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From Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations: Book 3, Part 2 of 2

2020-08-15
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We will now continue with the timeless insights by Marcus Aurelius in Book 3, from his book entitled, “Meditations.” The Stoic philosopher emphasizes on the preservation of the spirit as substantial, in order to live in accordance with our innate divinity. “The mind of one set straight and purified: no pus, no dirt, no scabs. And not a life cut short by death, like an actor who stops before the play is done, the plot wound up. Neither servility nor arrogance. Neither cringing nor disdain. Neither excuses nor evasions.” “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. The span we live is small — small as the corner of the Earth in which we live it. Small as even the greatest renown, passed from mouth to mouth by short-lived stick figures, ignorant alike of themselves and those long dead.” “If you do the job in a principled way, with diligence, energy and patience, if you keep yourself free of distractions, and keep the spirit inside you undamaged, as if you might have to give it back at any moment — If you can embrace this without fear or expectation — can find fulfillment in what you’re doing now, as Nature intended, and in superhuman truthfulness (every word, every utterance) — then your life will be happy. No one can prevent that.” “If all the rest is common coin, then what is unique to the good man? To welcome with affection what is sent by fate. Not to stain or disturb the spirit within him with a mess of false beliefs. Instead, to preserve it faithfully, by calmly obeying God — saying nothing untrue, doing nothing unjust. And if the others don’t acknowledge it — this life lived with simplicity, humility, cheerfulness — he doesn’t resent them for it, and isn’t deterred from following the road where it leads: to the end of life. An end to be approached in purity, in serenity, in acceptance, in peaceful unity with what must be.”
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