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Selections from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius 
Adaptation © SpiritSite.com (language has been adapted and/or simplified)

 


"We seek quiet in the country, at the sea-shore, and in the mountains – but true quiet is found within. 

Whenever we choose, we can retreat to the quiet of the soul. Take frequent trips there, and let them be long enough to wash away the troubles of the world."

Meditations: Books Three and Four

It is possible to see beauty in everything -- in the fig, in the ears of corn bending down, in the lion's mane, in the foam which comes from a wild boar’s mouth. These things may not be beautiful by themselves, but if we perceive them as part of the larger Whole, we will begin to see them with fascination and wonder.

If a person has an appreciation and understanding of the Universe, there is hardly anything that won’t appear beautiful. Such a person will find equal pleasure in looking at paintings and wild animals. He will see in every person a sweet freshness and light. Vision will be his gift, and he will see beauty where others see nothing.

We must learn to train our minds, to avoid useless and painful lines of thought. We must learn to focus our minds on thoughts which bring us joy. A person with such a mind is a light to the community, and one who is using his gifts aright. Such a person understands that he is kin to all others. He knows that his role is to care for his neighbors without seeking their good opinion. He is neither shaken by praise nor blame.

Above all else, let the spirit within you be the guardian of your life. Tend to it, let it be the source of your peace. You will find happiness if you do not seek outside you for what is within.

If you can find anything in life that is better than truth and peace – then turn to it and enjoy it wholeheartedly. But if you find nothing as fulfilling as this, then put away all else. Simply and freely, choose the best thing and hold on to it. "But whatever is most helpful is best," you say. Then I say – keep what is most helpful to your higher self.

Never value the things that will force you to lie, lose self-respect, hate or deceive. Whoever values peace of mind and the health of the soul will live the best of all possible lives.

In the mind of one who has purified his thoughts, you will find nothing painful. This person will not fear death, but rather will see it like an actor whose time on the stage is done. There will be nothing in this person that is cowardly or fake, and nothing that needs to be kept in secret.

Each of us lives only in the present, this moment. All the rest is either past or uncertain.

If you do your work with clarity, keeping your spirit clean as if you might be asked to give it back, you will find peace. If you hold to this, expecting and avoiding nothing, but satisfied with this moment – you will live a happy life. And no one will be able to prevent you from living like this.

Just as physicians have their tools, so do you have tools for healing your mind. Try to remember the bond between humans and the Divine.

Let us live simply and modestly – and if anyone says that we do not live a simple, modest life, let us not be angry with him, nor change our direction. If we hold to our ideals we will move through life with purity and peace of mind.

Our spirit has the power to adapt itself to whatever may happen. For it requires nothing, and always moves toward its higher purpose.

Always live in accordance with your highest purpose and principles.

We seek quiet in the country, at the sea-shore, and in the mountains – but true quiet is found within. Whenever we choose, we can retreat to the quiet of the soul. Take frequent trips there, and let them be long enough to wash away the troubles of the world. Then return, happily, to the needs around you.

What can shake you? The cruelty of men? Remember that we have come here for each other, and that men act out of ignorance. Have mercy on them. Have faith.

Do not judge, and you cannot be hurt. The mind is a powerful instrument.

Everything happens within a larger Order. You will find this to be true if you watch the world carefully.

Don’t look at things the way wrong-doers do. Don’t look at things as wrong-doers want you too, either. Instead, strive to see things in truth, as they really are.

Within ten days you will appear as a saint – even to those who think you are a beast – if you return to your principles and live your life faithfully.

How peaceful it is to stop looking at what our neighbors say and do and think, and simply strive to bring our own lives into alignment with truth.

He who seeks fame forgets how short are the memories of men.

Blame and praise have no true effects. Is an emerald less lovely, if it is not praised? Or is gold less lovely, or ivory, or the color purple?

Everything is fitting for me, dear Universe. Nothing is too early or too late for me. Everything is fruit which your seasons bring.

Has someone done you wrong? It is to himself that he has done the wrong. See this, and you will have compassion.

Think of the Universe as one living being, having one body and soul. Observe how things are connected, and how things act together. See the beautiful web.

Be like the cliff against which the waves break – you can stand firm and calm amongst the noise.

Don’t say, "I am cursed, because this happened," but rather say, "I am blessed, although this happened to me." Can what has happened prevent you from acting as your highest self – kind, patient, trusting, and free? Nothing on earth can keep you from this.

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