems simple & straightforward — and that’s because it is. It’s not ground-breaking. It’s not complex. It’s clear and simple- so anyone can practice it. As Epictetus taught over two thousand years ago:
“Just keep in mind — the more we value things outside our control,
the less control we have.”
For example, if it’s snowing outside, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it’s all relative to how you view it, and how well-prepared you are for the snow. One this is certain you can’t control the snowfall. Stoics are grown-ups. We are realists; we don’t wine & complain about stuff. We focus on what we can affect, which are mainly our own thoughts & actions. Stoicism gives us back the power, offering equanimity & inner peace in the face of life's highs and lows.
They believed that humanity’s greatest asset is a functional mind, and to exercise reason is the most virtuous pursuit.
They didn’t believe in gods and mysticism or magic...As mature adults, Stoics take full responsibility for their life, and they base their views on science, logic & reason.
You might ask, where does love fit into this equation?
Stoics believe that if we all thought more rationally, there would be more love, peace & justice for all. In fact long before Jesus Christ taught about love, the Greek philosophers taught that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. Why? Because it makes sense:
We all benefit when we don’t behave irrationally or egotistically.
Regarding Fear, Epictetus taught that,
“Men are disturbed, not by things,
but by the view which they take of them.”
Like all other emotions, Stoics consider fear as a subjective judgement. It’s not a true, objective representation of the external environment- rather, it is a personal evaluation of external circumstances.
So, what lessons can the Stoics teach us to counter fear?
For example with regards the Corona Virus.
First : Knowledge is power. (especially scientific facts)
With COVID-19, it means understanding things like how the virus spreads, what the symptomatic range is, and how simple measures like social distancing & hand-washing can dramatically alter the impact of the virus on a population.
Second: Don’t Dramatize things. Describe things as objectively as you can. Stick to the facts.
When we remove the heavy load of our emotional judgements, it improves our ability to deal with our circumstances like mature adults.
Third: Let go of trying to control external circumstances.
This means doing everything that is under your control to not fall sick, and then willingly accepting the consequences if you do.
About Illness Marcus Aurelius taught…
“If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining.”
In other words: “Keep calm & Suck it up”.
Complaining or talking about your illness will not do anything.
It won’t change your circumstances, and it won’t make you feel any better.
If anything, you will feel a vicious cycle of self-pity, frustration, and anger.
How do the Stoics easily accept illness?
We practice Cognitive Distance “Ataraxia”
Ataraxia is a Greek word that means to be ‘unshakable’. Essentially, it means
we Stoics create separation between our mind and our ailments by dis-association: Instead of saying “I am sick” we say, “My body is sick.”
It’s a subtle difference, but it significantly changes how we view our illness and its impact on our quality of life.
By doing so, we maintain a functioning, rational mind without succumbing to the “noise” of our physical health. We Stoics also meditate on our death every day.
“Memento Mori” is the Stoic practice of meditating on the inevitability of our death and the transience of our life.
This may sound like an depressing idea.
But ‘Memento Mori’ actually helps us to live in the here & now, as Marcus Aurelius taught: “Be happy for this moment.This moment is your life.”
Of course, this is all much easier said than done. It requires ‘prosoche’ , the Greek word for ‘Mindfulness’.
The result is inner peace & harmony & isn’t that what we all really want?
For more information and to download a free summary of my book, “From Fear To Freedom” click on my website: www.alkistis.net
According to The ALKISTIS Method, there are 3 filters we must pass our thoughts and beliefs through before allowing them to dwell in our minds: This is based on the timeless system of Aristotle, who taught leaders including Alexander the Great on how to be a great influencer of people.
These 3 filters are:
Today we look at "The Three Disciplines or areas of application of Stoic philosophy:
The Discipline of Assent. (Greek: Sunkatathesis)
This has to do with how we allow ourselves to perceive the world around us. When we control our perceptions, we get mental clarity; the ability to assent to true impressions, dissent from false ones, and suspend our judgment (epoché ie Greek for ‘suspension of judgment’) toward uncertain ones. It concerns how we should judge our impressions so as not to be carried away by them into anxiety or disturbing emotions.
The Discipline of Will (Greek: Orexis)
This has to do with how we align and apply our will with the course of Nature; A wise person would seek to harmonize his inner Logos, with the greater cosmic Logos, just like a musician attunes his/her instrument to the symphony orchestra. When we do this, we can deal with anything the world puts before us.
The Discipline of Action. (Greek: Hormê) This has to do with the actions we take or do not take towards a desired outcome; when we direct our actions properly and justly, we are effective and get results. The discipline has to do with the development of the skill to take the right action (Kathekon), at the right time (Kairós), for the right reason (Orthos logos). Vincit qui se vincit. (Stoic motto, Latin: He conquers, who conquers himself) Let’s look at how these three main disciplines would look in practice in today's video.
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