My Journey to Stoicism (PI)

This is part 1 of my 4 part series on ‘My Journey to Stoicism.’ Links to Part II, Part III

My journey to Stoicism started during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like a lot of people, I was trying to cope with the stress of the pandemic, socially isolating, and transitioning to working from home. On top of that, I had just become a new father. 

It was towards the end of 2020 when I started studying Stoicism. After I got word that I would have to return to working in the office. I started with reading “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday. A friend lent me a copy of the book after we were discussing our mutual interest in Stoicism. My formal understanding of Stoicism, at the time, did not go beyond an awareness that Albert Ellis was inspired by quotes of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius when he developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), an early form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).

“Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the opinions they form concerning things.”

Epictetus, The Enchiridion, Chapter 5.

I work a job where I help people find strength and meaning, cope with stress, and accept things in life that are hard to accept.  I began reading quotes from ‘The Daily Stoic’ each morning as a meditation before going into the office. This expanded to listening to ‘The Daily Stoic’ Podcast, then ‘The Practical Stoic’ Podcast (now The Walled Garden), and ‘The Sunday Stoic’ with Steve Karafit. Every day on the commute to and from work I was immersed in Stoicism and I began to realize that there is more to Stoicism than dichotomy of control. 

“Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.”

Epictetus, Enchiridion, Chapter 1.

For me, this is the most important lesson of Stoicism. It is reflected in the serenity prayer associated with Alcoholics Anonymous and various support groups (AlAnon, ACA, CODA, etc.). It brings to mind the lesson from Viktor Frankl that finding meaning in life is something we cannot find outside of ourselves or be given by someone else. It is our responsibility to find meaning and give meaning to our lives.

In Part II I talk about Stoic principles of Virtue and eudaimonia.

Leave a Reply

JOIN THE MAILING LIST

Get updates from David Alexander, including latest works, event invitations and more. 

UPCOMING EVENTS

No event found!

MENTORSHIP

Work one-on-one with David Alexander as you explore new ways of integrating philosophy, mythology, and practical wisdom into your life.

MEET THE Grove Owner

David Alexander

Psychotherapist | Writer

David Alexander is a practising psychotherapist based in New Mexico, USA. He started studying Greek Stoicism in 2020 as part of a journey of self-discovery and searching for answers about how to practically help myself and others endure the challenging times we are living in. He found Stoic Philosophy to be a useful jumping-off point to explore important questions: What is Human Nature? What is your Nature? It is towards this goal, to “know thyself,” that David started studying Carl Jung’s theories regarding the structure of the psyche (soul) and the workings of the unconscious mind. His goal in studying integrative disciplines of psychology, philosophy, and mythology is to better understand the self, thereby learning to better understand others.

Up Next...

What is Love? (P2)

Exploring the multifaceted concept of love, this article delves into the various dimensions of affection, from passionate desire to spiritual connection, shedding light on how different forms of love interplay in relationships and personal growth....

Love the Dog

Amid life's challenges, the simple joys of arriving home, walking in the park, and nurturing unconditional love bind us to our faithful companions....

Purple Flowers

Amidst weeds, a delicate purple flower akin to an orchid raises questions about worthiness and transience, culminating in an unexpected disposal....

A Beautiful Raven

In a fleeting moment, a majestic raven's encounter with trash prompts contemplation on symbolism and beauty found in unexpected settings....

The King & Queen

Explore the archetypal balance between the King and Queen within the human psyche, uncovering their roles in personal growth and relationships....

Norse Mythology as an exploration of The Shadow and the Collective Unconscious.

Discover the intricate connection between Norse Mythology, Jungian Psychology, and Stoic Philosophy, all of which delve into the exploration of The Shadow and the human psyche's depths....