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Stoic meditations are mental exercises. They don't require you to don your sweats, grab a mat and head to the gym. You can do them anywhere, anytime: sitting on your porch or stuck in traffic.

But by all means, if you enjoy yoga or other mindful techniques, try combining them. Reaping the benefits of stoic meditations doesn't preclude you from partaking in other forms of exercise and enlightenment.

Morning Meditations


The purpose of the morning meditation is twofold: to prepare yourself for the challenges ahead, and to focus on what you need to do, to become a better stoic.

Fortify your resilience, by planning ahead for your day. Consider the challenges you might encounter and your best course of action. The best course of action will embrace stoic principles and actions.

Be a better Stoic. Make time to improve on some aspect of stoic virtue or stoic principles. For example, will you have an opportunity to:

  • build on your courage and do the right thing?

  • practice self-discipline, by checking your passions and moderating your desires?

  • act on events within your control and worry less about events outside of your control?

  • stop and think clearly before reacting adversely to challenging events?

  • acknowledge yourself as just one part of a greater community?

  • realize opportunities to build a better community?


Marcus' Morning "Prayer"


Marcus Aurelius had a morning "prayer" that he would recite to ground himself and prepare for a day full of personal and interpersonal challenges, not to mention matters of state. You can find it in Meditations 2.1. Below is my abbreviated plain English interpretation.

Today I will meet disagreeable people. They are that way, because they lack the knowledge of good and evil. I know the difference, and I know that these people are my brothers, endowed with the capacity to reason and embrace virtue. They cannot harm me, because they cannot force me to stray from a virtuous path. I will not be angry with them, for they are my brothers and we are obligated - by nature - to work together.

This stoic prayer embraces several stoic principles.

  1. People who are "disagreeable" may be so because they are unaware of what is right and what is wrong.

  2. We are all social beings - humanity united by nature.

  3. They too have been blessed with the ability to reason and determine the appropriate course of action. We can help them see the light.

  4. I will stay true to my principled course and not be swayed by unethical thoughts or behaviour.

  5. I will not be angry with them, but convince them of the appropriate course of action, as we are all in this together.

A simple morning meditation that worked for me


I used to be an impatient driver and eventually resented my rush hour commute to work each day.


I was commuting in heavy rush hour traffic...plagued with all the "disagreeable" drivers one might expect: the speeders, tailgaters, and drivers that were careless, thoughtless, and aggressive. The commute, coupled with the stress of work, was taking a toll me on me - physically and mentally.


I needed to do something to lower my high blood pressure and reduce my anxiety. So, I came up with a plan to make my commute less stressful and more enjoyable. I knew I couldn't change what other drivers would do, but - sure as heck - I could change what I do. Instead of competing with these drivers - which was a never ending ordeal - I chose to incorporate a new driving strategy that would ensure a more peaceful, tranquil commute. It worked for me.

My new strategy:

  1. Leave home a bit earlier when traffic is lighter.

  2. Travel routes with less traffic, even if they were a bit longer. Less traffic often provides a smoother flow.

  3. Listen to peaceful, soothing music during the drive to and from work.

  4. Stop on the way to work, and enjoy a little break. For me, it was in a park - by a river. This became the best part of my morning commute and allowed me to plan my day, or just chill out. Sometimes a coffee break and walk in an early morning mall was just as refreshing.

  5. Continue to work, with a safe driving distance from the vehicle in front. Drive the speed limit. Allow others to pass freely. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in the "me first" mentality. Practice your self discipline!

  6. Acknowledge that "shit happens". There will be traffic jams, traffic accidents and trains. If possible, plan routes on the fly - I would rather be driving slowly around obstacles than sitting motionless. Others might like to sit back and turn this traffic obstacle into an opportunity for further meditation.

My plan worked for me. I arrived at work refreshed and ready for the morning. Years later I have learned that I can enjoy the drive, as much as the destination.

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