Stoic AttitudeBy PHIL WITTMEYER & Others
The Stoic attitude is often selected when the virtues required to fulfill the soul's agenda are patience and endurance. Think of Sisyphus as he stoically muscled his boulder up that hill, only to watch it tumble down again; think of Job, who weathered calamity after calamity, only to lose everything. The Stoic bears suffering without complaint.
How Stoics Look
Stoics appear emotionally detached and resigned, as if they feel a quiet resolve about something that cannot be altered. They mask the countenance of the classic "poker-face," making them difficult to read by friends, family, and co-workers. In fact, their faces can look like masks and are often long-drawn as if weighted by the gravity of their burdens. When their eyes are not frustratingly impassive, they can appear, in a poetic sense, like dark chasms that act as reservoirs for the failures, disappointments, and losses of humanity. In the gaze of the Stoic you may see the flickering images of what the whole of mankind has endured in the world, and for that reason alone -- and perhaps more so than the other attitudes -- the Stoic is perhaps closer to understanding what is truly required to be human.
Tranquility & Resignation - How To Identify What The Positive and Negative Poles Feel Like
In the positive pole of Tranquility, feelings of calmness and serenity comprise the emotional tones. The pulse is even, the posture relaxed, the limbs are loose, the movement of the body is languid and unhurried, and there is a sense of satisfaction in everyday tasks, with a feeling that everything in the world is connected just the way it should be.
Thought processes at this state of composure are level-headed and without stress, and can feel like the placid waters of a secluded mountain lake that sway and lap against smooth and rounded pebbles on the shore.
In the negative pole, the feeling of resignation leads to a decrease of confidence and a "sinking sensation" in the body. The posture stoops, the shoulders slump, the eyes stare into space, the face sags, and there may be frequent sighs and mutterings.
The mental focus may also shift erratically, making concentration more difficult. Feelings of emptiness may ensue, leading to emotional indifference and sensations of isolation, like being marooned in the cold, dark, vastness of space.
The first rule in getting along with the Stoic is to honor their natural penchant for being quiet and taciturn. Indeed, the Stoic's detached and deadpan delivery can lend an inscrutable air to their mannerisms but their willingness to stand unruffled against the bustle of life can also be a source of serenity to those around them. Learn to enjoy this silence with the Stoic as a tranquil truce with the incessant fury of a clamorous world.
Stoics are people of few words, and never wanting to belabor a point, they favor direct communication that cuts to the chase without unnecessary tangents or verbal flourishes. A simple thumbs up or down will often suffice when communicating with them.
Stoics are temperamentally equipped to work long hours provided that their work is not subject to pointless interruption. More than the other attitudes, they prefer peaceful environments where they can focus, like a Zen Monk, on the task at hand.
Stoics in Literature and Films
Along with Job from the bible and Sisyphus from mythological lore, the Stoic has enjoyed a long tradition as a hero in Western films. Actors like Gary Cooper or John Wayne catapulted themselves into stardom portraying heroic stoics enduring the machinations of evil cattle barons or lawless frontier towns.
Literature offers volumes of stoical characters, including Brutus in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and the head-hunting Queequeg from Melville's Moby Dick.
In crime fiction, Philip Marlowe, the protagonist of Raymond Chandler's novels, is certainly an unflappable stoic, as is Jeeves, the butler from the P.G. Wodehouse romps. In films, stoics are represented by Humphrey Bogart's character in Casablanca, Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, Macon Leary from The Accidental Tourist, and even Yoda from Star Wars.
Perhaps the most well-known stoic is Mr. Spock, the emotionally reserved Vulcan from Star Trek -- though he could run a close tie with the stoic believer Fox Mulder from the TV series, The X-Files. One could argue that Mulder's partner Scully is also a stoic, but unlike Fox, Scully's dispassionate demeanor is more clinical, like the Pragmatist.
In the World
Parts of the Asian world are almost a cliché of Stoicism, and Great Britain, with its Buckingham Palace guards and a national pride that stand resolute and "keeps a stiff upper lip" in the face of adversity, is widely known for posturing stoic virtues.
