52 in 52 Book Summaries

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

book cover for Meditations by Marcus Aurelius forces of habit Journal book summary for meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius


The Essence

Practical philosophy as written from the private writings of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. As prescribed by the timeless lessons of Stoicism, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations are applied writings in his day to day life as literal king of the world. They are reminders of living in accordance to nature; to accept what you cannot control. We all have the tools reappraise what is out of control and the powers we have over our minds to shape every obstacle that may arise in our lives into something that assists us. It is though this, that one may become a person of virtue.

Meditations Journal Entry Notes:

This is my book summary of Meditations  My notes are a reflection of the journal write up above. Written informally, the notes contain a mesh and mix of quotes and my own thoughts on the book. Sometimes, to my own fault, quotes are interlaced with my own words. Though rest assured, I am not attempting to take any credit for the main ideas below. The Journal write up includes important messages and crucial passages from the book.

• Live according to nature. Accept without resentment whatever may befall.
• Kindness to his fellow creates is therefore incumbent upon him.
• The man of understanding finds good in his own actions.
• Never parade encyclopedic learning, put guard against unnecessary fault-finding.
• Never become unduly absorbed in things that are not of the first importance.
• The mind can circumvent all obstacles to action…barriers in its path become aids progress.

• True, others may hinder the carrying out of certain actions; but they cannot obstruct my will; nor disposition of my mind, since these will always safeguard themselves under reservations and adapt themselves to circumstances.
• Teach them better; if you can; if not, remember that Kindliness has been given you for moments like these.
• Be sparing in my wants, attend to my own needs, mind my own business, and NEVER listen to gossip.
• Treat with respect the power you have to form an opinion.
• What is the good of praise-unless maybe to sub serve some lesser design? Surely, then, you are making an inopportune rejection of what Nature has given you today, if all your mind is set on what men will say of you tomorrow.
• Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.
• Approach each action as though it were your last. Time has a limit set to it for you. Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment; or it will be gone, and NEVER in your power again. You can only ever lose the moment you are living now.

• 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 it nobility, the nature of evil and its meanness, and also the nature of the culprit himself, who is my brother; 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 of fall foul of him; for he and I were born to work together, like a man’s two hands, feet, or eye lids, or like the upper and lower rows of his teeth. To obstruct each other is against Natures law and what is irritation or aversion but a form of obstruction?

REJECT your sense of injury and injury will disappear.
• A good man does not spy around for the black sports in others, but presses unswervingly on towards his mark.
• Recollect all you have learnt and accepted regarding pain and pleasure.
• When anything tempts you to feel bitter: not, ‘This is a misfortune’. But, ‘To bear this worthily is good fortune’.
• The more a man deprives himself, or submits to be deprived, of such things and their like, the more he grows in goodness.
• In every instance learn… Nothing so enlarges the mind as the ability to examine methodically and accurately every one of life’s experience with an eye to determining its classification, the end it serves, worth to the universe, and it’s worth to men.
• Think it no shame to be helped.
• When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.
• “It lies in my own hands to ensure that no viciousness, cupidity, or torture of any kind finds a home in this soul of mine; it lies with me to perceive all things in their true light, and to deal with each of the mass as it merits. This is Natures gift to you.”
• Let NO emotion of the flesh, be they pain or pleasure affect the supreme and sovereign portion of the soul.

For Humans; The Greatest Self-inflicted Wrongs:

• To quarrel with circumstance in a rebellion against Nature.
• To reject a fellow-creature of oppose him with malicious intent as men do when they are angry.
• To surrender to pleasure or pain.
• To dissemble and show insincerity or falsity in word or deed.
• To direct its acts and endeavors to no particular object and waste its energies purposelessly and without due thought.

If you liked what you saw. Here are 3 titles that I recommend based on what was discussed in Meditations.

  1. The Art Of War by Sun Tzu
  2. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
  3. The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

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