Meditations, the personal diary of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor from AD 121-180, was never intended for publication. Aurelius reflected daily on how he could be a better person, by looking back on his day and what he learnt from it.

This brief review can’t capture the richness of this powerful book, whose wisdom has guided so many thinkers, politicians, activists and philosophers hundreds of years later.

Three takeaways

  1. Death is a gift.
  2. We control our emotions.
  3. Look inward for peace.

Death is a gift

There is a limit to the time assigned to you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.
Marcus Aurelius

Death is our only certainty. Every day we waste is a day we never get back. Once we grasp this fact – death becomes a friend to keep us in the present. The trivial keeping us up all night no longer has that power over us. Hearing deaths tick, helps us to act with purpose, love and action.

We control our emotions.

Chose not to be harmed and you will not.
Marcus Aurelius

We can choose to give into negativity or realise the responsibility of our emotions rests in our hands: there is so much power in that. Much of our suffering comes from our perception and interpretation of the events, rather than the events themselves.

Strive to make yourself a better person. Control your arrogance. Stop getting angry with stupid and unpleasant people.
Marcus Aurelius

Look inward for peace

Nowhere you can go is more peaceful, more free of interruptions, than your own soul. Retreat to consult your own soul and then return to face what awaits you.
Marcus Aurelius

We already have the answers inside of us. It is when we ignore our inner voice, and act according to outside influences we become unhappy and confused. If we search for fulfilment and meaning outside of ourselves we will always be unhappy. All you need is already here, in your guts, heart and mind. Listen to your own inner wisdom and act authentically to the vision you have for yourself.

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Meditations

by Marcus Aurelius

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