Meditations is perhaps the only document of its kind ever made. It is the private thoughts of the world’s most powerful man giving advice to himself on how to make good on the responsibilities and obligations of his positions. Trained in Stoic philosophy, Marcus Aurelius stopped almost every night to practice a series of spiritual exercises—reminders designed to make him humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever he was dealing with. It is imminently readable and perfectly accessible. You cannot read this book and not come away with a phrase or a line that will be helpful to you the next time you are in trouble. Read it, it is practical philosophy embodied.
PNTV: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (#56) - YouTube
By Brian Johnson, "philosopher note" from Heroic / Optimize
Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD and a Stoic philosopher.
provide 12 representative quotes from book Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, with an explanation for each quote
Quote: "Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them."
Explanation: Marcus Aurelius suggests focusing on the positive aspects of life, finding inspiration in the beauty of the world around us. The metaphor of running with the stars encourages a sense of unity with the universe.
Quote: "You have within you right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you."
Explanation: Aurelius reminds us that our inner strength and resources are sufficient to face challenges. This quote emphasizes self-reliance and resilience in the face of adversity.
Quote: "Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart."
Explanation: This quote underscores the importance of embracing the circumstances and people in our lives, fostering genuine acceptance and love for both.
Quote: "The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts."
Explanation: Marcus Aurelius illustrates how our thoughts shape our inner world. This analogy urges us to cultivate positive, virtuous thoughts to enhance the state of our soul.
Quote: "Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one."
Explanation: Instead of engaging in philosophical debates, Aurelius emphasizes the transformative power of embodying virtuous qualities ourselves.
Quote: "The best revenge is not to be like your enemy."
Explanation: In the face of harm or injustice, Aurelius advocates responding with integrity and wisdom rather than seeking vindictiveness.
Quote: "No man can rob you of your free will."
Explanation: Aurelius highlights that our choices and reactions are within our control, regardless of external circumstances. This serves as a reminder of our autonomy.
Quote: "The present moment is all you ever have."
Explanation: This quote urges us to focus on the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It underscores the significance of mindfulness.
Quote: "Our life is what our thoughts make it."
Explanation: Marcus Aurelius emphasizes that our perception and interpretation of events largely determine the quality of our lives, reinforcing the power of our mindset.
Quote: "Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been."
Explanation: Aurelius suggests that our emotional responses are under our control. By choosing not to feel harmed, we can transcend the impact of external events.
Quote: "The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away."
Explanation: Marcus Aurelius points out that the lasting value of wealth lies in how it's shared and used to benefit others, aligning with Stoic values of generosity and virtue.
Quote: "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."
Explanation: This quote urges us to recognize the subjectivity of our perceptions and encourages critical thinking to differentiate between opinions and objective reality.