Meditations — Marcus Aurelius and Gregory Hays

It’s amazing how one of the most important person in the world who lived more than 18 centuries ago had to deal with the same problems that we deal on a daily basis. It’s also amazing how he always tried to approach the problems not using his power, but as a good person. This book contains timeless lessons about how to live a good life with the advices that Marcus Aurelius continuously told himself.

My rating: 4/5. I really liked it. My notes length: 5 min.
Date read: May 21, 2017. More information on Amazon.

My Notes

Realize that character needs training and discipline.

Don’t waste time on nonsense, don’t give the small things more time than they deserve.

Accept that the world is maintained by change. Nothing can exist without change; you can’t even eat without you changing your food.

Don’t live your life as you have endless years ahead of you. While you’re alive, be and do good. Think that you’re dead; now enjoy what’s left of your life and live it properly.

You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think. — Marcus Aurelius

Contribute to discussions by answering the question, adding more examples, or debating the issue itself. Don’t focus on grammatical mistakes, pronunciation, or phrasing.

Read and study attentively; don’t be satisfied with understanding only the big picture.

Praise without bombast and display expertise without pretension.

Focus on what’s up to you, not on being passively controlled by things or situations that aren’t up to you.

Not “some way to sleep with her” — but a way to stop wanting to. Not “some way to get rid of him” — but a way to stop trying. Not “some way to save my child” — but a way to lose your fear. — Marcus Aurelius

Do what needs to be done not what will give you the most credit.

Work on your tasks with diligence, energy, and patience; without fear or expectations.

Don’t let your perception of external things stop you. If there’s a problem with your own character, work towards doing the right thing. If there’s an insuperable obstacle, depart from it as if you’d done it, embracing it.

Concentrate on what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness. Stop letting yourself be distracted and pulled in every direction.

If you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable. — Marcus Aurelius

If you’re up to the task, do it. If you’re not, hand it to someone who is. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Do the right thing; the rest doesn’t matter.

If you can’t get out of bed to go to work in the morning, remind yourself that you didn’t born to be “nice” in bed, but to do and experience things.

Love yourself but also love your nature and what it demands of you.

Always be willing to hear unwelcome truths and take responsibility and blame. Be straightforward; no strain, no stress.

Seek tranquility by doing less better, by doing what’s essential. Eliminate unnecessary assumptions so you can eliminate the unnecessary actions that follow.

Don’t worry about what other people think, it’s distracting you from doing anything useful, from strengthening your own mind. Other people’s thoughts are independent of yours; they’re out of your control.

It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own. — Marcus Aurelius

If someone blames you, despises you, or hates you, it’s their problem. Yours is to do what’s right and say what’s true. Always be ready to show them their mistake in an honest and upright way.

If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not true, don’t say it. — Marcus Aurelius

When you think someone harmed you, but the community wasn’t harmed, then neither did you. You only perceived the action as harmful.

If someone did harm you, the best revenge is not to be like that.

Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been. — Marcus Aurelius

For every action, think how it affects you and if you can change your mind about it.

Don’t be irritated by other people. If they can’t figure out what’s wrong and you can, make them realize about it. If he listens then you solved the problem.

If smoke makes me cough, I can leave. What’s so hard about that? — Marcus Aurelius

Realize that getting angry at other people is the same as trying to forbid someone to do what they think it’s best for them. If you’re angry because they’re not doing something good, then show them, prove it to them.

Respect and train your ability to control your thoughts. Practice honesty, endurance, austerity, resignation, abstinence, patience, sincerity, moderation, seriousness, high-mindedness.

Realize that it’s very common to perceive things as better or worse than they are in reality. Roasted meat is burned animal muscle. Exquisite wine is fermented grape juice.

Be aware and try to consciously stay on the path instead of being kept on it.

Stop allowing your mind to be a slave, to be jerked about by selfish impulses, to kick against fate and the present, and to mistrust the future. — Marcus Aurelius

Every day remind yourself that you’ll deal with meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly people. Also remind yourself that this is because they can’t tell good from evil.

When you bump into a shameless person, remember that it’s impossible to have a world without shamelessness. He’s one of them.

When you say that someone is “untrustworthy” or “ungrateful” realize that it’s you who did wrong by assuming that someone like that person deserved your trust or attention.

Be like the rock that the waves keep crushing over, unmoved while the fury of the sea falls still around it. It’s not unfortunate that something happened, but fortunate that it happened and you were unharmed by it.

Enjoy material comforts if they’re there, but don’t miss them if they aren’t there. Treat the things you don’t have as nonexistent. Look at what you have and think how much you’d want them if you didn’t have them.

If you can’t stop attaching yourself emotionally and treasuring things, you’ll never be free.

Stop trying to be admired by posterity and start admiring your contemporaries, the people you share your life with.

Reflect on the fact that you only have one life. You can’t lose your past or future as they’re not yours. The ones that live long lives or the ones that live short lives lose the same thing: their present.

Accept that death is nothing but the dissolution of the elements from which each living thing is composed. It’s a natural thing, and nothing natural is evil.

Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore? — Marcus Aurelius