Men seek for seclusion in the wilderness, by the seashore, or in the mountains – a dream you have cherished only too fondly yourself. But such fancies are wholly unworthy of a philosopher, since at any moment you can choose to retire within yourself. Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul; above all, he who possesses resources in himself, which he need only contemplate to secure immediate ease of mind – the ease that is but another word for a well-ordered spirit. Avail yourself often, then, of this retirement, and so continually renew yourself.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (4.3)
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Give your heart to the trade you have learnt, and draw refreshment from it. Let the rest of your days be spent as one who has wholeheartedly committed his all to the gods, and is thenceforth no man’s master or slave.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (4.31)
Leave another’s wrongdoing where it lies.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (9.20)
For the stone thrown there is no more evil in falling than there is goods in rising.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (9.17)
All of us are creatures of a day; the rememberer and the remembered alike.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (4.35)
Make the best of today. Those who aim instead at tomorrow’s plaudits fail to remember that future generations will be nowise different from the contemporaries who so try their patience now, and nowise less mortal.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (8.44)
A man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for. He was made to show goodwill to his kind, to rise above the promptings of his senses, to distinguish appearances from realities, and to pursue the study of universal Nature and her works.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (8.26)
Everything – a horse, a vine – is created for some duty. This is nothing to wonder at: even the sun-god himself will tell you, ‘There is a work that I am here to do,’ and so will the other sky-dwellers. For what task, then, were you yourself created? For pleasure? Can such a thought be tolerated?
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (8.19)
Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (7.27)
In the life of a man, his time is but a moment, his being an incessant flux, his senses a dim rushlight, his body a prey of worms, his soul an unquiet eddy, his fortune dark, and his fame doubtful. In short, all that is of the body is as coursing waters, all that is of the soul as dreams and vapours; life, a warfare, a brief sojourning in an alien land; and after repute, oblivion.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (2.17)