Five practical exercises from Stoicism to enliven your daily life
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. — Viktor Frankl
I’ve previously taken an in-depth look at the historical aspect of memento mori (meaning remember you are mortal) including that of the ancient Stoic philosophers of who I wrote exclusively about, and indeed the people who are using it in the modern age, which you can read here in full if you so wish:
Memento Mori: From The Guise of the Ancients to 21st Century Practice by Enda Harte
If you're interested in philosophy, have a penchant for Stoicism, self- improvement, or indeed maxims for living…
Now, however, I wanted to pay close attention and highlight memento mori from a practical standpoint. This phrase is typically used as a meditative exercise to tell us that our body, our careers, our reputation, our possessions, and even our family can be taken away from us at any time, therefore, should not be the primary focus of our lives.
You can also use this mantra as a reference to all the great and powerful people who came before us, who are now dead and buried. Have you ever heard of someone who was born and didn’t die eventually? If fortune allows it, we’ll have approximately 3 billion heartbeats in our lifetime, according to research from Peter Jones (author of the book “Memento Mori). So, how can these words assist you with not being careless with those sacred heartbeats? It is said that knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.
Exercises like these require consistent practice. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that only by doing this several times you will have the ability to curtail certain problems or spring into action by rectifying your procrastination without actually doing anything. Stoic Philosophy and its exercises require you to learn, practice, apply, and repeat what you’ve picked up through reading. Simply internalising the contents is not good enough.