Buddhism, a religion that preaches calmness and emotional temperance, is inherently stoic in the way it seeks peace and mindfulness in the present moment.
If you are a Stoic, it is important to avoid the feeling of being resigned to your fate. This is a product of the negative pole and may be alleviated by sliding to "Verification," the positive pole of the Spiritualist attitude. In this case, you would verify your feelings about a situation and use that truth to help pull you out of any feelings of resignation.
In more extreme cases, where emotions stir the chief features into action, you slide to "Faith," the negative pole of Spiritualist. This is blind faith, however, and it only fuels more incendiary feelings. Once again, the solution is to slide to a positive emotion, ultimately landing at the neutral point that creates a septant between the pairing of Stoic and Spiritualist.
When your chief feature does squarely entrench you in "Faith," one solution is to slide to the positive pole of that feature. For instance, a Stoic with a chief feature of Stubbornness could slide to the positive pole of "Determination," and use that sense of determination to find a way back to a more comfortable footing.
Here is channeling I did concerning what Michael feels the Stoic should know:
When the Stoic learns that there is a discernable difference between being withdrawn and simply reticent, they have won half the battle in understanding how to best manifest this attitude. To be a Stoic or not to be is the question many Stoics struggle with as they compare themselves to the more exuberant expressions of the other attitudes. Of course, being stoical brings innumerable rewards on an essence level, but since these perks are not readily noticeable to friends and family who insist that their beloved Stoic "come out of his shell" more often, we will add that there has been a stoical tradition in every evolving society and culture since this experiment in sentience began, and without stoical temperaments, the framework of civilization as you know it would have experienced far less stability.
To use an old nautical directive: Stay the course. As a Stoic you are a grounding force in peoples lives and that is both valuable and needed.
Stoics Do Not Fight The System
Stoics can be described as the pessimistic attitude. It isn't that Stoics perceive everything as contemptible like the Cynic does, or that they perceive everything to be questionable like the Skeptic does. It is that there is very little that is of much importance. A Stoic finds the world bland, uninspiring and drab, perhaps even dreary — "Things are tough all over". This has the advantage that Stoics are not easily upset because they can put up with much negativity. It is as if they were insulated from it. Nor are they deceived by false hopes. On the other hand, there is the disadvantage that Stoics do not "fight the system" when it is in need of reform. They may not see real dangers to avoid.
Stoics have a mood of insensitivity to what is happening around them — "Who cares?". They are psychologically "nearsighted", so to speak. They are unaffected by things that provoke others, and indifferent to things that draw others — "I'm not impressed". Because they tend to minimize what they see, it often takes the proverbial two-by-four to hit them between the eyes to get their attention. Only in severe trauma do they realize that something serious is happening.
The Stoic attitude is the complement of the Spiritualist attitude. Both are in the Inspiration axis. Both cause the person to perceive the world in terms of qualities or values, to perceive the essence more than the action or the mental content of their experiences. Sometimes Spiritualists and Stoics have difficulty telling what happened or what was said other than to describe the mood and impression of the events or the words. Interestingly enough, a religious temperament is present in people with both attitudes. Both think of life in terms of "destiny", but in opposite ways. The Spiritualist sees creation evolving freely in the abundance and beneficence of "Providence". The Stoic feels the creation is trapped in the deterministic rule of omnipotent "Fate". Spiritualists see God "up there" beyond nature, but Stoics see the hand of God "down here" in nature. Spiritualists look to heaven and Stoics look to earth. Spiritualists see the world as more than real. Stoics see it as less than real, a phantom.
Stoics can be deadly sober. Rarely are they frivolous. Also, Stoics are certainly not "touchy" people. The counterpart of the Stoic attitude is the Emotional Center. People in both are very mundane in their approach — they are physical rather than psychological. That is, they prefer the body to the mind. People in both have a certain moodiness about them. The difference between the two is that the Emotional Center is the feeling response of the personality to the qualities one sees, and the Stoic Attitude is one's view of the qualities of the world.
