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About Marcus Aurelius



Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 AD) was Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180.  He was the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors. He was a practitioner of Stoicism, and his untitled writing, commonly known as Meditations, is a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy, and is considered by many commentators to be one of the greatest works of philosophy.  Wikipedia

References:    Encyclopaedia Britannica    |    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

  

Marcus Aurelius (quotes)

Embrace life and live well

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Live fully

  • 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.
  • Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good while life and power are still yours.
  • It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.
  • Live each day as if it be your last.
  • Short is the little time which remains to thee of life. Live as on a mountain.
  • Take it that you have died today, and your life’s story is ended; and henceforward regard what future time may be given you as an uncovenanted surplus, and live it out in harmony with nature.
  • Imagine you were now dead, or had not lived before his moment. Now view the rest of your life as a bonus.
  • Live your life as if you are ready to say goodbye to it at any moment, as if the time left for you were some pleasant surprise.
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Appreciate life’s gifts

  • Each day provides its own gifts.
  • When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
  • Let not your mind run on what you lack as much as on what you have already.
  • 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.
  • Take full account of what excellencies you possess, and in gratitude remember how you would hanker after them, if you had them not.
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Do every act of your life as if it were your last

  • And thou wilt give thyself relief, if thou doest every act of thy life as if it were the last.
  • Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.
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To waste time is to waste life

  • Think of all the years passed by in which you said to yourself I’ll do it tomorrow, and how the gods have again and again granted you periods of grace of which you have not availed yourself. It is time to realise that you are a member of the Universe, that you are born of Nature itself, and to know that a limit has been set to your time. Use every moment wisely, to perceive your inner refulgence, or ’twill be gone and nevermore within your reach. 
  • There is a limit circumscribed to your time – if you do not use it to clear away your clouds, it will be gone, and you will be gone, and the opportunity will not return
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Live a good life …

  • Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. 
  • This is moral perfection: to live each day as though it were the last; to be tranquil, sincere, yet not indifferent to one’s fate.
  • Where a man can live, he can also live well.
  • What we do in life ripples in eternity.
  • How can a man find a sensible way to live? One way and one only – Philosophy. And my philosophy means keeping that vital spark within you free from damage and degradation, using it to transcend pain and pleasure, doing everything with a purpose, avoiding lies and hypocrisy, not relying on another person’s actions or failings. To accept everything that comes, and everything that is given, as coming from that same spiritual source.
  • In the end, what would you gain from everlasting remembrance? Absolutely nothing. So, what is left worth living for? This alone: justice in thought, goodness in action, speech that cannot deceive, and a disposition glad of whatever comes, welcoming it as necessary, as familiar, as flowing from the same source and fountain as yourself.
  • If you do the task before you always adhering to strict reason with zeal and energy and yet with humanity, disregarding all lesser ends and keeping the divinity within you pure and upright, as though you were even now faced with its recall – if you hold steadily to this, staying for nothing and shrinking from nothing, only seeking in each passing action a conformity with nature and in each word and utterance a fearless truthfulness, then the good life shall be yours. And from this course no man has the power to hold you back.
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… doing and saying what is right and good

  • If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it. 
  • Waste no more time arguing what a good person should be. Be one.
  • Waste no more time talking about great souls and how they should be. Become one yourself!
  • We ought to do good to others as simply and as naturally as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.
  • A man should be upright, not be kept upright.
  • Live out your life in truth and justice, tolerant of those who are neither true nor just. 
  • How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.
  • A man must stand erect, not be kept erect by others.
  • A man should be upright, not be kept upright.
  • Know the joy of life by piling good deed on good deed until no rift or cranny appears between them.
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Happiness

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Happiness is within your control

  • To live happily is an inward power of the soul. 
  • The happiness of those who want to be popular depends on others; the happiness of those who seek pleasure fluctuates with moods outside their control; but the happiness of the wise grows out of their own free acts.
  • Failure to read what is happening in another’s soul is not easily seen as a cause of unhappiness: but those who fail to attend the motions of their own soul are necessarily unhappy.
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Your happiness depends on the quality of your thoughts …

