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Words of Wisdom

Live This Life Out Truthfully and Rightly: Selections from Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations,” Part 1 of 2

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Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor of the 2nd century, also known as the last of the Five Good Emperors, after Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius. Marcus Aurelius wrote personal notes and ideas on Stoic philosophy and spirituality as a source of guidance for himself. These notes, originally written in ancient Greek, formed a collection called “Meditations.”

“I am composed of a body and a soul. Things that happen to the body are meaningless. It cannot discriminate among them. Nothing has meaning to my mind except its own actions. Which are within its own control. And it’s only the immediate ones that matter. Its past and future actions too are meaningless.”

“Everything derives from it - that universal mind - either as effect or consequence.” “If you’ve seen the present then you’ve seen everything - as it’s been since the beginning, as it will be forever. The same substance, the same form. All of it. Keep reminding yourself of the way things are connected, of their relatedness. All things are implicated in one another and in sympathy with each other. This event is the consequence of some other one. Things push and pull on each other, and breathe together, and are one.”

“All of us are working on the same project. Some consciously, with understanding; some without knowing it.” “So make up your mind who you’ll choose to work with. The force that directs all things will make good use of you regardless - will put you on its payroll and set you to work.”

“If the gods have made decisions about me and the things that happen to me, then they were good decisions.” “And if they haven’t made decisions about me as an individual, they certainly have about the general welfare. And anything that follows from that is something I have to welcome and embrace.”

“Whatever happens to you is for the good of the world. That would be enough right there. But if you look closely you’ll generally notice something else as well: whatever happens to a single person is for the good of others.”
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