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60 Days of 60 Minutes of Meditation - Let's Not Do Anything Together

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MTF

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Very Peculiar indeed. I'm guessing it's the style of meditation you chose to jump into (i.e following advice from Naval to "do nothing") instead of formally learning it could be a factor here. I actually do that style now sometimes but only after years of concentration training (breath,mantra etc) which is how it's always taught.

I tried different styles of meditation (breath and counting as well) and it just wasn't for me. I guess the biggest lesson is that meditation is NOT something EVERYONE must absolutely do.

I was into the whole david goggins type mindset and waking up at 4am a few years back, and now looking back, that was easily the most stressful time ever and turned me into a bit of an egomaniac, thinking I'm better than other people (just like goggins comes across as lol)

That's interesting because that's not my experience at all. I also don't think he comes across as an egomaniac thinking he's better. I know that behind the scenes he's super humble and respectful (that's what people who met him say).

I'd say the main difference is- Now I'm much more content with life and embracing what is, yet still continuously improving for the better. Before I was always looking to improve something yet never being satisfied for more than a short period regardless of what I achieved.

Here's the thing: for some reason I'm way more appreciative now than before during my meditation days. Maybe it's because I've been contemplating death pretty much every single day and that tends to put things into perspective.
 
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Deleted68316

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TM people say that doing too much meditation is actually counterproductive in order to live in the contemporary world. At least this is what I have heard once from people teaching it in Italy.

I find the 20 minutes in the morning and 20 in the evening a really good fit.

Especially, in the evening I notice a lot of resistance when I start meditating. A lot of nervous tics and fidgeting. Then, after a few minutes, the mind starts slowing down and I become still (sometimes more sometimes less).

NOTE: a great practice for evening meditation consists of:

1- smoking weed (indica is better for me because it works as a pain painkiller)
2- doing stretching (helped by point 1)
3- meditation. Helped by point 1 and 2. Point 1 because the classic meditating position with crossed leg can bring discomfort in the back muscles. Point 2 because stretching relaxes you greatly.

TM people say that you can just sit comfortably with your back on a chair. I find that staying straight helps mantaining the nervous system more stable (a concept that I heard from a guy teaching Alexander Technique in Hungary). Hence, more mental balance.

On top of that, staying straight, you do not fall asleep. From time to time it happened I did 30/40 minutes of meditation and completely disappeared (which is probably what TM people call "transcending").

If it helps or not in the real life, I can't tell. I think meditation it's just something that you do.
 

Mainstream7

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I guess meditation is the avenue of the transcendental(upper body). Truth, intuition and the sacred.
You can go through life without them, and that's okay. In fact, most people do.
Other activities like sports mostly relate to the earthly realm(lower body). Things like security, vitality and self-confidence, and most people live in this area.
But above all, you need the area of the heart, which unites both transcendental/heavenly and the earthly matters.
In fact if you primarily live in the earthly realm with the heart, that's enough. For most people.
The transcendental is very hard work to recognize the sacred. It's not for everyone, and not everyone needs it.

You can either try to become a saint(meditation etc.) or live your life, and enjoy your bread, wine and relations(see book of ecclesiastes)(which can also enlighten you btw.).
Tantrics use both.
 

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Maybe it's because I've been contemplating death pretty much every single day and that tends to put things into perspective.
This^^! This is something everyone should do.

Some don't have the luxury of choosing to think this because death is near, whether this is in war, illness, or their environment. My Sister-in-law has stage 4 colon cancer. She could choose to try and not think about death, but she knows it is near.

So @MTF , I'm guessing maybe you choose to be uncomfortable because it's like the juice of life?
 
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MTF

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This^^! This is something everyone should do.

Some don't have the luxury of choosing to think this because death is near, whether this is in war, illness, or their environment. My Sister-in-law has stage 4 colon cancer. She could choose to try and not think about death, but she knows it is near.

So @MTF , I'm guessing maybe you choose to be uncomfortable because it's like the juice of life?

I'm sorry to hear about your sister-in-law.

Yes, I choose to be uncomfortable because it's way better than wasting your life avoiding things (and missing out on growth opportunities).
 

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I think people misunderstand the power of meditation and dreams. They are a way of downloading information to yourself from your inner self. Also valuable in staying connected to your inner self.

