“Meditations” is fairly different from other books that I have read. It is more of a compilation of Marcus Aurelius’ lessons learned in life.
He starts by expressing gratitude to individuals who taught him things like meekness, kindness, justice, and equality. He also expresses gratitude to the gods for his family, his healthy body, and philosophy.
Next, there is a reflection on life, death, and the use of our time on this earth. We are reminded that our time is limited and we should use it wisely. Every action should be viewed as if it were our last and be free from vanity. Marcus Aurelius was a huge fan of not wasting time.
One of the things that resonated with me is the reminder to control our thoughts. In my experience, it takes discipline to focus one’s thoughts and refrain from making rash decisions. In almost all situations, I focus on careful consideration before any action. It’s a work in progress though.
Marcus Aurelius was also focused on truth and what meaning it held. He even reflected on the need to be ready to change one’s mind. This is a great point when we stop to think about our deepest beliefs. Would you be prepared to change your mind if new information were presented?
Definitely something to ponder.
He says that we should be content with little, sincere, and kind. I think these three points are very powerful for today’s society. There seems to be this need for more, more, more, and sometimes at the expense of others. We could treat each other a little better.
In the final book/chapter of “Meditations,” Marcus Aurelius wonders how one can value the opinions of others over his/her own. We should think for ourselves and not be fearful of what others may (or may not) think of us.
There are many more lessons in “Meditations” that would stretch this review beyond just a blog. But I refer to the lessons often in my daily life, even though it was written so long ago.
Do you have any timeless wisdom you would like to recommend? Hit the comments below!
Be well and thanks for reading!