Meditations, literally meaning in ancient Greek “that which is to himself,” is a collection of thoughts penned by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. A disciple of the Stoics, he recorded these musings throughout 12 books during his travels through his vast empire from 161-180 AD. Although expansive and containing many timeless dictums, the overarching message of his writings is the call to see the grander picture, to view oneself in light of the whole cosmos. It is likely that Marcus Aurelius never meant for these words to be published, but that is what makes them even more compelling as a truthful crystallization of the wisdom diffused through the ancient Greco-Roman world.
Throughout history, countless famous men and women have turned to these writings as a valuable source of wisdom. Below, we’ve selected a few of our favorite quotes from this famous work. Hopefully it will whet your palette for more to come:
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
“No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be good.”
“You have power over your mind; not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
“But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.”