Restarting the blog after its summer break is, Matt Van Natta, aka the Immoderate Stoic, who considers how Stoicism can help us start the day the best possible way….
How to Meet the Morning
At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself, “I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for – the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?
I am a fan of warm blankets. Place a cup of coffee nearby and a good book in my hand and I will stay cozy as long as possible. Of course, I can’t do that 24/7 without my life unraveling. So, like Marcus, I have to get up and face the day. I shouldn’t complain about this, that wouldn’t be very stoic after all. But how am I to prepare my mind for the day ahead? Well, thankfully we Stoics have a means of warming up our mental engines. It’s a form of early morning reflection called premeditation.
The longer form name is the premeditation of evil but I had just mentioned cozy blankets and didn’t want to shock your system. I think premeditation of ills is actually more fitting, but now I’m on a tangent. Premeditation is the act of mentally rehearsing the potential difficulties of the future so that you are better prepared when they actually arrive. We Stoics can take premeditation pretty far. We will mediate on the loss of loved ones, for instance. But let’s start our day a bit less intensly with a general reflection that Aurelius used himself.
Begin each day by telling yourself : Today I will be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness–all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good and what is evil.
This premeditation is a way to orient your mind towards the realities of the day. When you step out into the world, you can simply recognize that no one has the exact same agenda as you. I find it helpful to mentally recite the quote a few times, in the stillness after waking. Premeditation is an exercise, effort is required to adjust your thinking. It’s way too easy to assume you’re going to approach the morning stoically and then get instantly upset at morning traffic (which is never a stoic response).