Here’s an interesting question from a student:
“Is inner power about being stoic and not feeling emotions?”
This is a question with a common misunderstanding that it’s important for me to clarify.
The philosophical current of Stoicism is not about repressing emotions. It’s not like you should have a face that never expresses anything and avoid feeling whatever you are feeling.
I know that “being stoic” in our society means that the person has a long face, doesn’t feel anything and simply goes through life in this numb-like way.
It’s almost like this person has been anesthetized to life.
But that’s not a correct assessment of what Stoicism really is.
Stoicism is about acting with reason and acting according to your values. As opposed to acting according to what you are feeling.
And that doesn’t mean that you should repress your emotions. Quite the opposite, Stoicism defends to be present and feel whatever you are feeling.
It’s not about pretending you are not feeling anything. You can feel everything that happens to you, but that doesn’t mean that your behavior is based on what you are feeling.
Some days you may wake up angry for no reason at all. What stoicism teaches is that just because you feel angry it doesn’t mean that you should now fight everyone who crosses your path.
You feel the emotion but you don’t need to act on it. There’s an alternative.
And that’s the key!
We don’t need to give in to the original impulse that gave rise to that emotion. We don’t need to act on it just because it’s there.
It also doesn’t mean that you should repress them as in: “I don’t want to feel this”. No, quite the opposite! You feel it and allow its energy to freely move within you.
Students of the 10 Steps to Inner Power and Will Mastery will find this very familiar. Although Stoicism was “officially” never mentioned during my own will training, I’m sure it has some roots in there. The basic principles are quite similar.
So, the answer to the original question is, yes the inner power and Will training have stoic roots. But this is not related to avoid feeling emotions, but instead to act according to your own Will – values, goals and objectives – without repression of whatever you are feeling.
And yes, this is perfectly possible to accomplish!
Will Mastery has a complete framework for that, where you break apart an impulse to act – any impulse to act – down to its bare bones components and work with them step by step with specific exercises until you know how to act from your values (or Will!) and not from any impulse that may arise.