Marcus Aurelius – Meditations

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

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.

Make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions.

You need to get used to winnowing your thoughts, so that if someone says, “What are you thinking about?” you can respond at once (and truthfully) that you are thinking this or thinking that.

To let your desires control you: even wild animals do that—and rutting humans; and tyrants.

People try to get away from it all… you can get away from it anytime you like.
By going within.
Nowhere you can go is more peaceful—more free of interruptions—than your own soul.

Disturbance comes only from within—from our own perceptions.

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

If can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise it cannot harm you—inside or out.

“If you seek tranquility, do less…” Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?”

—It’s unfortunate that this happened.
No, it’s fortunate that this happened and I’ve remained unharmed by it—not shattered by the present or frightened of the future. It could have happened to anyone. But not everyone could have remained unharmed by it.

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work—as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for—the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”
—But it’s nicer here….
So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and the spiders and the bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?
—But we have to sleep sometime….
Agreed. But nature set a limit on that—as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota.

When you think you’ve been injured, apply this rule: If the community isn’t injured by it, neither am I. And if it is, anger is not the answer. Show the offender where he went wrong.

So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine. What is done to me is ordained by nature, what I do by my own.

True good fortune is what you make for yourself. Good fortune: good character, good intentions, and good actions.

No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be good.

Everywhere, at each moment, you have the option:

– to accept this event with humility
– to treat this person as he should be treated
– to approach this thought with care, so that nothing irrational creeps in

Apply them constantly, to everything that happens: Physics. Ethics. Logic.

To do harm is to do yourself harm. To do an injustice is to do yourself an injustice—it degrades you.
And you can also commit injustice by doing nothing.

Objective judgement, now, at this very moment.
Unselfish action, now, at this very moment.
Willing acceptance—now, at this very moment—of all external events.
That’s all you need.

So when you call someone “untrustworthy” or “ungrateful,” turn the reproach on yourself. It was you who did wrong. By assuming that someone with those traits deserved your trust. Or by doing them a favor and expecting something in return, instead of looking to the action itself for your reward. What else did you expect from helping someone out? Isn’t it enough that you’ve done what your nature demands? You want a salary for it too? As if your eyes expected a reward for seeing, or your feet for walking. That’s what they were made for.

Everything that happens in either endurable or not.
If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining.
If it’s unendurable… then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well.

When faced with people’s bad behavior, turn around and ask when you have acted like that. […] Your anger will subside as soon as you recognize that they acted under compulsion.

The responsibility is all yours; no one can stop you from being honest or straightforward. Simple resolve not to go on living if you aren’t. It would be contrary to the logos.

To undertake nothing:

– at random or without a purpose;
– for any reason but the common good.