24 Timeless & Stoic Truths From Marcus Aurelius

One of my favorite books is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Aurelius was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He is considered the last of the five good emperors and an important Stoic Philosopher. Marcus Aurelius’ quotes reveal some timeless truths of life that we all can benefit from.

1 – The Time for Action Is Always Now

“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.”

Your actions speak louder than words. We can intellectualize forever what we should do, but action is the true gold.

“You suffer justly if you choose to become good tomorrow rather than to be good today.”

2 – Integrity Is a Treasure

“Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.”

Always do what you know is right. Then nothing can harm you.

3 – Build a Haven of the Mind

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.”

Inner peace is always accessible within.

“The doctrines you will visit there should be few and fundamental, sufficient at one meeting to wash away all your pain and send you back free of resentment at what you must rejoin.“

Your mind can be a torture chamber or it can be a haven with balm for the soul. You are the architect.

Accumulate universal principles that you can revisit inside your mind. They should be simple and work instantly. One is that you get more of what you focus on. Focus on what you want.

4 – Reveal Your True Nature

“There is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and never return.”

Everything is a reflection of your inner being. To understand the world you must understand yourself. There is no greater reward in life than understanding oneself. Life wastes away when you base everything on what others are doing.

5 – Adapt to Your Environment

“Adapt yourself to the environment in which your lot has been cast, and show true love to the fellow-mortals with whom destiny has surrounded you.”

Things are as they are. Accept and adapt. You cannot change the environment. You can change yourself, and then the rest follows. Like Epictetus said: “Love things as they do happen and your life will go well”.

6 – Your Thoughts Sculpt Reality

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

The only way to shape your reality is to shape your thoughts. Choose your frequency by asking directed questions of your mind.

How can I realize my dream?

How can I be more loving?

Your mind gives you more of what you focus on.

7 – Avoid Poisoning the Mind

“Be deaf to malicious gossip”

Negative gossip is poison. It twists your thoughts into negative patterns. It draws out the worst in people. Spreading negative stories of other’s feels good in the moment, because seemingly it elevates your relative status. Then the poison spreads slowly.

8 – Start with the End in Mind

“Even the most trivial action should be undertaken in reference to the end.”

Every action you take leads you in a direction. What is your desired end? In which direction are you moving in this moment. Shift it towards your desired end. Then let go of your attachment to that end result. All the true rewards lie in the process.

9 – Give each Task Undivided Attention

“Every hour of the day give vigorous attention to the performance of the task in hand with precise analysis, with unaffected dignity, with human sympathy, with dispassionate justice – and to vacating your mind from all its other thoughts.”

Intense attention puts you into flow. Our attention is limited to about 7 items of meaningful information at any moment. When you give your full attention to the present task your performance skyrockets. You also leave no computational power available for negative mental chatter. You enter a state of no-mind where creativity and love flows effortlessly.

10 – Cultivate Your Conviction

“As for his work, he makes it excellent; as for his lot, he is convinced it is good.”

Do your work with the desired end in mind. Do it excellently.

Accept your lot in life and convince yourself that it is the best lot you could have received. Let go of any stories that does not serve you. Embrace the stories that serve you.

11 – Learn from Beings That Live in Harmony

“He should not hold to the opinions of all, but only of those who live their lives in agreement with nature.”

The world is filled with unhappy people who tell you how to live.

Listen to those who vibrate harmoniously with nature.

12 – Truthful Action in the Now Makes You Unstoppable

“If you set yourself to your present task along the path of true reason, with all determination, vigour, and good will: if you admit no distraction, but keep your own divinity pure and standing strong, as if you had to surrender it right now; if you grapple this to you, expecting nothing, shirking nothing, but self-content with each present action taken in accordance with nature and a heroic truthfulness in all that you say and mean – then you will lead a good life. And nobody is able to stop you.”

13 – Suffering Arises from Judgment

“Remove the judgment, and you have removed the thought ‘I am hurt’: remove the thought ‘I am hurt’, and the hurt itself is removed.”

Let go of the judgment and love takes its place. The ego is reborn every time you make a judgment.  The egoless nature is love.

14 – Embrace Change

“Change: nothing inherently bad in the process, nothing inherently good in the result.”

Change is inevitable. It is life. Embrace that which life itself has accepted into existence. Flow with it.

15 – Meditate on Impermanence

“Reflect often on the speed with which all things in being, or coming into being, are carried past and swept away.”

See how fragile everything is. Every experience you have is quickly swept away. Cherish each moment as if it is your biggest dream come true.

16 – Quickly Return to the Harmony Within You

“When circumstances force you to some sort of distress, quickly return to yourself. Do not stay out of rhythm for longer than you must: you will master the harmony the more by constantly going back to it.”

Inner peace is a habit. Pay attention to how you feel. Go within yourself when you fall into distress and further build on your haven of inner harmony.

17 – Be Open to Inner Change

“If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one’s own self-deception and ignorance.”

A flexible self is the key to be yourself fully. Water curls around the incoming cannon ball. The brick wall breaks.

18 – Live and Let Live

“How cruel it is not to allow people to strive for what seems to them their interest and advantage.”

Let people follow their dreams. Let them decide how their life should be lived.

19 – The Intelligent Man Looks to His Own Actions

“How to understand your own good: the lover of glory takes it to be the reactions of others; the lover of pleasure takes it to be his own passive experience; the intelligent man sees it as his own actions.”

The reaction of others is not within your control. Your passive experience changes. You control your own actions.

Direct your actions in the present moment in accordance with your dreams, values and principles.

20 – Seek First to Understand

“Accustom yourself not to be disregarding of what someone else has to say: as far as possible enter into the mind of the speaker.”

The fool monopolizes the speaking. The wise man monopolizes the listening. Direct your full attention to listening. Seek to understand as fully as you can. The best test of your understanding is that the other feels understood.

21 – Go Deeper Within

“Dig inside yourself. Inside there is a spring of goodness ready to gush at any moment, if you keep digging.”

All your power is within. Those who seek shall find.

22 – Forgive and Let Go

“If he did wrong, the harm is to himself. But perhaps he did not do wrong.”

When you think someone has wronged you, let it go. And realize that maybe it was only your own perception.

23 – Be Mindful of the Sneaking Ego

“The pride that prides itself on freedom from pride is the hardest of all to bear.”

24 – Live Life while You Can

“No, you do not have thousands of years to live. Urgency is on you. While you live, while you can, become good.”

How alive are you willing to be? The future does not exist. Life is now.

 Feature picture: Wikipedia Commons Public Domain

 

About the author:
Vegard Gjerde is co-founder of Global Harmony Crew; a movement to transform the world through pointing people towards realizations of Truth, and helping them manifest their lives from love and joy.

Let’s move from separation to Unity together, and wake up this world in ecstatic joy!

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