Epictetus and the Art of Stoic Positivity

The Art of Stoic Positivity!

While taking a run in Marumsskogen (woods) in Sandefjord, Norway this afternoon, I finally put together a short blog about Epictetus.

Epictetus is my favorite stoic philosopher and I wanted to share my thoughts on his teachings. Furthermore, I chose to play with my thoughts for the blog while running. This would help me organize my thoughts and ideas so I could come up with creative solutions to finalize the blog writing. For instance, while running this afternoon, I thought about how Epictetus said we should focus on things within our control. Then I took courage and approached in another way to finish my long lasting short blog about Epictetus.

My blog beging as “Imagine a lush green meadow…”, though I’ve been working with ideas, re-reading books about Epictetus since March of 2023 and haven’t landed on anything until today while running – and for that I’m grateful for, and now I’m sharing this post with you!

“Imagine a lush green meadow, dawn sunlight streaming through grass blades. You are at peace, a still observer, unaffected by passing wind gusts. This state of calm tranquility, the meadow’s unflappable tranquility amidst nature’s fickle whims, is a vivid representation of Stoicism. It also exemplifies Epictetus’ teachings, a philosopher who spent the last of his life pursuing mental fortitude and self equilibrium.

Epictetus a Greek philosopher of the first century AD, was one of the most prominent Stoics. Wisdom, the highest form of virtue, is based on knowledge, according to this ancient philosophy. The main tenet of Epictetus’ philosophy can be summed up in his powerful words, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

– How one reacts to circumstances is the core of stoicism, positive mental attitude (PMA), and positive psychology! And all begins in the mind by knowing how to manage emotions …! Stoicism could be said to be the grandfather of PMA and modern psychology when it comes to regulating emotions just to name it in brief.

Imagine, for instance, that you’ve planned a picnic with your family, but the skies open up and it starts raining. Or during [this] summer of 2023 you are planning a trip to the beach and suddenly it gets dark and it starts to rain. You could feel disgruntled, let the circumstances dampen your mood, or choose to see the positive side. Maybe the rain is a chance to stay in and enjoy a cozy day indoors, complete with board games, hot chocolate, or even just watching a movie. Epictetus suggests that the second reaction, embracing what you cannot control, is the key to maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA).

Stoicism and PMA don’t just influence our mental space; they also influence our physical realm. Imagine the sense of calm and clarity you experience after a refreshing morning jog or a quiet yoga session. When your mind isn’t tangled in worry or anxiety, your body reflects ease and tranquility. This is how I felt while running through the woods, even being tired, pain on my legs and windy with drizzling rain. I felt a sense of calm and I even got more ideas for writing this blog!

An individual in tune with the Stoic mindset would see a challenging workout not as a hardship, but as an opportunity to improve and become healthier. This is a stoic way of taking a chance to push the boundaries. Even the panting breaths and muscle strains become a testament to their strength and resilience, an affirmation of their positive attitude. For instance, instead of dreading the last few reps of an exercise, take it as a challenge and an opportunity to test your own limits and grow.

Our inner dialogue influences our soul harmony as well. If we nurture our minds with Stoic wisdom, our souls will resonate with peace. Consider a serene lake, its surface smooth and unbroken. That tranquility is our soul at peace, untroubled by external circumstances, radiating positivity. The more we practice Stoic principles, the more serene our inner lake becomes.

Epictetus’s wisdom, intertwined with Stoicism and PMA principles, is timeless. It is a philosophy for every day and the future, a guidepost for individuals navigating life’s tumultuous seas. By adopting Epictetus’ teachings, we can attain a state of unshakeable calm, a Positive Mental Attitude, and most importantly, a harmony of mind, body, and soul.

Just like that meadow embracing the morning sunlight and weathering the wind, we too can shine brightly and stand tall amidst life’s challenges. It’s not the circumstances but our response to them that shapes our reality. With the shield of Stoicism and the sword of PMA, we can create our own serenity symphony. As we tap into our inner strength, we can confidently stand in our power and take on any challenge. We can create our own destiny and live a life of joy and purpose.

Final thoughts, tranquility is what I felt while running…

Stoicism provides us with tools to understand and respond to our emotions and thoughts. Combined with PMA, or Positive Mental Attitude, we can create a resilient, confident, and optimistic mindset. As a result, we become proactive in creating our own destiny by taking on challenges with courage and finding joy and purpose.

What methods do you use to find and feel tranquility in your mind, emotions and soul?

Jay Pacheco

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