Positive Pole (Tranquility)
The Positive Pole is +Tranquility, and people in this pole are typically at peace with themselves and the world. They regard the world as a pleasant place and are contented to have their small part in it. They consider most disturbances to be petty, so they overlook them as not worth getting bothered about. They have a high tolerance for irritations. In situations that would upset others, they are "cool, calm and collected". In circumstances that would perturb others, they are serene and relaxed. Few things can shake their composure.
Negative Pole (Resignation)
The Negative Pole is -Resignation. This is a fatalistic, gloomy, somber attitude. People in this pole believe that events are predetermined anyway, so why fight them? If it is inevitable, so there is no use getting upset about them — "Why bother?". Such people feel overwhelmed by the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune", so they just keep cool in the adversity. Such people are so turned off to the world that they will not try to exercise their power against it — "What's the use?". Stoics in this pole believe in luck — bad luck. One sad thing about this is that they may blame fate rather than learn from their mistakes. Another sad thing is that because they anticipate things will get worse, they do not get upset when things do get worse — upset enough to do something about it. Yet another sad thing is that they do not get excited when things get better because they figure it will just turn bad again. In the extreme case, this pessimism is spiritlessness, hopelessness and apathy.
The fear that drives -Resignation is the fear of getting one's hopes up, only to have them dashed to pieces. -Resignation, is therefore, a hedge against disappointment. -Resignation is sometimes driven by a fear of going against the will of God. Stoics see the hand of God (or it's equivalent, whatever they call it) in everything, so they do not want to be guilty of opposing His ordained law. The way to transcend this fear is to consider and apply the positive pole of the cvomplementary attitude, which is +Verification — seek the truth about good and evil. Attune to the higher qualities and values of life. Do not get dragged down by the misery that is in the world — things may not be good right now, but they will improve at least enough to balance out in the long run. Bring to mind the better things, be optimistic, and look beyond this "veil of tears".
Channeling About The Stoic
Stoic is the ordinal inspiration attitude. Stoics stay within (the inspiration axis is the inner world, and the ordinal side is contracted). Stoics look at the world through a lens that says, "It doesn't matter so much what's out there; what matters is that I stay in a state of serenity and not let things bother me." This is the most ordinal way of looking at the world. It is a way of framing life based on what you experience internally.
The stoic attitude is great for people who are in difficult, perhaps service-oriented positions where it is hard to please people. Let's say you have the thankless task of waiting on people at the DMV. Your ability to weather their discontent for having to wait so long and still be courteous is an asset in that work. Stoics cultivate serenity by not being so concerned about the outer world. There is a buffer around them. The positive pole is "tranquility"; the negative pole is "resignation."
In the negative pole, stoics don't speak up about something that they do care about. Instead of being truly serene, they are disturbed but then deny it; they sigh and say, "Oh well, what can you do?" when perhaps there is something they could do. Even though they may want to live, say, seventy-five percent of their life unconcerned about the outer world, being human, there is always going to be some concern about the outer world. You cannot be one hundred percent buffered. Therefore, when they actually do care, let's say about a choice being made, it behooves them to speak up, preferably in a way that maintains their serenity but also makes their voice heard. Part of this is not saying yes when they are feeling no.
The attitude opposite stoic is spiritualist; spiritualists are visionary. So stoics who are resigned might look at the outer world in a visionary way, and say, "What would I like to see here? What would be possible?" It might be something as mundane as, "We could go to a different restaurant."
Shepherd Hoodwin -- From Michael On Attitudes
In the true stoic, there is detached acceptance of the controlling forces of the universe.
Stoics are not devoid of all feelings; they can merely detach themselves in a fairly lofty manner from the pain involved. Of course, they also detach themselves from much of the pleasure also.
Michael Teachings Transcripts
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About Phil Wittmeyer
Phil is a long-time Michael student who has written several book-length manuscripts about the Michael teachings, many of them featured on this site. He has been an active member in the community for many years and can be found at most Michael gatherings.
Phil currently lives in Colorado.
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