There are many different types of Stoic reflections.
Some can be done first thing in the morning as a way to set the mind up, some can be done in response to difficult events or in anticipation of them, and some can be done by reflecting back on what has already happened.
There are two main types of Stoic evening reflections I like to practice:
- The Daily Mindful Review — a synthesis of Buddhist and Stoic practice
- The Daily Evening Reflection —a technique made popular by Seneca
Below I've included two 10-minute guided meditation tracks that walks you through both exercises.
The Daily Mindful Review
I recently read one of the best Buddhist meditation books I’ve ever come across.
The book is The Mind Illuminated.
The author of this book, John Yates, aka Culadasa, has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and over 50,000 hours of meditation practice in the bank.
It’s the kind of book that exudes expertise on every page.
In the appendix of TMI, Culadasa shares a technique called “The Daily Mindful Review,” which is the best method he has ever discovered for increasing mindfulness in daily life.
I went ahead and adapted this to add Stoic elements, and the result is what I consider to be the most powerful guided reflection I’ve ever created.
Do this daily, and you will be astounded about the changes you make in the next 30 days.
Those changes will include:
- More mindfulness
- Less heaviness
- Better decisions
- Drastically better relationships
- Improved habits
- More compassion
- And the list goes on…
Stoic Evening Reflection
“When the light has been removed and my wife has fallen silent, aware of this habit that’s now mine, I examine my entire day and go back over what I’ve done and said, hiding nothing from myself, passing nothing by.”
Both are fantastic standalone contemplations, but work even better when combined.
If our goal is to develop the excellence of character (virtue), we must do three things:
- Reinforce good behavior
- Notice poor behavior
- Set goals to improve behavior
This is exactly what Seneca recommended. I have put together this short contemplation for you to listen to every night to review your day.
Imagine if, for the next 365 days, you took an honest look at your character each night and set small realistic goals for the next day…
Those 0.1% changes would lead to a significant change in behavior.