Emotions are composed of two parts — thoughts and sensations.

Together, these two concepts comprise emotional experience without leaving anything out.

Yet, they play vastly different roles.

This difference in roles is what Western psychology doesn’t understand, and what gives Radical Stoic Mindfulness its power.

Radical Stoic Mindfulness can be summarized in six words.

Here they are:
Ignore the thoughts; Feel the sensations.

Here's why:

Lead inevitably to actionDo not lead to action
Can be true or untrueAre neither true nor untrue, but certainly "real"
Will continue in cycles indefinitely, leading you through endless attempts to "figure it out"Are limited in quantity and will "run out" if given the proper attention
Paying attention to emotional thoughts leads to emotional actions and more emotionsPaying attention to emotional sensations leads to clarity and peace

Thoughts lead inevitably to action.

The great philosopher and founding father of psychology William James tells a funny story: One day, he was lying in bed on a cold morning, struggling to get up for a simple and familiar reason: he didn’t want to!

Aware of both the warmth of the bed and the chill of the room, he describes being paralyzed with indecision and unable to move.

A few seconds later, he suddenly realizes that he has gotten up! Something had distracted him, or he had become lost in thought, and in the absence of contradictory thoughts of comfort and cold, his original thought of getting out of bed had expressed itself without any effort.

He was, he explains, "aware of nothing between the conception and the execution" of getting out of bed.

Sensations do not lead to action.

Dr. Pavlov famously trained his dog to associate the sound of a bell with food. Pavlov would ring a bell, and even without food present, the dog would salivate.

This is because of the association between the sound and the experience of hunger, which must be built up over time through conditioning. (The first time the dog heard the bell, it did not salivate.)

But like Pavlov's dog, when we develop a habit of over-expressing our emotions, we condition ourselves to obey them. We feel emotional sensations arise, and without an opportunity to stop and reflect, we find ourselves believing and obeying the thoughts that accompany them.

This conditioned inability to pause and question our emotions is as common as it is destructive, to the extent that the great psychologist Wilhelm Reich called it "the emotional plague."

Our vulnerability to this conditioning is one of the reasons consciously deciding to do nothing can be a helpful first step when an emotional upset arises.

Since Radical Stoic Mindfulness requires a strict refusal to obey the impulses of your emotions, doing nothing is a simple and clear way to be sure, in the midst of an upset, that you are in command. As all newcomers to meditation discover, emotions hate to “do nothing.”

Thoughts could either be true or untrue.

This is true of any thoughts, whether they come from an emotion or not.

The problem with emotional thoughts is not that they are never true, but that they are never trustworthy.

As emotions seek first and foremost to justify their separate existence, providing you with accurate facts and interpretations of the world is not a priority.

Reich explains that the thoughts arising from an emotion nevertheless have a certain "coherence," which allows them to appear rational and logical at the time without actually being either. As long as you believe the emotion is “you,” errors and contradictions remain hidden from awareness.

As a result, it is impossible to accurately judge the truth of a thought in the midst of emotional turmoil.

Sensations are neither true nor untrue, but certainly real.

There’s no such thing as a “false sensation.” When you feel something, there it is!

No skill in judgment, or any faculty impaired by emotion, is required to clearly perceive sensations.

Thoughts will continue in cycles indefinitely, leading you through endless attempts to "figure it out."

Psychologists and people who have suffered from depression are aware of rumination, of repeatedly thinking the same thoughts in an attempt to resolve an intractable problem and cure oneself by “figuring it out.”

This occurs on a small scale with many distressing emotional experiences; we become entangled in the thoughts arising from an emotion in the attempt to resolve it.

Though it may feel at the time like we are "working on the problem," rumination rarely actually helps.

Sensations are limited in quantity and will "run out" when given the proper attention.

Imagine a pressurized air canister. When under pressure, it has power. When that pressure is suddenly released, it exerts a force, and propels the can across the room.

Emotions behave as if “pressurized,” and when triggered, they propel us to act in whatever direction they want to go. If we refuse to obey that impulse, more sensations arise, and the pressure to act seems to intensify.

Simply feeling (paying vigorous attention to) the sensations and allowing them to pass is like holding the air canister still with one hand, and letting the air out with the other.

The pressure loses its power. The can doesn't fly across the room, and once the pressure is released, you can put it down wherever you want without worrying if it will "go off."

When we do this with emotions, their power to move you against your will is drained, and now the only reason it will move is at your deliberate request.

The emotion thus transforms from a nuisance to an asset; from a threat to a tool.

Paying attention to emotional thoughts leads to more emotions.

Emotions use thoughts to justify themselves, to compel action, and to prolong your suffering.

Paying attention to emotional sensations leads to clarity and peace.

Radical Stoic Mindfulness, therefore, is this:

Ignore the thoughts, feel the sensations.

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Who is Radical Stoic Mindfulness for?

A meditatorA stoicAn artistAn intellectualAn autodidactA psychic (yeah, those exist)Someone extremely confident in their introspection abilities, but frustrated with their actual progress

What's in the book?

How to feel "what you need to feel" while not feeling "what you don't need to feel." Specific instructions for how to practice Radical Stoic Mindfulness effectively, and know that you're "doing it right"How to apply Radical Stoic Mindfulness to anxiety and addictions How to use Radical Stoic Mindfulness to become highly rational — and become a better thinker than people much "smarter" than you More cartoons!

The Six Words that turn emotional pain into strength

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Advanced techniques most people literally won't believe. This is just for the crazy ones, and you won't be able to get it unless you already have Book 1.

(Don't worry, they're on this page 👇)

Emotions are made of will.

Will is the active ingredient in life and living things.

It’s the electricity in the toaster of you.

“The will” is your personal allocation of will. There’s your will, Harry’s will, Bob’s will, Mary’s will. Yours is yours and theirs is theirs.

Emotions are fragments of your will that have broken off from you and want to have their own separate will. This is impossible, of course—they really just feed off of yours.

Ever get mad and say something stupid and then think to yourself, “Why did I do that? That’s not what I want.”

That’s the will of an emotion wanting one thing, while “you” want another.

Emotions exist for their own sake, to be and to express themselves.

As they are made up of the same stuff as your will, they have their own survival mechanism.

An emotion’s survival mechanism has two main tactics:
Making you think they were “caused by circumstances”Making you think you need them
Note that both of these start with “making you think.”

Emotions make you think — they force you to have thoughts you otherwise would not have had. And they do this in order to survive independently of you.

Therefore, we should not trust emotions and the thoughts they cause to provide accurate information about reality.

The purpose of emotional thoughts is not to inform you about the world — it’s to inform you about themselves, and to perpetuate their independent existence. This prolongs your suffering and postpones your healing.

They do this because they’re afraid.

In the same way that humans are afraid to relinquish the illusion of separate existence (the ego), emotions are afraid to relinquish their illusion of separate existence.

You can therefore forgive emotions for being as they are. You’re just like them. You get it. And you’ll take good care of them, the way God takes good care of you.

Thank you!

Have you ever seen a meditation book with cartoons before? Me neither.

Give it a try — worst case scenario, I'll buy you a sandwich.

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Take command of your inner world