  • A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.
  • The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.
  • The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.
  • Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
  • Our life is what our thoughts make it.
  • No man is happy who does not think himself so.
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… and how you interpret external events

  • If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
  • If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now.
  • You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. 
  • It doesn’t hurt me unless I interpret its happening as harmful to me. I can choose not to.
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Who you are is also determined by your thoughts

  • Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.
  • The soul is dyed by the thoughts. Dye it then, with a continuous series of such thoughts as these – that where a man can live, there – if he will – he can also live well.
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Acceptance

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Accept and welcome what fate brings …

  • Accept the things to which fate binds you and love the people with whom fate brings you together, and do so with all your heart.
  • Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?  
  • Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live.
  • Surrender your life serenely, as serenely as the One who takes it from you.
  • You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone. 
  • But if we judge only those things which are in our power to be good or bad, there remains no reason either for finding fault with God or standing in a hostile attitude to man.
  • Welcome every experience the looms of fate may weave for you.
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… including what looks like misfortune …

  • Does what’s happened keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforward ness, and all other qualities that allow a person’s nature to fulfil itself? So, remember this principle when something threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to endure it and prevail is great good fortune.
  • Is your cucumber bitter? Throw it away. Are there briars in your path? Turn aside. That is enough. Do not go on and say, ‘Why were things of this sort ever brought into the world?’
  • The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around. That’s all you need to know.
  • Here is the rule to remember in the future, When anything tempts you to be bitter: not, ‘This is a misfortune’ but ‘To bear this worthily is good fortune.’
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… trusting in the perfect order of the universe

  • Everything that happens happens as it should, and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so. 
  • O world, I am in tune with every note of thy great harmony. For me nothing is early, nothing late, if it be timely for thee. O Nature, all that thy seasons yield is fruit for me.
  • Whatever may happen to you was prepared for you from all eternity; and the implication of causes was from eternity spinning the thread of your being.
  • Whatever the universal nature assigns to any man at any time is for the good of that man at that time.
  • The universal order and the personal order are nothing but different expressions and manifestations of a common underlying principle.
  • All that is harmony for you, my Universe, is in harmony with me as well. Nothing that comes at the right time for you is too early or too late for me. Everything is fruit to me that your seasons bring, Nature. All things come of you, have their being in you, and return to you.
  • The whole contains nothing that is not for its advantage. By remembering that I am part of such a whole, I shall be content with everything that happens.
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Impermanence and change

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Realise all things in life are impermanent …

  • Even while a thing is in the act of coming into existence, some part of it has already ceased to be.
  • Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.
  • Reflect often upon the rapidity with which all existing things, or things coming into existence, sweep past us and are carried away.
  • The memory of everything is very soon overwhelmed in time.
  • Time is a river, the resistless flow of all created things. One thing no sooner comes in sight than it is hurried past and another is borne along, only to be swept away in its turn.
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… and that change is something to embrace, not fear

  • Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things which are, and to make new things like them.
  • Observe always that everything is the result of change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and make new ones like them.
  • Why should anyone be afraid of change? What can take place without it? What can be more pleasing or more suitable to universal nature? Can you take your bath without the firewood undergoing a change? Can you eat without the food undergoing a change? And can anything useful be done without change? Don’t you see that for you to change is just the same, and is equally necessary for universal nature?
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Advice for living

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Dream big

  • Dream big dreams; only big dreams have the power to move men’s souls. 
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Be who you are

  • Be content to seem what you really are. 
  • Be content with what you are, and wish not change; nor dread your last day, nor long for it.
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Be thoughtful

  • Be not careless in deeds, nor confused in words, nor rambling in thought.
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Embrace the present

  • Confine yourself to the present.
  • How very near us stand the two vast gulfs of time, the past and the future, in which all things disappear. 
  • Never confuse yourself by visions of an entire lifetime at once… remember that it is not the weight of the future or the past that is pressing upon you, but ever that of the present alone.
  • 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. 
  • Tomorrow is nothing, today is too late; the good lived yesterday.
  • …the sole thing of which any man can be deprived is the present; since this is all he owns, and nobody can lose what is not his.
  • Every man’s life lies within the present; for the past is spent and done with, and the future is uncertain.
  • Remember that man lives only in the present, in this fleeting instant; all the rest of his life is either past and gone, or not yet revealed.
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Observe and contemplate …

  • Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life. 
  • Observe and contemplate on the hidden things of life: how a man’s seed is but the beginning, it takes others to bring it to fruition. Think how food undergoes such changes to produce health and strength. See the power of these hidden things which, like the wind cannot been seen, but its effects can be.
  • Practice really hearing what people say. Do your best to get inside their mind.
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… including the motives and pursuits of others

  • Let it be your constant method to look into the design of people’s actions, and see what they would be at, as often as it is practicable; and to make this custom the more significant, practice it first upon yourself.
  • To understand the true quality of people, you must look into their minds, and examine their pursuits and aversions.
  • Look deep into the hearts of men, and see what delights and disgusts the wise.
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Have self belief

  • Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also.
  • Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.
  • Nothing happens to any man that he is not formed by nature to bear.
  • There is nothing happens to any person but what was in his power to go through with.
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Dwell on the beauty of life

  • Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.
  • Everything in any way beautiful has its beauty of itself, inherent and self-sufficient: praise is no part of it. At any rate, praise does not make anything better or worse. This applies even to the popular conception of beauty, as in material things or works of art. So, does the truly beautiful need anything beyond itself? No more than law, no more than truth, no more than kindness or integrity. Which of these things derives its beauty from praise, or withers under criticism? Does an emerald lose its quality if it is not praised? And what of gold, ivory, purple, a lyre, a dagger, a flower, a bush?
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Find strength and power within

  • Look well into thyself, there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look there.
  • Look within, for within is the wellspring of virtue, which will not cease flowing, if you cease not from digging. 
  • Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig. 
  • Remember that what pulls the strings is the force hidden within; there lies the power to persuade, there the life – there, if one must speak out, the real man.
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Trust your inner voice and reason

  • Treat with utmost respect your power of forming opinions, for this power alone guards you against making assumptions that are contrary to nature and judgments that overthrow the rule of reason.
  • He is a true fugitive who flies from reason. 
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Capitalise on opportunity

  • Remember how often you have postponed minding your interest, and let slip those opportunities the gods have given you. It is now high time to consider what sort of world you are part of, and from what kind of governor of it you are descended; that you have a set period assigned you to act in, and unless you improve it to brighten and compose your thoughts, it will quickly run off with you, and be lost beyond recovery.
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Be inspired by the virtues of others

  • When you need encouragement, think of the qualities the people around you have: this one’s energy, that one’s modesty, another’s generosity, and so on. Nothing is as encouraging as when virtues are visibly embodied in the people around us, when we’re practically showered with them. It’s good to keep this in mind.
  • Remind oneself continually of one of those who practiced virtue in days gone by.
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Be tolerant of others

  • Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.
  • Live out your life in truth and justice, tolerant of those who are neither true nor just. 
  • The offender needs pity, not wrath; those who must needs be corrected, should be treated with tact and gentleness; and one must be always ready to learn better. ‘The best kind of revenge is, not to become like unto them.’
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More values to live by

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Embrace simplicity and focus

  • A man should remove not only unnecessary acts, but also unnecessary thoughts, for then superfluous activity will not follow.
  • Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’
  • Guard also against another kind of error: the folly of those who weary their days in much business, but lack any aim on which their whole effort, nay, their whole thought, is focused.
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Embrace non-materialism

  • Look then at the material objects of life, and consider how trivial and short-lived they are and how often they are owned by scoundrels and thieves.
  • Very little is needed for a happy life.
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Embrace a sense of purpose and do what you love

  • Everything—a horse, a vine—is created for some duty… For what task, then, were you yourself created? A man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for.
  • Give your heart to the trade you have learnt, and draw refreshment from it. Let the rest of your days be spent as one who has whole-heartedly committed his all to the gods and is thenceforth no man’s master or slave.
  • In the morning when thou risest unwillingly, let this thought be present – I am rising to the work of a human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world?
  • Let no act be done without purpose.
  • Without a purpose, nothing should be done.
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Embrace integrity and self respect

  • Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self- respect. 
  • Remember this-that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life. 
  • 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 opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.
  • A man’s true greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest purpose in life, founded on a just estimate of himself and everything else, on frequent self-examinations, and a steady obedience to the rule which he knows to be right, without troubling himself about what others may think or say, or whether they do or do not that which he thinks and says and does.
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Embrace service and giving

  • Let your one delight and refreshment be to pass from one service to the community to another, with God ever in mind.
  • Men exist for the sake of one another. 
  • The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth you have given away.
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Embrace tranquillity and inner serenity …

  • How easy it is to repel and erase every impression which is troublesome or unwelcome, and immediately to be tranquil.
  • Take me and cast me where you will; I shall still be possessor of the divinity within me, serene and content.
  • By a tranquil mind I mean nothing else than a mind well ordered.
  • Allow yourself a space of quiet, wherein you can add to your knowledge of the Good and learn to curb your restlessness.
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… by retiring to the quiet within your own soul

  • Withdraw to the untroubled quietude deep within the soul, and refresh yourself.
  • Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.
  • For it is in your power to retire into yourself whenever you choose.
  • Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, sea-shores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul.
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Embrace equanimity

  • When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self- control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.
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Embrace harmony

  • He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe. 
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Embrace action and good deeds

  • The happiness and unhappiness of the rational, social animal depends not on what he feels but on what he does; just as his virtue and vice consist not in feeling but in doing. 
  • Begin – to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished.
  • Every man is worth just as much as the things he busies himself with.
  • The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
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Thoughts on the praise and blame of others

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Do not care for the approval of others

  • The approval of such men, who do not even stand well in their own eyes, has no value for him.
  • The people itching for immortal fame do not see that everyone who remembers them will themselves soon die, and the next generation in its turn, until these memories, transmitted by people who foolishly admire and then die, will perish. But even if these people were immortal and your memory stayed alive forever, what does it matter to you?  What good is praise to the buried, or even the living, except for some practical use?  You reject Nature’s gift today if you cling to what people may say of you tomorrow. 
  • 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.
  • When you have done a good deed that another has had the benefit of, why do you need a third reward–as fools do– praise for having done well or looking for a favor in return. 
  • You should banish any thoughts of how you may appear to others.
  • How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.
  • He who pays no attention to what his neighbor does, says or thinks, preferring to concentrate on making his own actions appropriate and justifiable, better uses his time.
  • Doth perfect beauty stand in need of praise at all? Nay; no more than law, no more than truth, no more than loving kindness, nor than modesty.
  • Anything in any way beautiful derives its beauty from itself and asks nothing beyond itself. Praise is no part of it, for nothing is made worse or better by praise.
  • If any man despises me, that is his problem. My only concern is not doing or saying anything deserving of contempt.
  • Or is it your reputation that’s bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of those applauding hands. The people who praise us; how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region it takes place. The whole earth a point in space – and most of it uninhabited.
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Thoughts on death

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Do not fear death for it is part of nature

  • Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back.
  • Death–a stopping of impressions through the senses, and of the pulling of the cords of motion, and of the ways of thought, and of service to the flesh.
  • Death, like birth, is one of nature’s mysteries, the combining of primal elements and dissolving of the same into the same.
  • Do not fear death, but welcome it, since it too comes from nature.  For just as we are young and grow old, and flourish and reach maturity, have teeth and a beard and grey hairs, conceive, become pregnant, and bring forth new life, and all the other natural processes that follow the seasons of our existence, so also do we have death.  A thoughtful person will never take death lightly, impatiently, or scornfully, but will wait for it as one of life’s natural processes. 
  • It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.
  • The longest-lived and the shortest-lived man, when they come to die, lose one and the same thing.
  • Despise not death, but welcome it, for nature wills it like all else.
  • Soon you will have forgotten the world, and soon the world will have forgotten you.
  • The act of dying is one of the acts of life.
  • Can we wonder that men perish and are forgotten, when their noblest and most enduring works decay? Death comes even to monumental structures, and oblivion rests on the most illustrious names.
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Death is not final

