Meditations — Marcus Aurelius — Gregory Hays — Perspective

Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?

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Photo by EVREN AYDIN on Unsplash

This photo has nothing to do with the book — other than that this is how awesome I felt every time someone asked what I was reading and I was able to reply, “oh, just Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations….”

I still am not entirely certain why I picked this book up other than that it is brief, contains the thoughts of an emperor who ruled more than we can comprehend and was apparently more humble than anyone who has over 4,000 Instagram followers these days…

They’re probably bots man.

Coming in around 200 pages, this book is wonderful for casual reading when you have an extra 20 minutes before class or work etc..

It is composed of small, scattered thoughts. Marcus Aurelius appears to have written these as messages to himself or refelctions on experiences that he wishes to learn from. In this way, it is intensely relevant in one moment and nebulous the next.

Throughout the short text, there were several thoughts that leapt of the page and spoke directly to me.

That is the nature of this “book.” You will be reading about things that make no sense to the reader and the next, Marcus will float statements such as that which opens this post:

Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?

A profound value of this book is that when it does make sense to you, the reader, it makes intensely personal or intellectually profound sense.

Marcus is primarily credited for having written a piece that helps one learn to cope with pain. And it is true. As the pages continue to turn, you see a theme of frustration and pain spread out and healed or rectified through his thoughts turned to words.

I, however, also felt a strong message of encouragement for that which we are afforded: Life. Your own life.

(Yes, you could say that reminding yourself of this precious gift we are given is a valid method for coping with pain)

Marcus simultaneously reflects on the meaninglessness of life in the grand scheme of time, space and matter, while also calling for a deep appreciation for each day that you are given.

In fact, his nod to those of us who struggle to rise before the dawn is now a part of my morning struggle…routine**

(He speaks directly to himself in an admonishing way, posing the question, “What are you doing? What are you meant to do? Even animals can sleep. You are meant to work with others. You have already slept enough.”)

Overall, this book is a magnificent exchange. A short amount of your time and nearly no mental stress for a glimpse into the mind of a great ruler who is just a man and therefore can speak directly to you.

Written by

Non Aesthetic Van Lifer:

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