Richard Uzelac in Finding Stillness in Your Life

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In Stoic philosophy, stillness is often referred to as “apatheia” or “ataraxia”…

A picture of a tree on an empty field by Richard Uzelac

These fancy words basically mean achieving a sense of tranquillity, calmness, and peace of mind. Picture this: You have a big presentation at work that’s making you feel all sorts of nervous and anxious. Instead of trying to push those feelings aside or pretending they don’t exist, the Stoic approach would be to acknowledge and accept them. Then, focus on what you can control – like prepping for the presentation, practicing your delivery, and keeping your attention on delivering the message rather than stressing about the outcome. This approach isn’t about giving up on the world or denying our emotions. The Stoics were wise enough to understand that stillness is about managing our emotions in a rational and productive way and accepting the things we can’t control.

The Stoics believed that through the cultivation of stillness, individuals could achieve a sense of inner calm and a clear understanding of reality, leading to wise and virtuous actions. Similarly, in order to gain knowledge and understanding, it is important to be passionate about one thing while also being open to growth and transformation by asking the right questions.

Ryan Holiday defines stillness as not just about physical calmness or relaxation but rather a mental and emotional state of being present and focused in the present moment. It is a state of mind that enables us to be fully engaged with the world around us without being overwhelmed by it.

Richard Uzelac on Stillness in Meditation and Prayers

In spiritual practices, stillness plays a crucial role as it allows us to quiet our minds and focus our attention on the present moment. Through meditation, prayer, or other forms of contemplation, the ability to be still and attentive is essential in establishing a connection with the divine. By achieving a state of inner calm and clarity, practitioners can perceive the spiritual dimension of reality more clearly and connect more deeply with the divine.         Meditation is the most widely known spiritual practice that emphasizes the significance of stillness. In meditation, the objective is to achieve inner peace and deep relaxation by focusing the mind on a particular object, such as the breath or a mantra. By doing so, meditators can develop inner tranquility and clarity that allows them to connect more deeply with the divine.   

This connection can take various forms, such as feeling at one with the universe, transcending the limitations of the physical body, or becoming more aware of the present moment. At the same time, prayer is another spiritual practice that relies on stillness to enhance connection with God. In prayer, people direct their attention towards a higher power, seeking guidance, support, and strength. Through prayer, practitioners can establish a sense of closeness and intimacy with the divine, feeling as though they are in direct communication with a higher power. This connection can serve as a source of comfort, solace, and inspiration, providing individuals with the strength to face life’s challenges with greater resilience and faith.

For the Stoics, “stillness” was not about suppressing or denying emotions but rather about learning to manage them in a rational and constructive way. It was also closely tied to the idea of accepting things that are beyond our control and focusing our attention on the things that we can control, such as our own thoughts and actions. Overall, “Stillness” was seen as an essential aspect of the Stoic path to wisdom and virtue and was considered a state of mind that could be achieved through consistent practice and self-discipline.

Stillness in Buddhism and Stoicism by Richard Uzelac

resilient tree by richard uzelac


Stoicism is a wondrous guide, instructing us on how to act with bravery in the face of adversity. “Amor fati”, “memento mori”, and “premeditatio malorum” – are all Stoic proverbs that champion effective action in the midst of fear. The Four Stoic Virtues provide a powerful framework for keeping our sights aligned with what truly matters in life. Truly, these are awe-inspiring concepts that, when put into practice, can help us execute our tasks with utmost precision and efficiency. 


In Stoic philosophy, “stillness” is seen as a state of mind that allows an individual to detach from the passions and emotions that can cloud judgment and lead to irrational behavior. By cultivating stillness, Stoics believed that individuals could attain a sense of inner calm and a clear view of reality, which in turn would lead to wise and virtuous actions. Passion is a strong drive or excitement to achieve something, and sometimes we forget the importance of maintaining a sense of perspective and balance while pursuing our true goals.


In contrast, mindfulness and meditation possess a profound ability to extract the fullest potential from our lives. And in Buddhism, stillness is an important concept that is emphasized in various practices, such as meditation and mindfulness. These practices encourage us to slow down, to focus on our breath, and revel in the beauty of the present moment – free from the constraints of materialistic pursuits.


Ultimately, the Stoic philosophy of stillness offers us a powerful reminder that even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, we can find a sense of calm and purpose by connecting with our inner selves and embracing the challenges of life with courage and grace. As the French philosopher once said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”



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