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What is mindfulness in the context of Stoicism vs Buddhism?
n the first part of the video I speak more about the differences between Stoicism and Buddhism in the first (koan introspection, negative visualisations).
2. In the second part of the video I speak more about practical mindfulness
Part One: Buddhism vs Stoicism
Koan introspections are cryptic paradoxical messages given to a pupil by a Zen master. A famous example is:
Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand?
— Hakuin Ekaku
The pupil will meditate on this completely irrational message then of course come to no rationale conclusion but will experience joy and enlightenment through the process of meditating on this absurd notion.
Negative visualisations in Stoicism are negative, pessimistic thoughts (losing limbs, assets, family members, etc…) in an attempt to increase one’s gratefulness and appreciation for what they currently have.
I guess one could roughly parallel Koan, to Negative Visualisations as they are both analytical meditations (don’t quote me on that).
The main difference between Buddhism and Stoicism is that Buddhism has its ideal “enlightenment” achieved through practices largely revolved around solitude and this state is achievable for a mortal.
For Stoics, meditations are always analytical and the ideal (the sage) or moral excellence is something not achievable by a mortal.
Overall I like to see mindfulness as your attention to time. In the here and now. Pulling your actions and words through this source which is here before your birth, as you live and after your death.
Mindfulness is not “focusing” on being mindful, mindfulness is simply relaxing into this source and accepting that nothing else exists but right now.
It seems simple, but this is a state of mind few can achieve for prolonged periods of time.
Whether you achieve this through vipassana, negative visualisations, prosoche, the point is that you find a way to get into this state.
Ways I suggest is finding a healthy activity you can practice your attention with.
Preferably an activity which has healthy side effects of its own. For example yoga, or skateboarding, or drinking tea, etc…
I hope you enjoyed the video, I go a bit off tangent here and it’s not that structured, but this is how I found it best to express and clarify my ideas around mindfulness within the context of contrasting Buddhism and Stoicism.
Mindfulness is a term that gets thrown around a lot. So I think it’s important to clarify exactly what it means.