We recently touched on Stoic Meditation at a stoa gathering. Donald Robertson, in his forthcoming book, How To Think Like a Roman Emperor, touches on the subject. Here’s an excerpt:
Our primary goal in meditation, as in life, is to cultivate virtue, by perfecting what is up to us, or under our direct control. However, as Zeno said, that’s meaningless unless it refers to an external target or outcome. Cicero portrays Cato explaining this by the famous Stoic analogy of the archer. His goal is to notch his arrow and fire it skillfully from his bow. Whether or not it hits the target is indifferent to him, insofar as, once it’s in flight, it’s no longer under his direct control. Nevertheless, he does aim at an external object – he has to point his arrow at something. Stoics live, and therefore meditate, for the sake of their own virtue, but also for the common welfare of mankind, although the latter can only be wished for with the caveat we call the “reserve clause”, which says “if nothing prevents it” or “God Willing”. In meditation, each moment is both in the service of virtue, and, fate permitting, in the service of the rest of mankind, because the closer we come to wisdom and virtue ourselves, the more able we are to benefit other people.
Robertson provided the recent Stoic Week participants with five guided Stoic meditations. With his permission, I am sharing them here. I frequently plug them into my daily meditation practice. I hope you find them of value.