Marcus Auerelius (Part 2)

  1. When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.”
  2. If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”
  3. 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.
  4. Here is a rule to remember in future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not “This is misfortune,” but “To bear this worthily is good fortune.
  5. Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question:What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?
  6. “Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honored. Dying…or busy with other assignments. Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life. There as well: “To do what needs doing.” Look inward. Don’t let the true nature of anything elude you. Before long, all existing things will be transformed, to rise like smoke (assuming all things become one), or be dispersed in fragments…to move from one unselfish act to another with God in mind. Only there, delight and stillness…when jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. You’ll have a better grasp of the harmony if you keep going back to it.”
  7. Regain your senses, call yourself back, and once again wake up. Now that you realize that only dreams were troubling you, view this ‘reality’ as you view your dreams.”
  8. Do not waste what remains of your life in speculating about your neighbors, unless with a view to some mutual benefit. To wonder what so-and-so is doing and why, or what he is saying, or thinking, or scheming — in a word, anything that distracts you from fidelity to the ruler within you — means a loss of opportunity for some other task.”
  9. The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.”
  10. You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone
  11. Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil. But for my part I have long perceived the nature of good and its nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother (not in the physical sense, but as a fellow creature similarly endowed with reason and a share of the divine); therefore none of those things can injure me, for nobody can implicate me in what is degrading. Neither can I be angry with my brother or fall foul of him; for he and I were born to work together, like a man’s two hands, feet or eyelids, or the upper and lower rows of his teeth. To obstruct each other is against Nature’s law – and what is irritation or aversion but a form of obstruction
  12. I was once a fortunate man but at some point fortune abandoned me. But true good fortune is what you make for yourself. Good fortune: good character, good intentions, and good actions.
  13. Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.
  14. It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own
  15. The happiness of those who want to be popular depends on others; the happiness of those who seek pleasure fluctuates with moods outside their control; but the happiness of the wise grows out of their own free acts
  16. All men are made one for another: either then teach them better or bear with them.
  17. Is your cucumber bitter? Throw it away. Are there briars in your path? Turn aside. That is enough. Do not go on and say, “Why were things of this sort ever brought into this world?” neither intolerable nor everlasting – if thou bearest in mind that it has its limits, and if thou addest nothing to it in imagination. Pain is either an evil to the body (then let the body say what it thinks of it!)-or to the soul. But it is in the power of the soul to maintain its own serenity and tranquility… .
  18. From the philosopher Catulus, never to be dismissive of a friend’s accusation, even if it seems unreasonable, but to make every effort to restore the relationship to its normal condition.
  19. Live out your life in truth and justice, tolerant of those who are neither true nor just.
  20. So you know how things stand. Now forget what they think of you. Be satisfied if you can live the rest of your life, however short, as your nature demands. Focus on that, and don’t let anything distract you. You’ve wandered all over and finally realized that you never found what you were after: how to live. Not in syllogisms, not in money, or fame, or self-indulgence. Nowhere

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