I did not buy in to the 60 minute process. Short bursts for me. It is obvious when the session is over.

The comfort, place, position means little. I have meditated for 5 minutes in my car parked on the side of a busy road. Got my answer and drove away.

Have seen quite a number of visions.

I ask myself before each session to tell me or clarify something. This can be done with dreams also. Ask yourself to remember relevant information from your dreams.
 

redshift

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Yeah, agreed with @SteveO. One of the biggest differences I've noticed is in the creative realm. It has unlocked this ability to "download information" and making connections which might have been missed before. Scientifically this stems from having a stronger right hemisphere of the brain and the ability to use both sides together more effectively.

Also agree 100% on the timing. 1 hour at a time sounds completely overkill. Especially for beginners. I think this was your biggest mistake @MTF. In Zen you don't do more than 10-15 minutes per day in the start. TM keeps it to 20 mins. Basic mindfulness can even just be achieved in a few breaths.

Naval had done years of meditation before he gave that talk. Its understandable that he would recommend it like that because at that point in his life, it was the right technique and his mind was ready for it. What he failed to realize was that for someone starting from zero without prior concentration training, it would be a huge burden and simply not necessary.

That's interesting because that's not my experience at all. I also don't think he comes across as an egomaniac thinking he's better. I know that behind the scenes he's super humble and respectful (that's what people who met him say).

I don't know much about him really, but I remember not being able to finish his book. It just came across as a constant struggle against the mind and pushing the body to the limits simply because of a failure to let go of the past and accept reality from a healthier and happier place ( this is just another face of the EGO wanting to be in control). He had a few examples of bringing other people down to make himself feel better also if I remember correctly (eg: in the seal training section). The stoics have a much healthier and balanced approach to discomfort I would say.

Maybe it's because I've been contemplating death pretty much every single day and that tends to put things into perspective

Yes, that's a great practice and I do it as well. Very popular in Buddhist meditation circles as well.
 
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MTF

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Also agree 100% on the timing. 1 hour at a time sounds completely overkill. Especially for beginners. I think this was your biggest mistake @MTF. In Zen you don't do more than 10-15 minutes per day in the start. TM keeps it to 20 mins. Basic mindfulness can even just be achieved in a few breaths.

Why would Naval talk about it so much then and authorize it to be published in his Almanack book? He recommended it for everyone, not just people experienced with meditation.

Also, I had some experiences with meditation where I did shorter sessions and it never provided any life-changing benefits.

Like I said before, I just don't think that sitting meditation is something everyone needs to do. Maybe I "meditate" during my workouts more than I ever meditated during a "real" sitting meditation session.

I don't know much about him really, but I remember not being able to finish his book. It just came across as a constant struggle against the mind and pushing the body to the limits simply because of a failure to let go of the past and accept reality from a healthier and happier place ( this is just another face of the EGO wanting to be in control). He had a few examples of bringing other people down to make himself feel better also if I remember correctly (eg: in the seal training section). The stoics have a much healthier and balanced approach to discomfort I would say.

He uses negative motivation (competing with others). I don't see it as putting other people down. It's what most athletes do to maximize their performance (while respecting their competitors).

Also, you can't judge him fairly without reading the entire book.
 

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I don't know much about him really, but I remember not being able to finish his book. It just came across as a constant struggle against the mind and pushing the body to the limits simply because of a failure to let go of the past and accept reality from a healthier and happier place ( this is just another face of the EGO wanting to be in control). He had a few examples of bringing other people down to make himself feel better also if I remember correctly (eg: in the seal training section). The stoics have a much healthier and balanced approach to discomfort I would say.
I've been following this discussion closely and greatly enjoying it. All the thanks go to you, @MTF, @claudek and @SteveO, you guys are awesome!

I've often seen Buddhism and Stoicism compared with each other, but I think fundamentally those philosophies are very different, and it all hinges on meditation. Traditionally Stoics don't have anything like meditation, at least as understood by Buddhists. Yes, you are asked to be focused in Stoicism and guard your thoughts, but this exercise is quite different from the non-judgemental awareness cultivated in Buddhism. And this all stems from very different goals... for Stoics, the goal is to cultivate virtue... for Buddhists, the goal is to understand the nature of consciousness/reality, and sila (morality) is only just an aid to that, nothing more.

