Meditations

Meditations | Marcus Aurelius

I’ve mentioned Stoicism a handful of times in the recent past and this book has a lot to do with it. This book along with Disclosures and Selected Writings by Epictetus and Letters from a Stoic by Seneca make up the holy trinity of Stoicism Books. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD. Meditations is the collection of journals he kept during his time as ruler. The pages are filled with his thoughts and self reminders about Stoic philosophy. He uses this framework to reflect on what it takes to be a “good” person.

I have favorite lines and passages underlined and highlighted throughout the book; I bought the paperback edition for specifically this reason. However, the most memorable part of this book for me is in the forward provided by the translator, Gregory Hays. He breaks down Stoic philosophy into three components: will, action, and perception. Will is having the grace to let go of the things out of our control. Action is to treat others fairly and justly. And perception is viewing things not as good or bad but just as they are. The practice of these three values will lead to a life well lived.

Some of my favorite lines from the book are:

The best revenge is not to be like that.

(6.6)

You can hold your breath until you turn blue, but they’ll still go on doing it.

(8.4)

Forget the future. When and if it comes, you’ll have the same resources to draw on -the same logos.

(7.8)

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