I recently finished Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and so many poetic passages in the book stuck with me.
This line in the Amazon description sums up the book: “Nearly two thousand years after it was written, Meditations remains profoundly relevant for anyone seeking to lead a meaningful life.”
Here are some of my favorite passages.
Book Two: On the River Gran, Among the Quandi
17. Human life.
Duration: momentary. Nature: changeable. Perception: dim. Condition of Body: decaying. Soul: spinning around. Fortune: unpredictable. Lasting Fame: uncertain. Sum Up: The body and its parts are a river, the soul a dream and mist, life is warfare and a journey far from home, lasting reputation is oblivion.
Book Three: In Carnuntum
10. Forget everything else. Keep hold of this alone and remember it: Each of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see.
22. To feel affection for people even when they make mistakes is uniquely human. You can do it, if you simply recognize: that they’re human too, that they act out of ignorance, against their will, and that you’ll both be dead before long. And, above all, they they haven’t really hurt you.
36. Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. … Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you. Only the present—and even that can be minimized.
44. Give yourself a gift: the present moment.
13. Today I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions—not outside.
17. Continual awareness of all time and space, of the size and life span of the things around us. A grape seed in infinite space. A half twist of a corkscrew against eternity.
18. Bear in mine that everything that exists is already fraying at the edges, and in transition, subject to fragmentation and to rot. Or that everything was born to die.
2. God sees all our souls freed from their fleshly containers, stripped clean of their bark, cleansed of their grime. He grasps with his intelligence alone what was poured and channeled from himself into them. If you learn to do the same, you can avoid a great deal of distress. When you see through the flesh that covers you, will you be unsettled by clothing, mansions, celebrity—the painted sets, the costume cupboard?