Daily meditation through self-examination.

Discussion in 'Self Improvement' started by galaxim, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. galaxim

    galaxim Fapstronaut

    Hi! I wanted to share a set of questions taken from here: http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/stoicismtoday/files/2013/11/Stoic_Week_2013_Handbook.pdf

    You don't have to be a practicing stoic to implement this. In fact, you can design your own questions.
    I'm not the author of the text, but I've edited some parts to make it clearer for our purposes.

    "For our purposes, at night, before going to sleep, take 5-10 minutes to review the events of your day, picturing them in your mind if possible.

    1. What did you do badly? Did you do allow yourself to be ruled by fears or desire of an excessive,
    irrational, or unhealthy kind? Did you act badly or allow yourself to indulge in irrational thoughts?

    2. What did you do well? Did you make progress by strengthening your virtues?

    3. What did you omit? Did you overlook any opportunities to exercise virtue or strength of character?

    4. Consider how anything done badly or neglected could be done differently in the future – do this by
    criticising your specific actions rather than yourself generally as a person.

    5. Praise yourself for anything done well.

    To self-monitor your feelings, thoughts and actions through a journal:

    1. Date/Time. Note the date and time of the event, when you started to feel angry or afraid, for example, and briefly describe the actual situation you were facing, e.g., perhaps someone criticised your work, or maybe someone offered you some unhealthy junk food while you were trying to follow a diet.

    2. Feelings. What emotions or desires did you actually experience. Remember, we’re only really interested in feelings that might be considered irrational in the sense of being unhealthy. So, following on from our examples above, you might write down that you felt excessively anxious or angry about being criticised, or that you felt a strong craving to eat junk food, which you found hard to resist. Remember that you’re also trying to catch these feelings early, so try to note “early-warning signs”, which are often sensations such as trembling when afraid, although sometimes they might be thoughts such as telling yourself “just one won’t hurt” when you’re tempted to eat something unhealthy.

    3. Thoughts. What related thoughts went through your mind? Stoic psychology held that our emotions and desires fundamentally depend upon our thoughts, particularly our value-judgements about specific things. Be forewarned that most people find it difficult at first to identify the specific thoughts that are responsible for their feelings. You’ll probably need to work on this but with practice, and study, it should become easier. Were you telling yourself that something
    external is very good (desirable) or bad (upsetting)? Later you’ll learn to question these thoughts but for now just notice them and take a step back, observing them in a detached way – you don’t need to try to block them from your mind but neither do you need to do what they’re telling you. Epictetus advised his students to begin by noticing such thoughts, or “impressions” as Stoics called them, and rather than allowing themselves to be “carried away” just waiting until later, when they’ve calmed somewhat, before evaluating them rationally and philosophically – perhaps during your evening
    meditation period. For example, someone who feels anxious and angry about being criticised might come to realise that they’re thinking “I must be respected at work” and placing great importance or intrinsic value on other people’s opinions of them.

    4. Control. As we’ll see, this is the central question that Stoics use to evaluate their impressions: “Is it up to me?” They meant “Is this – the thing that my feelings are about – under my direct control?” Again, don’t worry too much about this for your first day or so, because as you learn more about Stoicism you’ll get better at posing this question. For example, you might observe that other people’s opinions of you, and whether or not they criticise you, is ultimately beyond your
    direct control – all you control in this situation is your current response to their words and perhaps your plans for how to act the future. Even your past failings are no longer within your power to change – you can’t rewrite the past. This distinction between what is up to us and what is not is crucial for Stoics, as you’ll see, because Stoic “indifference” means accepting those things in life we cannot possibly change, while seeking to change the things we can, in accord with wisdom and our ethical principles. Just write a few words here summing up your analysis of the situation, in terms of
    which aspects you do or do not control.

    5. Actions. What did you actually do? Were your actions helpful or not? Did you act wisely or foolishly, in accord with your ethical principles or in conflict with them? For Stoics, the key question here is whether you acted with “virtue”, whatever the outcome, either success or failure. Did you act wisely and with justice, courage, and self-discipline? Did you act foolishly, unfairly, fearfully, or in a slack or intemperate manner?

    Try to be on the lookout for unhealthy or excessive emotions and desires, ones it might be irrational for you to indulge in over time. Aim to spot the “early-warning signs” of problematic feelings arising, so that you can “nip them in the bud” before they escalate and take hold. Instead, pause, take a step back from things, and gain what therapists call “psychological distance” from your initial, upsetting thoughts and feelings. Become a detached observer of yourself for a while. Write things down as soon as possible, as doing so will help you view things in this detached way, like a “natural
    philosopher” or scientist observing events and describing them in a completely objective manner".
  2. IWantABetterLife22

    IWantABetterLife22 NoFap Moderator

    I think this, paired with journaling, would be a good thing for general self improvement, not just NoFap. Honestly I should probably start doing this, because it would also help me with my writing (a lot of famous writers journal). As much as I love the online journal, having a separate, physical journal might be better than an online one because a) I don't want my nofap journal to contain non-nofap topics, b) I believe that developing your handwriting skills will make your typing skills better, and c) what I write down by hand sticks with me longer and more deeply than what I write down via keyboard. Also, I want to cut back on my internet/laptop use, and e-journaling is counter-productive to that. I'm going to start using your format to begin my journal entries, and then we'll see where it goes from there. We all want to make the most of our time, and I think daily reflection before bed will help that. A lot of use do things without thinking, and that almost always leads to bad habits (like porn and masturbation!) Sorry if this was a little off topic, but these are my thoughts.
  3. Infinit∃being

    Infinit∃being Fapstronaut

    I fully agree.

    "Self-examination" is practically how I practice meditation. I've been doing this for quite a while now so I'm personally comfortable doing it without any particular question-answer format.

    A diary or a journal is a great tool for self-examination. You can refer back to it later and it's immensely useful for helping to keep your thoughts organized in the moment. I only write down what I deem to be significant for my personal development. Sometimes I use the excess time at boring errands or less useful meetings to journal about down important experiences, thoughts or feelings that I've recently had.
  4. galaxim

    galaxim Fapstronaut

    Sure! Althought I've deleted my journal here, I've kept my digital private journal, where I write from time to time.

    My "journal of addiction", the one that I burnt, wasn't just about addiction. It was about life in general. I burnt the paper original but I've kept the digital full version.

    I don't write in paper anymore because my hand gets tired quite easily, but it's true that one has a different relationship with the paper than with the computer. Another benefit is that you can write by hand anywhere, even without electricity.

    Regarding your second commentary, you could even copy some of the masters (http://www.amazon.com/Write-Like-Ma...211540&sr=8-1&keywords=write+like+the+masters)
    "Sometimes the simple rhythm of typing gets us from page one to page two.
    When you begin to feel your own words, start typing them.
    Punch the keys for God's sake!" (From http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181536/?ref_=fn_al_tt_3)


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