“Ask yourself the following first thing in the morning:
- What am I lacking in attaining freedom from passion?
- What for tranquility?
- What am I? A mere body, estate-holder, or reputation? None of these things.
- What, then? A rational being.
- What then is demanded of me? Meditate on your actions.
- How did I steer away from serenity?
- What did I do that was unfriendly, unsocial, or uncaring?
- What did I fail to do in all these things?”
— Epictetus, Discourses, 4.6.34–35
Meditations, one of the most famous books on stoicism, was actually the personal journal of Marcus Aurelius. It was in that journal that he wrote daily his thoughts. Those thoughts were his meditations on the things he was dealing with in his life. It was a daily routine he had set for himself. Epictetus and Seneca had similar daily journaling routines where they asked themselves tough questions that made their moral reasonings stronger and more concrete. Ryan Holiday has a similar daily journaling routine and so does Tim Ferris. Daily journaling helps us take stock of our lives and our thoughts every day and the act of writing these thoughts down makes it more concrete and easier to understand hence, freeing our minds. It helped them achieve a more mindful life and it can help us achieve that as well.
This article is a part of my Stoic Musings challenge, inspired by the book “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, where I take a quote from the book and reflect on it, every day.