Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor and one of the Five Good Emperors, lived almost 2000 years ago but his thoughts are timeless. During his 19 year reign, he maintained a journal of private meditations that show a great mind at constant work - trying to make sense of the world, of personal responsibilities, how to deal with other people, how to remain true to one's self, and so much more. Tremendous book, in line with Tao Te Ching, Meditations is a collection of thoughts that you will return again and again to.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
"How he was neither a superstitious worshipper of the gods, nor an ambitious pleaser of men, or studious of popular applause."
Much inspired by stoicism, Marcus Aurelius saw life as something to control through one's perspective and personal choices, without giving much thought to what others thought or expected.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
Although grim and serious at times, the book always succeeds in offering a way out of stress and anxiety. The medicine it proposes is to rely on one's self, on a few good people, and on improving our perspective of the world, rather than expecting the word to adjust itself to us. Coming from the most powerful person on the planet at the time, these words carry weight.
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
A powerful read, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is a book to be savoured.