I don't think meditation in and of itself is a big help towards entrepreneurship. I mean there are a lot higher return activities, if your aim is to be an entrepreneur, in the sense that meditation takes a long time and is very slow. Meditation can also easily turn into action-faking, and what's otherwise known as spiritual bypassing.

This Reddit thread was instructive: https://www.reddit.com/r/Stoicism/comments/punfz3 View: https://www.reddit.com/r/Stoicism/comments/punfz3/why_stoicism_helps_more_than_mindfulness_for_me/


Look at the difference between someone like Elon Musk, and Ray Dalio. Elon Musk is monkey-mind, but he can still focus highly when needed, and he doesn't meditate:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma-A87D4OUg


He said he tried TM a few times, and that's it.
 

redshift

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Why would Naval talk about it so much then and authorize it to be published in his Almanack book? He recommended it for everyone, not just people experienced with meditation.

My theory would be he genuinely thinks it's a good idea. I've heard this many times over now in the Waking Up podcast. Practitioners with multiple years of meditation experience start teaching an advanced technique to beginners because it provided them with profound benefits (1 hour of do nothing is one such technique). But in most cases the advanced technique goes completely over the beginner's head or they get adverse results. This discrepancy is because the teacher had years of concentration training which makes the advanced technique more approachable. There would of course be some students who get the benefits, but in general, formal meditation training always starts beginners off with concentration training, and at much shorter intervals.

Also, I had some experiences with meditation where I did shorter sessions and it never provided any life-changing benefits.

I would say this isn't something you try. Just like a diet. It's a lifestyle you live. I wouldn't be on the look out for any life-changing benefits either. But over time, it will make your life better. That's been my first hand experience. This is the whole reason TM is so popular. You just do 20 mins twice a day and don't put any further thought into it. Over time, the results compound and you start noticing the subtle differences and see the power.

There was an article shared in the early days of this thread that highlights some of the changes you might see over time: A Ph.D. in Happiness: What 10,000 Hours of Meditation Actually Does to Your Brain

I have already seen much of this to be coming true in my case. Maybe it's just a placebo effect but regardless, I'll take it :)

Like I said before, I just don't think that sitting meditation is something everyone needs to do. Maybe I "meditate" during my workouts more than I ever meditated during a "real" sitting meditation session.

I think that's a fair point. Not everyone needs to do sitting meditation. But I'm also not convinced that in this case, the 1 hour do nothing can actually be considered "real" meditation ( without first having a prior foundation in concentration ). The technique actually does matter and I would only make this conclusion after going through some kind of formal training with an open mind.

He uses negative motivation (competing with others). I don't see it as putting other people down. It's what most athletes do to maximize their performance (while respecting their competitors).

After reading Zero to One, I have a totally different view on competition. In most cases, it's a Zero Sum game and definitely involves the EGO (especially if you are using it for motivation). The opposite is creativity. This is what meditation helps you cultivate - the ability to motivate yourself just for the love of creating something which has the potential to move the world forward. I'd take this over competition any day.

Also, you can't judge him fairly without reading the entire book.

Yes, that's a fair point and I agree. I'll have to give it another shot at some point.
 
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Deleted68316

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I've been following this discussion closely and greatly enjoying it. All the thanks go to you, @MTF, @claudek and @SteveO, you guys are awesome!

I've often seen Buddhism and Stoicism compared with each other, but I think fundamentally those philosophies are very different, and it all hinges on meditation. Traditionally Stoics don't have anything like meditation, at least as understood by Buddhists. Yes, you are asked to be focused in Stoicism and guard your thoughts, but this exercise is quite different from the non-judgemental awareness cultivated in Buddhism. And this all stems from very different goals... for Stoics, the goal is to cultivate virtue... for Buddhists, the goal is to understand the nature of consciousness/reality, and sila (morality) is only just an aid to that, nothing more.

I don't think meditation in and of itself is a big help towards entrepreneurship. I mean there are a lot higher return activities, if your aim is to be an entrepreneur, in the sense that meditation takes a long time and is very slow. Meditation can also easily turn into action-faking, and what's otherwise known as spiritual bypassing.

This Reddit thread was instructive: https://www.reddit.com/r/Stoicism/comments/punfz3 View: https://www.reddit.com/r/Stoicism/comments/punfz3/why_stoicism_helps_more_than_mindfulness_for_me/

I agree with you.

