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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

30 Life Lessons From Marcus Aurelius

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30 Life Lessons From Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus' death in 169. He was the last of the Five Good Emperors, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers.

During his reign, the Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire in the East; Aurelius' general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, with the threat of the Germanic tribes beginning to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately.

Marcus Aurelius' Stoic tome Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.

1) “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” (Meditations)

2) “You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” (Meditations)

3) “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” (Meditations)

4) “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” (Meditations)

5) “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” (Meditations)

6) “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.” (Meditations)

7) “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...” (Meditations)

8) “The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” (Meditations)

9) “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” (Meditations)

10) “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” (Meditations)

11) “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” (Meditations)

12) “The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.” (Meditations)

13) “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.” (Meditations)

14) “If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” (Meditations)

15) “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.” (Meditations)

16) “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.” (Meditations)

17) “I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.” (Meditations)

18) “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” (Meditations)

19) “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.” (Meditations)

20) “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.” (Meditations)

21) “When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.” (Meditations)

22) “The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.” (Meditations)

23) “Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” (Meditations)

24) “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.” (Meditations)

25) “Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.” (Meditations)

26) “Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.” (Meditations)

27) “Here is a rule to remember in future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not "This is misfortune," but "To bear this worthily is good fortune.” (Meditations)

28) “You are a little soul carrying about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say.” (Meditations)

29) “How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” (Meditations)

30) “Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future too.” (Meditations)

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