“You are a little soul carrying about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say.”  ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

30659Meditations is a work that dates back to ancient Rome. It contains thoughts of Marcus Aurelius who was also known as The Philosopher. Aurelius was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and he was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. He is also seen as the last emperor of the Pax Romana…an age of relative peace and stability for the Empire.

I picked this on my reading list because many, many of my friends had highly recommended it to me and I also made it part of my Audiobook challenge

I was a bit lost with the book at first. To be honest, I expected a bit more clarity and instead it was one good thought immediately followed by another so it was not the brightest idea to listen to it on the go. And it took me a couple of tries to not to lose my focus in the middle of the audiobook.

“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

I quickly got very into this, although reviewing this in a longer review seems impossible and unfair. There was a lot of meaning in every line. I think, for me, there were two key takeaways. First, always to reflect what are the consequences of your actions to the society. If they are good for the society then your actions (and thoughts are just) and good. And if they are not, then you should refrain from those. And when you think about it more what it means is not to go after fame or “pleasures”, whatever those might be in your case and always living in the present and not to be troubled by the future or the past: “Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.”

And the second takeaway was this particular quote:
“Everything in any way beautiful has its beauty of itself, inherent and self-sufficient: praise is no part of it. At any rate, praise does not make anything better or worse. […] Does an emerald lose its quality if it is not praised? And what of gold, ivory, purple, a lyre, a dagger, a flower, a bush?”
I might have understood it differently from the author but for me it means believing in yourself. Diamond does not need praise to be more or less of a diamond and also that we must recognize beauty or intelligence or passion… for what it is in others.

Then, as repetition, it has a lot of thoughts and advice on how to lead a happy life. In the end, it’s all about the thoughts in your head. And more than that. As the following line from Meditations goes: “Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil. So it’s not just your privilege to do right and to be happy, it is also your responsibility.
I would give this 4/5 stars. I think here Audible version killed one star off.

How To Read Meditations
1. If you go for the audiobook, it’s not something you can listen to on the go. Maybe it would work at same time with meditating. If you prefer reading physical copy, I would combine this read with some meditation. Or if not, read it slowly and reflect.
2. You have to remember that, this was never meant for publishing. Just imagine someone reading your ramblings about life. Are they this good though?
3. Gutenberg has it for free so you really have no excuse not to read this.

“Will any man despise me? Let him see to it. But I will see to it that I may not be found doing or saying anything that deserves to be despised.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations