As emperor of Rome Marcus Aurelius was the most powerful man in the world yet he was motivated by a desire for virtue, justice and peace rather than money, possessions and fame.
His writing has remained relevant for almost two thousand years because he wrote as a man not an emperor. He wrote about his fear, and his emotions, his sense of the fleetingness of life and the importance of living in and savoring the moment.
Here are some profound quotes from Marcus Aurelius found in his work Meditations. They are full of beauty and wisdom.
And thou wilt give thyself relief, if thou doest every act of thy life as if it were the last.
Be content with what you are, and wish not change; nor dread your last day, nor long for it.
Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.
Begin - to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished.
Discard everything except these few truths: we can live only in the present moment in this brief now.
Confine yourself to the present.
When you are disturbed by events and lose your serenity, quickly return to yourself and don't stay upset longer than the experience lasts; for you'll have more mastery over your inner harmony by continually returning to it.Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
Each day provides its own gifts.
Everything that happens happens as it should, and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so.
He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.
How much time he saves who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks.
Let not your mind run on what you lack as much as on what you have already.
Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.
Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight.
Men exist for the sake of one another.
Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.
Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.
Our life is what our thoughts make it.
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
Very little is needed to make a happy life.
Look deeply. Do not miss the inherent quality and value of everything.