Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, part 1
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
We are here to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower.
Consider what the spirit is: air, and never the same air, but vomited out and gulped in again every instant.
At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring…
…you are a part of nature, and no one can prevent you from speaking and acting in harmony with it, always.
You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think…
You boarded, you set sail, you’ve made the passage. Time to disembark. If it’s for another life, well, there’s nowhere without gods on that side either. If to nothingness, then you no longer have to put up with pain and pleasure, or go on dancing attendance on this battered crate, your body—so much inferior to that which serves it.
…we carry our fate with us—and it carries us.
Each of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see.
…in each case you need to say: “This is due to God.” Or: “This is due to the interweavings and intertwinings of fate...”
…keep the spirit inside you undamaged, as if you might have to give it back at any moment…
…find fulfillment in what you’re doing now, as Nature intended…
In everything you do, even the smallest thing, remember the chain that links them.
…welcome with affection what is sent by fate.
People try to get away from it all—to the country, to the beach, to the mountains…which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful—more free of interruptions—than your own soul…An instant’s recollection and there it is: complete tranquility.
…things have no hold on the soul. They stand there unmoving, outside it. Disturbance comes only from within—from your own perceptions.
It was for the best. So Nature had no choice but to do it.
…every event is the right one. Look closely and you’ll see…As if someone had weighed it out with scales.
To the world: Your harmony is mine. Whatever time you choose is the right time. Not late, not early. To nature: What the turn of your seasons brings me falls like ripe fruit.
All things are born from you, exist in you, return to you.
Something happens to you. Good. It was meant for you by nature, woven into the pattern from the beginning. Life is short…Get what you can from the present—thoughtfully, justly.
Entrust everything willingly to the gods, and then make your way through life—no one’s master and no one’s slave.
…accept whatever happens as necessary…
…everything is born from change…there is nothing nature loves more than to alter what exists and make new things like it. All that exists is the seed of what will emerge from it.
The world as a living being—one nature, one soul...everything helps produce everything else. Spun and woven together.
Human lives are brief and trivial. Yesterday a blob of semen; tomorrow embalming fluid, ash…pass through this brief life as nature demands…give it up without complaint. Like an olive that ripens and falls. Praising its mother; thanking the tree it grew on.
…be like the rock that the waves keep crashing over. It stands unmoved and the raging of the sea falls still around it.
…there is a single harmony. Just as the world forms a single body comprising all bodies, so fate forms a single purpose, comprising all purposes.
“Nature prescribed illness for him.” What happens to each of us is ordered. It furthers our destiny…embrace what happens. It was prescribed for you, and it pertains to you. The thread was spun long ago, by the oldest cause of all…
…the whole is damaged if you cut away anything—anything at all—from its continuity and its coherence.
…celebrate behaving like a human—however imperfectly—and fully embrace the pursuit that you’ve embarked on.
I am made up of substance and what animates it, and neither one can ever stop existing, any more than it began to.
The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.
Things gravitate toward what they were intended for. What things gravitate toward is their goal.
Keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone—those that are now, and those to come. Existence flows past us like a river: the “what” is in constant flux, the “why” has a thousand variations.
The infinity of past and future gapes before us—a chasm whose depths we cannot see.
What is done to me is ordained by nature, what I do by my own.
“To live with the gods.” And to do that is to show them that your soul accepts what is given and does what the spirit requires—the spirit God gave each of us to lead and guide us, a fragment of himself.
"I am time, never-ending time. I am the creator who sees all. I am Death that carries off all things and I am the source of things to come...I am the One source of all..."