It seems meditation has just been overrated.

It's like playing soccer. You do it every day, become good at it, and in some way or the other, it's going to bring benefits to your life.

With soccer, you get cardio, sprint, bigger legs, plus the pleasure/pain of learning how to shoot and pass the ball with precision.

With meditation, it seems people improve chemistry/activity levels in the different parts of their brain.

I can't see why meditation should be better than surfing, for instance. Probably surfing is even better. The energy of the ocean, the cold water, the sun. These things make surfing incredibly good. Just swimming in the ocean is the activity with the biggest benefits I have ever tried.

With that said, a pinch of meditation in our daily life can be an added ingredient that, who knows, maybe one day or the other is going to help in some way.
 

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It's funny how this thread turned into a thread AGAINST meditation and spirituality lol.

When I stopped meditating and studying spirituality I was afraid the darkest hell would swallow me whole. In reality, not much happened. I still had mental ups and downs but I'd say that overall there was ZERO difference between meditating one hour a day and subsequently not doing it.

These days my weeks are filled with (voluntary) discomfort and my level of well-being is incomparably higher compared to that when I was briefly a spiritual nut. The incoming spring/summer is a big factor but everyday challenges help a lot, too.

One solid session of MMA gets me content for the rest of the day.

A mentally-demanding language class makes me happy I choose to keep going despite difficulties.

A nice barefoot run helps me focus on the present moment.

Each evening I also sit down with my girlfriend and we both say five things we're grateful for that day.

Simple stuff, including counterintuitive stuff (purposefAttach filesully making yourself suffer) works WAY better for my mental health than meditation.

I think I should start a thread 60 Days of 60 Minutes of Something That Sucks LOL.
Have you heard about Kapil Gupta? He talks a lot about prescriptions and how people do certain things to get to certain places and then that thing becomes the obstacle/ big problem.
 

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I’m curious @MTF what do you see as the main differences between meditation/mindfulness and what Stoics do when they separate their judgements from reality (basically cognitive distancing)?

It’s an area I often think about and often disagree about with others. Nowadays many people see Stoicism and Buddhism as virtually identical, but I’ve studied both and I see them as very different… sure both promote some similar virtues, but those virtues are achieved through very different means… rational thought and cognitive distancing for the Stoics, and seated meditation and insight for Buddhists.
 
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MTF

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Have you heard about Kapil Gupta? He talks a lot about prescriptions and how people do certain things to get to certain places and then that thing becomes the obstacle/ big problem.

I'm sorry, I somehow missed this. I've heard about him and I know that he's Naval's mentor. I read some of his stuff online and found it deliberately confusing and stereotypical spiritual mumble. In general sounds like BS to sell high-ticket "coaching" to rich Silicon Valley guys.
 

MTF

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I’m curious @MTF what do you see as the main differences between meditation/mindfulness and what Stoics do when they separate their judgements from reality (basically cognitive distancing)?

It’s an area I often think about and often disagree about with others. Nowadays many people see Stoicism and Buddhism as virtually identical, but I’ve studied both and I see them as very different… sure both promote some similar virtues, but those virtues are achieved through very different means… rational thought and cognitive distancing for the Stoics, and seated meditation and insight for Buddhists.

This is my uneducated opinion...

I wrote this already in another post but it applies to this question as well (I reworded it a bit):

Living in India during the time of the Buddha was terrible. Asceticism was popular as a coping mechanism to deal with a hopeless life most people had back then.

Resignation appealed to them because they had zero power over their lives. No chance to improve their finances. No chance to eat better food. Many died from starvation, in a war, or of a horrible disease. Telling oneself that everything was neutral was for many the only way to stay sane. Meditation was their only hope. They believed in reincarnation and meditation was one of the things you needed to do to escape the cycle of suffering, sickness, and despair.

To me, Buddhist meditation is largely about that - believing in some kind of an afterlife and using meditation in the same way as Christians use praying (the more you pray, the better Christian you are = the higher your chances of enjoying heaven).

Stoicism has no such connotations because it's not a religion. It was also created in MUCH better times, in arguably one of the greatest periods in history. So it applies to today's life MUCH more than Buddhism.

