Some of you may have noticed the category ‘life philosophy’ on this site. I feel that it deserves clarification and explaining as to what it about.
Life philosophy is personal self-development through philosophical therapy that practitioners apply to themselves.
Life philosophy is about changing the self’s behaviour and attitudes by changing the way the mind thinks, by encouraging beneficial thinking patterns and attitudes and at the same time, by removing or atrophying harmful thinking patterns, habits and attitudes. Similar to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy no? Well, mastering mind and behaviour has been practised since ancient times By doing this you are investing in your long term mental health without having to pay any cash!
We would define Buddhism and Stoicism for example, as life philosophies, and as a common theme of all life philosophies it focuses on an alternative route to happiness as opposed to the conventional happiness of the likes of the rat race phenomenon defined as:
a way of life in modern society, in which people compete with each other for power and money.
Focusing on changing the self rather than the external circumstances that one finds oneself in can be difficult. So the founders and the philosophers who practised these systems provide us with guides on how to tackle everyday evils by prioritising on changing the self and not external conditions, especially that which we cannot change in our environments and circumstances.
These schools of thought sought to master the passions to enable clearer thinking, peace of mind and better decision making. Life philosophy accepts that it is your thinking mind that causes you to land yourself in stress, anxiety, despair and melancholy. However, on the other hand, it is your mind that enables you to be content, excited and blissful!
The view that one can liberate the self and attain a more flexible and happier mind through aforementioned philosophical therapy without requiring doctors or psychologists. Now these professionals no doubt help us, especially with doctors for physical ailments, but neither doctors nor psychologists can understand exactly your qualia, your own unique subjective experience; you as the being that ascribes feeling and emotions to thoughts and experiences . They may theorise and empathise, however they cannot know your mind better than you, what you are feeling, what you’re thinking and they can’t be around for your benefit all the time. Best of all these collection of practises require no popping pills and suffering the groggy side effects that may ensue!
Too many times we have heard the platitudes that happiness can only happen when favourable life circumstances go our way. We know that life never conforms to our expectation as we wish it. Now, sometimes it may do just that, turn of events may come in our favour without lifting a finger, inheriting a fortune from a deceased relative is one. However, most of the time the conventional happiness’s come about because we have invested our time and energy as the cost or the sacrifice to make it so. So in the event that you do get your way then be as mindful as possible in the glory and harvest the sensations for all their worth because all events are fleeting and will pass.
Of course these philosophies are not saying that we should be forbidden to not wash or buy new clothes or eat at the occasional Burger King. This is not asceticism, what is stressed is that we must realise that these desires, whatever they may be, may not always be met, that sometimes life does not go according to plan like the way that we have anticipated in advance. Keep your creature comforts but be aware, this may be difficult to accept, that it is not reliable to say that ‘this object is my source of happiness’ For if this object is displaced or perishes then we will surely suffer. We should instead train our minds to have flexibility and accept that all things are impermanent and never fixed.
All this written is what we mean, to give you an idea, on what life philosophy is.