Cold shower philosophy might sound a bit odd and dubious but It’s exactly what it is about. Yes, Cold showers have to do something with the philosophy. In the stillness of the morning, there exists a challenge – a cold, rushing torrent of reality. This is the realm of ‘The Cold Shower Philosophy‘, a daily practice that pushes the boundaries of comfort, nudging us into a world of resilience, mental clarity, and a sense of invincibility. We step under the cascade, bare and exposed, steeling ourselves against the icy onslaught. And as we acclimate, we find an internal switch flipping, shifting our perspectives, making us not only accept the cold but embrace it. This is more than a simple hygiene routine.
This is a transformative journey towards a fortified self, a revitalized spirit, and a disciplined lifestyle. So, turn down the heat and join me as we explore the power of cold showers, unlocking resilience one chilling droplet at a time
My Story and Philosophy.
For over 4 years, I’ve been practising what I call my ‘Cold Shower Philosophy’, a daily routine that has pushed my boundaries and forged resilience within me. The goal behind embracing this chilly ritual was simple – to adapt me and my body to extreme natural conditions, a seemingly radical but intriguing part of my personal philosophy.
I immersed myself in this practice twice daily, undeterred even by the harshest of winters. In due time, I discovered a profound shift – my body was no longer merely enduring the icy onslaught, it was embracing it. I felt powerful, raw, and uniquely attuned to nature, experiencing a resilience reminiscent of our Stone Age ancestors who braved long, brutal winters without the comforts of clothing.
And here’s what happened
Their survival hinged on adaptation, a principle we’ve gradually lost touch with as modern luxuries cocoon us from the realities of nature. I’m not suggesting these comforts are detrimental, but rather that we should also cultivate our innate capacity to thrive without them.
However, my Cold Shower Philosophy runs deeper than this physical adaptation – it touches a subliminal level I hadn’t consciously recognized, revealing a profound truth.
My Introduction to Stoicism.
It was until recently when I started Linking my cold showers with Philosophy that I realized that It actually exists. People have been following this practice since 300 BC. Ever since the time of Zeno of Citium, The person who introduced Stoicism.
STOICISM is the Philosophical practice that teaches, as social beings, a path to happiness for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one’s mind to understand the world and to one’s part in natures plan, and by working together and treating each other fairly and justly.
I came across the Stoicism a while ago on Youtube while watching some Philosophical Videos and I came across the Marcus Aurelius Meditations. Fascinated, I ordered the Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Martin Hammond, Albert Wittstock(Translator) and Diskin Clay (Introduction).
This book took me by surprise and It changes the way I do my day-to-day things. “The Cold Shower Philosophy” is one of those things.
How I related my “Cold shower philosophy” with Marcus’s Writings about Stoicism in Meditations.
Meditations” is more than a mere book; it’s a daily journal penned by the Stoic Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius, crafted without any initial intent for publication. Offering a profound series of spiritual reflections and exercises, “Meditations” presents the emperor’s personal journey towards understanding the universe.
His writings weave a diverse tapestry of thought, from moments of doubt and despair to bursts of conviction and exaltation. They traverse a myriad of topics, including the essence of moral virtue, the capacity of human rationality, the concept of divine providence, and Aurelius’s own emotive landscape.
Originally intended as a source of personal consolation and encouragement – another Stoic practice – “Meditations” transcends its origins. In articulating his beliefs, Marcus Aurelius inadvertently sculpted one of the most revered works of philosophy in existence. It’s a testament to the enduring power of introspective thought and Stoic philosophy.
As it says,
“Live each day as if it were your last”
I was astounded to realize that, unwittingly, I had incorporated this Stoic practice – my Cold Shower Philosophy – into my daily life, despite never having explicitly studied Stoic philosophies or principles. This revelation struck me deeply, revealing a subconscious connection I’d formed with these ancient teachings. While engrossed in Book 2 of Marcus Aurelius’s ‘Meditations’, I chanced upon these lines:
Today, I shall meet people who are meddling ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious, unsocial. All this has afflicted through their ignorance of true good and evil. But I have seen that the nature of good is what is right, and the nature of evil what is wrong. Therefore I cannot be harmed by any of them, as none of them will infect me with their wrong. Nor can I be angry with my kinsman or hate him. We were born for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. So to work in opposition to one another is against nature: and anger or rejection is opposition.
Here is my personal interpretation of these profound lines.
There may be unanticipated and unwelcome occurrences in my day. Events may unfold in challenging ways because they are destined to do so. However, I understand what is good and right, for I have been conditioned to discern this. I know how to navigate these situations because I comprehend the operations of nature, and I have learned how to harmonize with all that comes my way, whether it’s favorable or adverse.
In this passage, Marcus Aurelius demonstrates the Stoic principle of accepting and adapting to the reality of the world, cultivating resilience through understanding and aligning with the inherent patterns of nature. This philosophy echoes the spirit of my Cold Shower Philosophy, further reinforcing the subconscious link I’ve formed with these Stoic teachings.
To actualize these principles, I’ve been unknowingly engaging in a Stoic exercise for quite some time – my Cold Shower Philosophy. This is an embodiment of what’s known as ‘Voluntary Discomfort‘, a daily practice aimed at seeking out discomfort within comfortable circumstances. To put it another way,
In time of peace, prepare for war.