To me, Stoicism is pure practical philosophy on how to live a good life, separated from the bullshit of religion. Stoicism teaches you clear, practical tools that work. It's simple, straightforward, and works.

Buddhism is deliberately confusing and promises some life-changing spiritual realizations if only you spend the rest of your life wasting it sitting and not-thinking instead of experiencing and participating in life.

So two completely different things that can't really be compared.
 

redshift

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Living in India during the time of the Buddha was terrible. Asceticism was popular as a coping mechanism to deal with a hopeless life most people had back then.

FYI, In case you aren't aware - The Buddha was a prince and came from one of the richest families of that time. He was unhappy with his life and decide to go find a solution to happiness instead. He first tried asceticism and realized it was total b.s. The type of insight practice he did come up with later was a direct contradiction to asceticism. The two couldn't really be further apart.

To me, Buddhist meditation is largely about that - believing in some kind of an afterlife and using meditation in the same way as Christians use praying (the more you pray, the better Christian you are = the higher your chances of enjoying heaven).

The buddha made no claims or mentions of the afterlife. This was all later introduced by the formal religion of "Buddhism" which emphasizes more prayer and tradition as opposed to meditation. I wouldn't confuse this with the actual *teachings of the buddha* which are nothing more than a way to better understand human nature and live a happy life.
 
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MTF

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FYI, In case you aren't aware - The Buddha was a prince and came from one of the richest families of that time. He was unhappy with his life and decide to go find a solution to happiness instead. He first tried asceticism and realized it was total b.s. The type of insight practice he did come up with later was a direct contradiction to asceticism. The two couldn't really be further apart.

Yeah I'm aware of the story and the Middle Way. My point is that while Buddha might have been a prince, his followers were not and the times were extremely rough for regular people.

I see this differently because there are no Stoic monasteries and monks while there are countless Buddhist ones. To me, being a monk is a form of asceticism while Stoics never had anything like that.

The buddha made no claims or mentions of the afterlife. This was all later introduced by the formal religion of "Buddhism" which emphasizes more prayer and tradition as opposed to meditation. I wouldn't confuse this with the actual *teachings of the buddha* which are nothing more than a way to better understand human nature and live a happy life.

I referred to modern Buddhism because I assumed that was @Black_Dragon43's question.

Not adding anything more to the topic as I'm too heavily biased against meditation now :D
 

Black_Dragon43

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FYI, In case you aren't aware - The Buddha was a prince and came from one of the richest families of that time. He was unhappy with his life and decide to go find a solution to happiness instead. He first tried asceticism and realized it was total b.s. The type of insight practice he did come up with later was a direct contradiction to asceticism. The two couldn't really be further apart.
I think @MTF ’s point still holds. The Buddha was a Prince, but remember what made him begin on his path? The fact that he saw, outside of the palace, the terrible life that others had to live. He saw death, disease and poverty. And this shocked him - it’s hard not to imagine that you could be one of those persons too. Then what? That’s what led him on his path, trying to see how he could be happy or resist those realities of life of which he had been, artificially, protected until that time. So it wasn’t his boredom that was the issue, but rather his realisation of the harshness of life that got him on the journey. Meaning FEAR

Now I think for this discussion to be productive we have to think about the value of meditation. I do agree that Stoicism can give you reason and resilience, and can lead you to living a great life focused on virtue.

Now the relevant question is if you can get anything extra from meditation? Namely does meditation give you anything extra, that you don’t get from other practices?

For example, some people say meditation teaches you focus. But there are very focused people like Michael Jordan who pretty much never meditated.

Or some people say the meditation teaches you how to slow down your thinking so that you can be more creative. Ray Dalio is an example… but is it necessary to achieve that? Or are people like Richard Feynmann or Charles Koch and so on, who are just as prolific if not more in their undertakings than Ray Dalio without meditation?

So I think that for this to go anywhere everyone has to try to define what the unique contribution of meditation is, that cannot be obtained without it.
 

redshift

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Now the relevant question is if you can get anything extra from meditation? Namely does meditation give you anything extra, that you don’t get from other practices?

Meditation doesn't give you anything. It's an act of reduction.

You aren't trying to add anything. It's about letting go of what isn't necessary - fear, greed, anger, impatience, apathy, ego, and getting back to a state of balance.

