Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
If you’re struggling to build mental toughness, overcome adversity and put things in perspective in your life you need to read this book.
Forget the self-help books of today, Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius shares a wealth of ancient knowledge to improve your life in his book, ‘Meditations‘.
‘Meditations’ is comprised of a series of personal notes and quotes written by the Roman Emperor himself.
The advice and lessons you’ll find within the pages of this classic book are timeless, the paradigm shifts and mindset changes Marcus Aurelius discusses in ‘Meditations’ can be used today.
My Marcus Aurelius Meditations Summary
Do not put off pursuing your goals until tomorrow.
We must take into our reckoning not only that life is expended day by day and the remaining balance diminishes, but also this further consideration; if we live longer, there is no guarantee that our mind will likewise retain that power to comprehend and study the world which contributes to our experience of things divine and human. If dementia sets in, there will be no failure of such faculties as breathing, feeding, imagination, desire: before these go, the earlier extinction is of one’s proper use of oneself, one’s accurate assessment of the graduations of duty, one’s ability to analyse impressions, one’s understanding of whether the time has come to leave this life – these and all other matters which wholly depend of trained calculation. So we must have a sense of urgency, not only for the ever closer approach of death, but also because our comprehension of the world and our ability to pay proper ability will fade before we do.
Focus on the present moment.
So discard all else and secure these few things only. remind yourself too that each of us lives only in the present moment, a mere fragment of time; the rest is life past or uncertain future. Sure, life is a small thing, and small the cranny of the earth in which we live it; small too even the longest fame thereafter, which is itself subject to a succession of little men who will quickly die, and have no knowledge event of themselves, let alone of those long dead.
When you see an opportunity you MUST grab it.
There is a river of creation, and time is a violent stream. As soon as one thing comes into sight, it is swept past and another is carried down: it too will be taken on its way.
Luck is for losers.
‘There was a time when I met luck at every turn’. But luck is the good fortune you determine for yourself; and good fortune consists in good inclinations of the soul, good impulses, good actions.
Vanity is the greatest seducer of reason (break it down).
How good it is, when you have roast meat or suchlike foods before you, to impress on your mind that this is the dead body of a fish, this the dead body of a bird or pig; and again, that the Falernian wine is the mere juice of grapes, and your purple-edged robe simply the hair of sheep soaked in shellfish blood!
Don’t take what you have for granted.
Do not dream of possession of what you do not have: rather reflect on the greatest blessings in what you do have, and on their account remind yourself how much they would have been missed if they were not there. But at the same time you must be careful not to let your pleasure in them habituate you to dependency, to avoid distress if they are sometimes absent.
My Top 10 Marcus Aurelius Meditations Quotes
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
“Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.”
“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.”
“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly. What doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness.”
“Concentrate every minute … on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions … you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable.”
“People try to get away from it all—to the country, to the beach, to the mountains … Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful—more free of interruptions—than your own soul.”