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This selection from Meditations (To Himself was the original Greek title) captures so much of the essence of this incredibly powerful book. Marcus Aurelius at times sounds more like the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Hesiod, or James Allen than he does his Stoic forerunners: proof once again that true wisdom resides in every mans heart and mind and transcends the boundaries of time, place, ethnicity,and doctrine.
The job of the philosopher is to reintroduce his pupils to THEMSELVES, and once the self is realized, the reality of the universe becomes much clearer (evil derives from delusions) and the temptations of excess and the fears of deprivation become less powerful. These are true words to live by, more so now than they have ever been before.
Happiness can be found in simplicity; hard work DOES pay off; the cooler head always prevails; immoderate pleasures can kill and fear is often unfounded. Marcus, like Buddha, was born in the lap of luxury, but he was destined to hold a position in society for which he was not well suited by virtue of his sensitive and studious nature: the ruler of an ancient and corrupt civilization that dominated most of the known world.
Meditations is Marcuss attempt to cope with a life and a job that he never really wanted. Thankfully, we can apply Marcuss self conversation to the trials and tribulations of everyday life. I urge you to read this. Once you do, I guarantee you will read it over and over again and it will take its place on your list of personal, life changing favorites.