Timeless Observations on Life by great Ancient thinkers.

I read this nice article. It is something that really needs some pondering and assimilation of such wisdom of great thinkers of the ancient past. I shall not reproduce the whole article here as much of it had been the writer’s own comments, but the core of it for those like me who would like to have quick recapitulation, skipping much of the non-essential text.

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was Roman emperor from 161 until his death in 180.
A great thinker, Marcus embodied Plato’s ideal of the philosopher king to a considerable extent.
He was the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers.

Marcus left behind a corpus of writing which, despite it’s antiquity, offers us some truly timeless wisdom. He wrote the twelve books of the Meditations in Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement.

Here are six lessons we can learn from his observations on life.


Lesson 1: We Are Responsible for Our Own Experience of Life

“Such as are your habitual thoughts; such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the color of your thoughts.”

It is the first habit of a highly effective person to cultivate an awareness that s/he is in control. To coin a phrase, life is what you make it.


Lesson 2: Everything Changes

“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.”

People who know this and tap into the natural course of change can be very successful. Clinging on to the way things were can be a source of great misery.
The past is gone and it’s never coming back; the present is already changing.

Lesson 3: Live a Real Life

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

Taking risks is no easy thing, but when we come to the end of it all, shall we regret that we stayed too much in our comfort zone?

Lesson 4: Be Grateful

“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.”

We take so many things for granted, and only when we lose them do we stop to think just how important they were to us. Every day is a gift, and there are so many, many things to be happy about.

Lesson 5: Be Detached

“Receive wealth or prosperity without arrogance; and be ready to let it go.”

Lesson 6: All Is Well

“Everything is unfolding as it must, and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so.”

Life is a mystery, which means your thinking mind cannot make sense out of it. The world looks like a big mess to me, but if we take Marcus’ advice, sit quietly, abandon our opinions, and simply observe, then perhaps we shall indeed see that ‘all is well.’

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~ by Dr.Zhivago on August 10, 2008.

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