Since I started meditation, I have been the happiest and most grounded I have ever been. I'm sure there are other ways to get the same results, but this is what worked for me so I know first hand the benefits are 100% real.

We can discuss the philosophical side of things all we want, but the benefits really only come from practicing it, regularly.

You also don't want to overdo it or go down some spiritual rabbit hole as would appear to be the case with MTF. This is just another form of the mind wanting to do more and control everything. This will just tip the scales off balance in the other direction and lead to adverse results.

More is not the answer. It's what you want to get away from.

This is what the practice is about.
 
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mikecarlucci

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Hey @MTF thank you for this post. I did my first day this morning and felt amazing all day
 

ijack

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Let me join. I like Yoga, breathing techniques, exercise and meditation... I'm following Yanva yoga that inspires me every day. Yoga keeps my body, as well as my mind, in fit. It is my place of energy when I need uplifting. It's a perfect cure when I'm frustrated, feel bad or need support. It is self-sufficient, if I can say that. Yoga is like a remedy that the only side effect is, I need more :)
 
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I’m curious @MTF what do you see as the main differences between meditation/mindfulness and what Stoics do when they separate their judgements from reality (basically cognitive distancing)?

It’s an area I often think about and often disagree about with others. Nowadays many people see Stoicism and Buddhism as virtually identical, but I’ve studied both and I see them as very different… sure both promote some similar virtues, but those virtues are achieved through very different means… rational thought and cognitive distancing for the Stoics, and seated meditation and insight for Buddhists.

Mindfulness is in the Stoicism DNA. Meditation is a form of mindfulness, but not all mindful practices are meditation.

Going back to one of @MTF points however, the value of meditation is contextual. Many spend their days in a constant state of distractions, barely spending time with their thoughts and avoiding to face their uncomfortable feelings. For those people, meditating can impact their life by giving them a way to stop and face their thoughts. And eventually learn to increase the space between thoughts/feelings and their reactions.

Getting out of your comfort zone is that valuable because it forces you to be in the moment. Either that or in a state of flow. When I do heavy HIIT workouts, I am in tune with all part of my body. I don't think about anything else but what I am doing. My breath, my form...

60 days of discomfort will be great. Am in!
 
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Black_Dragon43

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Mindfulness is in the Stoicism DNA. Meditation is a form of mindfulness, but not all mindful practices are meditation.
What would you say the difference is?

I agree that the separation of thoughts from reality is at the heart of Stoicism. Most of the practices end up being exercises that help you see your thoughts as thoughts - from a distance, rather than taking them to be reality itself.

But the way I see things, the aims of Buddhism and the aims of Stoicism are very different. For one virtue is the supreme goal, while for the other Nirvana is, and virtue is only useful insofar as it helps one gain the insight into the nature of reality that is required to realise the state of Nirvana.

For these reasons, in my view, Buddhist mindfulness and Stoic mindfulness end up being very very different in practice.
 

S.Y.

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What would you say the difference is?

I agree that the separation of thoughts from reality is at the heart of Stoicism. Most of the practices end up being exercises that help you see your thoughts as thoughts - from a distance, rather than taking them to be reality itself.

But the way I see things, the aims of Buddhism and the aims of Stoicism are very different. For one virtue is the supreme goal, while for the other Nirvana is, and virtue is only useful insofar as it helps one gain the insight into the nature of reality that is required to realise the state of Nirvana.

For these reasons, in my view, Buddhist mindfulness and Stoic mindfulness end up being very very different in practice.

Meditation is mainly an act of awareness, understanding that there are the thoughts/feelings on one hand - the impressions as the stoics call them - and there is the consciousness that experiences those impressions. on the other hand. Meditations are all those practices that reinforce the distinction between the two.

Mindfulness is an act of presence. It is not so much about separating consciousness from impressions. Rather, it is understanding that the "now" is all there is. When Marcus Aurelius wrote "Forget everything else. Keep hold of this alone and remember it: Each of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already; or is impossible to see", he is referring to mindfulness.

And I agree with you. In Stoicism, being virtuous and doing the right thing is paramount. Mindfulness is valuable because it helps to build character, to build discipline and to do the right thing. I haven't studied Buddhism as much as stoicism. From my limited exposure, the aim of Buddhism mindfulness is not that. To your point, the end goal is enlightenment.

Very different in practice.
 

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