What is meditation? Is it just deep belly breathing or is there something more profound?
Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations is a collection of lessons he learnt, his perspective and reflection over a wide range of subjects still relevant today.
“Self-reflection’’ was my first impression with this book – to go to a quite space and make an inventory of what you learnt and reflect on them regularly.
It started with a detailed introduction about the author, followed with 12 chapters of content where he expressed his gratitude to the people he learnt from, his perspectives and reflections.
While some of it were profound, there were quite a lot I couldn’t understand. I felt re-reading it after gaining some maturity would be beneficial.
Anyway, here is a list of philosophies I felt were profound:
· Do not despise death but be well content with it since this too is one of those things which nature wills.
· I have always wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men but sets less value on his opinions of himself than on the opinion of others.
· Neither in writing nor in reading wilt thou be able to lay down rules for others before thou shalt have first learned to obey rules thyself.
I didn’t have any disappointment, but I was surprised at the presentation. The learnings are written as pointers rather than stories.
I feel the best use of the book would be to take notes of what you find important and resonate with and take time to reflect on it – meditate on it.
The philosophies at the end chapters were quite interesting. Take for illustration:
· Wipe out thy imaginations by often saying to thyself: now it is in my power to let no badness be in this soul, nor desire nor any perturbation at all, but looking at all things I see what their nature is, and I use each according to its value – remember this power which thou hast from nature
· Look within. Within is the foundation of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.
· Let not future things disturb thee, for thou wilt come to them, if it shall be necessary, having with thee the same reason which now thou usest for present things.
If you are interested in reading the inner life and philosophy of Marcus, the lessons he learnt, his perspective and reflection on various subjects like leadership, virtuousness, self-judgement, etc. then this book is for you. Its ancient wisdom is still relevant today.
Although I won’t recommend this book if you are a first-time reader. Its best you start with the books I recommended in Instagram reels.
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