  • If souls survive death for all eternity, how can the heavens hold them all? Or for that matter, how can the earth hold all the bodies that have been buried in it? The answers are the same. Just as on earth, with the passage of time, decaying and transmogrified corpses make way for the newly dead, so souls released into the heavens, after a season of flight, begin to break up, burn, and be absorbed back into the womb of reason, leaving room for souls just beginning to fly. This is the answer for those who believe that souls survive death.
  • It is not the body, nor the personality that is the true self. The true self is eternal. Even on the point of death we can say to ourselves, “my true self is free. I cannot be contained.
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Thoughts on transcending human challenges and vices

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Being wronged

  • Put from you the belief that ‘I have been wronged’, and with it will go the feeling. Reject your sense of injury, and the injury itself disappears. 
  • Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.
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Revenge

  • The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.
  • The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.
  • To refrain from imitation is the best revenge.
  • The most complete revenge is not to imitate the aggressor.
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Judgement and fault finding

  • 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?
  • Say to yourself in the early morning: I shall meet today ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All of these things have come upon them through ignorance of real good and ill… I can neither be harmed by any of them, for no man will involve me in wrong, nor can I be angry with my kinsman or hate him; for we have come into the world to work together.
  • I’m going to be meeting with people today who talk too much – people who are selfish, egotistical, ungrateful. But I won’t be surprised or disturbed, for I can’t imagine a world without such people.
  • When you are annoyed at someone’s mistake, immediately look at yourself and reflect how you also fail; for example, in thinking that good equals money, or pleasure, or a bit of fame. By being mindful of this you’ll quickly forget your anger, especially if you realize that the person was under stress, and could do little else. And, if you can, find a way to alleviate that stress.
  • A good man does not spy around for the black spots in others, but presses unswervingly on towards his mark.
  • It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own.
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Poverty

  • Poverty is the mother of crime.
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Pain

  • In every pain let this thought be present, that there is no dishonour in it, nor does it make the governing intelligence worse. Indeed, in the case of most pains, let this remark of Epicurus aid thee, that pain is neither intolerable nor everlasting – if thou bearest in mind that it has its limits, and if thou addest nothing to it in imagination. Pain is either an evil to the body (then let the body say what it thinks of it!)-or to the soul. But it is in the power of the soul to maintain its own serenity and tranquillity, and not to think that pain is an evil. . . .  It will suffice thee to remember as concerning pain . . . that the mind may, by stopping all manner of commerce and sympathy with the body, still retain its own tranquillity.
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Envy

  • Envy is a sickness growing from other men’s happiness.
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Anger

  • Anger cannot be dishonest.
  • How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.
  • Our anger and annoyance are more detrimental to us than the things themselves which anger or annoy us.
  • Why should we feel anger at the world? As if the world would notice?
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Vanity

  • And what after all is everlasting fame? Altogether vanity. 
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Evil

  • Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil.
  • Nothing is evil which is according to nature.
  • Whoever does wrong, wrongs himself; whoever does injustice, does it to himself, making himself evil.
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Sinning by omission

  • A man does not sin by commission only, but often by omission.
  • The wrongdoer is often the person who left something undone, rather than the person who has done something.
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More thoughts

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Truth and opinion

  • Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. 
  • The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.
  • If anyone can show me, and convince me, that I have acted or thought in error, I will gladly change; for I seek truth, and no one was ever injured by the truth.  But people injure themselves if they live with self- deception and ignorance.
  • Live out your life in truth and justice, tolerant of those who are neither true nor just. 
  • No one was ever injured by the truth; but he who persists in self-deception and ignorance is injured.
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Aspiration and ambition

  • A man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions.
  • A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.
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All things are connected

