My personal notes on the book Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius.

  • Think of your many years of procrastination; how the gods have repeatedly granted you further periods of grace, aof which you have taken no advantage. It’s time now to realize the nature of the universe to which you belong, and of that controlling Power whose offspring you are; and to understand that your time has a limit set to it. Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment, or it will be gone, and never in your power again.
  • Are you distracted by outward cares? Then allow yourself a space of quiet, wherein you can add to your knowledge of the Good and learn to curb your restlessness. 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.
  • Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul; above all, he who possesses resources in himself, which he need only contemplate to secure immediate ease of mind - the ease that is but another word for a well-ordered spirit. Avail yourself often, then, of this retirement, and so continually renew yourself.
  • For 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.
  • The whole universe is change, and life itself is but what you deem it.
  • Put you from the belief that “I have been wronged”, and with it will go the feeling. Reject your sense of injury, and the injury itself disappears.
  • To what, then, must we aspire? This, and this alone: the just thought, the unselfish act, the tongue that utters no falsehood, the temper that greets each passing event as something predestined, expected, and emanating from the One source and origin.
  • So here is a rule to remember, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not, “This is a misfortune”, but “To bear this worthily is a good fortune”.
  • At day’s first light have in readiness, against disinclination to leave your bed, the thought that “I am rising for the work of man”. Must I grumble at setting out to do nwhat I was born for, and for the sake of which I have been brought into the world? Is this the purpose of my creation, to lie here under the blankets and keep myself warm? “Ah, but it is a great deal more pleasant!” Was it for pleasure, then, that you were born, and not for work, not for effort? Look at the plants, the sparrows, ants, spider, bees, all busy at their own tasks, each doing his part towards a coherent world-order; and will you refuse man’s share of the work, instead of being prompt to carry out Nature’s bidding? “Yes, but one must have some repose as well.” Granted; but repose has its limits set by nature, in the same way as food and drink have; and you overstep these limits, you go beyond the point of sufficiency; while on the other hand, when action is in question, you stop short of what you could well achieve.
  • Live with the gods. To live wiht the gods is to show them at all times a soul contented with their awards, and wholly fulfilling the will of that inward divinity, that particle of himself, which Zeus has given to every man for ruler and guide - the mind and the reason.
  • …remember that whatsoever lies outside the bounds of this poor flesh and breath is none of yours, nor in your power.
  • No matter to what solitudes banished, I have always been a favourite of Fortune. For Fortune’s favourite is the man who awards her good gifts to himself - the good gifts of a good disposition, good impulses, and good deeds.
  • Look beneath the surface: never let a thing’s instrinsic quality or worth escape you.
  • To refrain from imitation is the best revenge.