Meditations - by Marcus Aurelius



my notes:

Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busy-body, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil.

For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.
Give thyself time to learn something new and good, and cease to be whirled around.

Since it is possible that thou mayest depart from life this very moment, regulate every act and thought accordingly.

But if there is no harm to the elements themselves in each continually changing into another, why should a man have any apprehension about the change and dissolution of all the elements? For it is according to nature, and nothing is evil which is according to nature.

Do not waste the remainder of thy life in thoughts about others, when thou dost not refer thy thoughts to some object of common utility.

Short then is the time which every man lives, and small the nook of the earth where he lives; and short too the longest posthumous fame,

Let no act be done without a purpose, nor otherwise than according to the perfect principles of art.

Take away thy opinion, and then there is taken away the complaint, “I have been harmed.” Take away the complaint, “I have been harmed,” and the harm is taken away.

Consider that everything which happens, happens justly, and if thou observest carefully, thou wilt find it to be so.

Do not act as if thou wert going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over thee. While thou livest, while it is in thy power, be good.

He who has a vehement desire for posthumous fame does not consider that every one of those who remember him will himself also die very soon;

In a word, thy life is short.

Examine men’s ruling principles, even those of the wise, what kind of things they avoid, and what kind they pursue.

Time is like a river made up of the events which happen, and a violent stream; for as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in its place, and this will be carried away too.

Pass then through this little space of time conformably to nature, and end thy journey in content, just as an olive falls off when it is ripe, blessing nature who produced it, and thanking the tree on which it grew.

For look to the immensity of time behind thee, and to the time which is before thee, another boundless space. In this infinity then what is the difference between him who lives three days and him who lives three generations?

Every part of me then will be reduced by change into some part of the universe, and that again will change into another part of the universe, and so on for ever.

Nothing happens to any man which he is not formed by nature to bear.

I do my duty: other things trouble me not; for they are either things without life, or things without reason, or things that have rambled and know not the way.

We are all working together to one end, some with knowledge and design, and others without knowing what they do; as men also when they are asleep,

It is in our power to have no opinion about a thing, and not to be disturbed in our soul; for things themselves have no natural power to form our judgements.

Accustom thyself to attend carefully to what is said by another, and as much as it is possible, be in the speaker’s mind.

Let not future things disturb thee, for thou wilt come to them, if it shall be necessary, having with thee the same reason which now thou usest for present things.

Think of thy last hour. Let the wrong which is done by a man stay there where the wrong was done.

Adorn thyself with simplicity and modesty and with indifference towards the things which lie between virtue and vice. Love mankind.

About death: Whether it is a dispersion, or a resolution into atoms, or annihilation, it is either extinction or change.

About fame: Look at the minds of those who seek fame,observe what they are, and what kind of things they avoid, and what kind of things they pursue. And consider that as the heaps of sand piled on one another hide the former sands, so in life the events which go before are soon covered by those which come after.

The body ought to be compact, and to show no irregularity either in motion or attitude. For what the mind shows in the face by maintaining in it the expression of intelligence and propriety, that ought to be required also in the whole body. But all of these things should be observed without affectation.

It is very possible to be a divine man and to be recognised as such by no one.

Very little indeed is necessary for living a happy life.

On the occasion of every act ask thyself: How is this with respect to me?

When thou risest from sleep with reluctance, remember that it is according to thy constitution and according to human nature to perform social acts, but sleeping is common also to irrational animals.

Wipe out thy imaginations by often saying to thyself: now it is in my power to let no badness be in this soul, nor desire nor any perturbation at all; but looking at all things I see what is their nature, and I use each according to its value.—

Receive wealth or prosperity without arrogance; and be ready to let it go.

Say nothing more to thyself than what the first appearances report. Thus then always abide by the first appearances, and add nothing thyself from within, and then nothing happens to thee.

Neither in thy actions be sluggish nor in thy conversation without method, nor wandering in thy thoughts, nor let there be in thy soul inward contention nor external effusion, nor in life be so busy as to have no leisure.

He who does not know what the world is, does not know where he is.

Men exist for the sake of one another. Teach them then or bear with them.

For it is no way right to be offended with men, but it is thy duty to care for them and to bear with them gently;

As thou thyself art a component part of a social system, so let every act of thine be a component part of social life.

When another blames thee or hates thee, or when men say about thee anything injurious, approach their poor souls, penetrate within, and see what kind of men they are.

As those who try to stand in thy way when thou art proceeding according to right reason, will not be able to turn thee aside from thy proper action, so neither let them drive thee from thy benevolent feelings towards them, but be on thy guard equally in both matters, not only in the matter of steady judgement and action, but also in the matter of gentleness towards those who try to hinder or otherwise trouble thee.

The man who is honest and good ought to be exactly like a man who smells strong, so that the bystander as soon as he comes near him must smell whether he choose or not.

A man must learn a great deal to enable him to pass a correct judgement on another man’s acts.

Consider that a good disposition is invincible.

Consider that everything is opinion, and opinion is in thy power.

There is one light of the sun.