A Cosmic Perspective

The Stoic art of cosmic meditation.

Stoicism is a Hellenistic philosophy popular in Ancient Greece and Rome. It emphasises personal virtue and resilience, and it offers valuable insights into the art of meditation. For Stoics, meditation is not only a tool for relaxation but a path towards virtue and tranquillity, and one of its most powerful techniques is embracing a cosmic perspective.

The cosmic perspective involves viewing the world from a distance and visualising oneself as a small part of the vast universe. It is a way to gain insight into the insignificance of personal problems and concerns and better understand life’s challenges.

Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, frequently extolled the virtues of this cosmic perspective in his seminal work Meditations. He urged readers to immerse themselves in the universal being of nature; he writes, “Cast your whole being into the universal being of nature. Talk to yourself about humanity — the substance of which we are all made, the kinship we share. Reflect that nothing in the world can really be taken from us when we reflect that it is but a momentary appearance.”

Another Stoic philosopher, Seneca, advised his students to practice the thought, “I can be cheerful under any circumstances.”

Stoics practised visualising and mentally rehearsing how to respond to hypothetical challenges or adversity; this was seen as a way to develop personal virtue and resilience and to maintain peace of mind.

So, close your eyes, expand your awareness, and let the vastness of the cosmos put your concerns into a Cosmic Perspective; this is a powerful path to inner peace and mental resilience, and be cheerful under any circumstances.

— Agis


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