This practice serves as a valuable lesson, teaching us to willingly embrace discomfort in order to ultimately attain greater comfort. It involves engaging in simple exercises such as giving the last bite of your favourite food to someone else, opting to sleep on the floor instead of a plush bed, choosing a modest hotel over a luxurious suite, or, as in my case, subjecting oneself to a cold shower despite the availability of a warm and soothing bath.
The underlying concept is straightforward: by intentionally seeking out discomfort beyond what we are accustomed to, we cultivate strength and resilience. Through this practice, we fortify ourselves, empowering personal growth and a heightened capacity to confront the challenges that life presents.
And here’s how it helped
In essence, engaging in a cold shower prepares me psychologically for the potential challenges that await beyond the confines of my home. It serves as a symbolic training ground, reminding me that others may face discomforting journeys, encountering individuals who may be driven by greed or experiencing unexpected losses such as misplacing their wallets.
By willingly embracing discomfort through voluntary discomfort exercises, I cultivate a mindset of inner peace and readiness to face whatever comes my way. This practice instils within me the conviction that I am willing to sacrifice immediate comfort for the sake of my own peace of mind. It equips me with the mental fortitude and clarity needed to navigate any situation that may arise, ensuring that I approach challenges with a calm demeanour and a focused mindset.
The future remains uncertain, and it often carries with it the potential for adversity, misery, and suffering. However, the truth is that we are seldom equipped with the necessary tools to effectively confront and navigate these challenges. From the moment we are born, we are inundated with comforts and conveniences, inadvertently shielding us from the harsh realities of life.
A thing about endurance
The perpetual exposure to comfort has inadvertently weakened our resilience and ability to endure. Without experiencing and learning how to confront discomfort, we may find ourselves ill-prepared when life’s inevitable hardships arise. By deliberately seeking out and embracing discomfort, we can fortify our inner strength and cultivate the mental resilience needed to face the uncertainties and tribulations that lie ahead. Only by confronting discomfort head-on can we grow, evolve, and develop the resilience necessary to navigate the trials and tribulations that life presents us with.
Inherent weakness is not an innate quality within individuals.
Instead, it is often our resistance or reluctance to accept and face life’s challenges
Once we learn to confront and embrace these difficulties
we unlock our true strength.my own thoughts
By cultivating the ability to accept what comes our way, we can navigate life’s ups and downs with grace and resilience. This newfound strength allows us to live a life marked by love, patience, and tranquillity. We no longer view challenges as insurmountable obstacles, but rather as opportunities for growth and learning. With this mindset, we can embrace life’s uncertainties and find inner peace, leading to a more fulfilling and harmonious existence.
Here’s how you can start
Absolutely! The cold shower philosophy can be an excellent starting point for anyone seeking to embrace discomfort and cultivate resilience. Here’s how you can begin:
- Commitment: Make a firm commitment to incorporate cold showers into your daily routine. Set a specific time and duration for your cold showers and stick to it.
- Start Slow: If you’re new to cold showers, start by gradually introducing colder temperatures. Begin with lukewarm water and gradually decrease the temperature over time until you can comfortably withstand a fully cold shower.
- Embrace Discomfort: When you step into the cold shower, focus on embracing the discomfort rather than resisting it. Pay attention to your breathing and remind yourself that this momentary discomfort is building your mental and physical resilience.
- Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness during your cold showers. Pay attention to the sensation of the cold water on your skin, the sound of the water, and the way your body reacts. Embrace the present moment and let go of any thoughts or worries.
- Progression: As you become more comfortable with cold showers, challenge yourself by gradually increasing the duration or intensity. You can experiment with colder temperatures or try contrast showers, alternating between hot and cold water.
- Reflect and Adapt: After each cold shower, take a moment to reflect on the experience. Notice any changes in your mindset, your ability to handle discomfort, or your overall well-being. Adjust your approach as needed to find what works best for you.
And on the endnote….
Indeed, the Stoic philosophy does not advocate seeking discomfort as a means of punishment. Rather, its core principles revolve around attaining tranquillity of mind, living a better life, and cultivating inner calm in the face of adversity. Stoicism aims for supreme happiness and a state of well-being.
It is true that our society often emphasizes the pursuit of comfort as a measure of success. We are conditioned to believe that working harder and accumulating more material comforts will lead to a happier life. However, this relentless pursuit can sometimes have unintended consequences. It can leave us feeling weak, vulnerable, insecure, and trapped in a perpetual state of fear, always concerned about whether we will achieve the elusive “comfortable life” we have been taught to strive for.
Your realization that a comfortable life may not necessarily be the key to true happiness and fulfilment is valid. It reflects a desire to break free from societal expectations and forge a different path. By rejecting the notion of seeking comfort at all costs, you open yourself up to the possibility of discovering a deeper sense of contentment and peace.
Remember, the cold shower philosophy is not about punishment but about embracing discomfort as a means of personal growth. It may take time to adjust, but with consistency and an open mindset, you can begin to reap the benefits of this practice. Enjoy your journey of self-discovery and resilience-building through the cold shower philosophy!
CARPE DIEMphrase used by the Roman poet Horace to express the idea that one should enjoy life while one can.
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