  • All things are linked with one another, and this oneness is sacred; there is nothing that is not interconnected with everything else.  For things are interdependent, and they combine to form this universal order.  There is only one universe made up of all things, and one creator who pervades them; there is one substance and one law, namely, common reason in all thinking creatures, and all truth is one -if, as we believe, there is only one path of perfection for all beings who share the same mind. 
  • Never forget that the universe is a single living organism possessed of one substance and one soul, holding all things suspended in a single consciousness and creating all things with a single purpose that they might work together spinning and weaving and knotting whatever comes to pass. Marcus Aurelius 
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Leadership

  • It is the responsibility of leadership to work intelligently with what is given, and not waste time fantasizing about a world of flawless people and perfect choices.
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More thoughts

  • A great estate is a great disadvantage to those who do not know how to use it, for nothing is more common than to see wealthy persons live scandalously and miserably; riches do them no service in order to virtue and happiness; therefore, ’tis precept and principle, not an estate, that makes a man good for something.
  • That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees.
  • The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.
  • The sexual embrace can only be compared with music and with prayer.
  • What we do now echoes in eternity.
  • Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.
  • The universe is transformation: life is opinion.
  • You must become an old man in good time if you wish to be an old man long.
  • To the wise, life is a problem; to the fool, a solution.
  • Each thing is of like form from everlasting and comes round again in its cycle.
  • We are too much accustomed to attribute to a single cause that which is the product of several, and the majority of our controversies come from that.
  • It is a disgrace to let ignorance and vanity do more with us than prudence and principle.
  • Men are born for each other’s sake, so either teach people or endure them.
  • Forward, as occasion offers. Never look round to see whether any shall note it.  Be satisfied with success in even the smallest matter, and think that even such a result is no trifle.
  • Give thyself time to learn something new and good, and cease to be whirled around.
  • Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability.
  • Be like the cliff against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.
  • What we cannot bear removes us from life; what remains can be borne.
  • Receive the gifts of fortune without pride, and part with them without reluctance.
  • Everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which will be.
  • Bear in mind that the measure of a man is the worth of the things he cares about.
  • Gluttony and drunkenness have two evils attendant on them; they make the carcass smart, as well as the pocket.
  • A person’s worth is measured by the worth of what he values.
  • 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.
  • Your task is to stand straight; not to be held straight.
  • Keep yourself simple, good, pure, serious, and unassuming; the friend of justice and godliness; kindly, affectionate, and resolute in your devotion to duty.
  • Remember that there is a God who desires neither praise nor glory from men created in his image, but rather that they, guided by the understanding given them, should in their actions become like unto him.
  • Remember that to change your mind and follow him who sets you right is to be none the less free than you were before.
  • Run down the list of those who felt intense anger at something: the most famous, the most unfortunate, the most hated, the most whatever: Where is all that now? Smoke, dust, legend…or not even a legend. Think of all the examples. And how trivial the things we want so passionately are.
  • Since you are an integral part of a social system, let every act of yours contribute to the harmonization of social life. Any action that is not related directly or remotely to this social aim disturbs your life, and destroys your unity.
  • The inner master, when confronted with an obstacle, uses it as fuel, like a fire which consumes things that are thrown into it. A small lamp would be snuffed out, but a big fire will engulf what is thrown at it and burn hotter; it consumes the obstacle and uses it to reach a higher level.
  • The universal nature has no external space; but the wondrous part of her art is that though she has circumscribed herself, everything which is within her which appears to decay and to grow old and to be useless she changes into herself, and again makes other new things from these very same, so that she requires neither substance from without nor wants a place into which she may cast that which decays. She is content then with her own space, and her own matter, and her own art.
  • The wise man sees in the misfortune of others what he should avoid.
  • Think on this doctrine, hat reasoning beings were created for one another’s sake; that to be patient is a branch of justice, and that men sin without intending it.
  • This is the mark of a perfect character – to pass through each day as though it were the last, without agitation, without torpor, and without pretence.
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On a lighter note

  • The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.
  • 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.
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1 reply
  1. Aimee Davies
    Aimee Davies says:

    These quotes are so inspiring!!!!
    Illuminating and inspired by the Divine.
    Thanks for putting up G :)
    A xx

    Reply

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