Four Stoic Meditations

Stoic Meditations

I want to share information on Stoicism today – partly because it’s interesting for me, and partly because we can look at a lot of good vocabulary and relate the meditations to English learning too.

But beyond that, I hope sharing these will help you in your life in general too.

The Stoics were (very simply) wise philosophers from Ancient Greece. A lot of the ideas I’m talking about today came from modern-day author William B Irvine.

1. Negative Visualisations

Contemplate the bad things that could happen to us.

Think of the worst things that could happen to us and then experience gratitude when realising that these things aren’t currently happening.

Take stock of things that are important to you and note them down. This is a powerful activity to experience gratitude.

2. Last Time Meditation

Reflect on the possibility that this might be the last time you do something. Don’t dwell on this possibility, just consider it.

With the idea in mind that you may not get to do this task again, you’ll learn to appreciate everything much more. Your goodbyes will be sweeter and your chores will be more enjoyable.

3. You Are Living the Dream Life

No matter how much more you want in life, you are living the dream life of someone else. You are also likely living the dream life of yourself in the past.

Think about English. Someone else would die to be at the level you are. In simple terms, don’t compare yourself to others, especially those who are at a higher level than you.

“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you do not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.– Meditations 7.27”

4. Prospective Retrospection

Visualize that you look back on your present moment as if you’re living far into the future.

Just like how you can be nostalgic for things that happen in the past, one day you will be nostalgic about what’s happening right now. You’ll miss the times when you were reading this post on Level Up English and life was so simple.

This is another way to practise gratitude in your life.


Some of the harder vocabulary I mentioned in this episode.

  • Contemplate – Think about carefully for a long time
  • Visualisation – Imagining something that isn’t really here
  • Take stock of – To review or assess a situation
  • To dwell – To think about something too much (often in an unhealthy way)
  • To indulge – To give yourself the pleasure of doing something (eg. Indulge in chocolate)
  • Prospective – Something expected or likely to happen in the future
  • Retrospect – Looking back on the past
  • Nostalgia – Fond and pleasant memories when thinking of the past

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2 thoughts on “#106 Four Stoic Meditations”

  1. Hi Michael! Another great episode. Could you please explain the long quote (the short one was nice)? Words that I liked in today’s episode: gloomy, dwell, contemplate.

    1. Hi Jorgen! Thanks a lot as always 🙂 Do you mean the quote in the picture? It is very complicated. Here’s how I understand it:
      Do not indulge in dreams of having what you do not = Don’t think about what you do not have
      but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess = Be grateful for what you already have
      and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours = Remember there are many people who would love to have what you have now

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