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Selections from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius 
Adaptation © SpiritSite.com (language has been adapted and/or simplified)


"If you are troubled, remember that every personís mind is a gift from God; that only judgments can destroy peace."

Meditations: Books Eleven and Twelve

The soul is complete and fulfilled at every moment, so that -- if its time on earth were to be suddenly cut short -- it would say, "I am ready."

The soul reaches out to the whole Universe, touches it, and understands that there is nothing new to be seen.

The soul naturally loves its neighbor, embraces truth, and values its peace above all earthly things.

You will no longer be swayed by the dances and songs of the world if you take apart their notes and examine each carefully.

Have I done something for the greater good? Then I have benefited. If you keep this in mind, you will never cease doing good.

What is your purpose? To be good. And how is this accomplished, except by honoring your highest principles?

No time or place is better suited for these ideas than this place in which you now find yourself.

A twig cut off from a branch must also be cut off from the whole tree. Similarly, a man separated from a fellow-man is separated from the whole community of men.

A man separates himself from another when he attacks or condemns. He does not realize that, in doing this, he has broken himself off from the whole.

We can walk and grow with others without sharing their mistakes.

Those who stand in your way cannot turn you from your principles, if you would not be turned. Neither should you let these people turn you from your kindness. Guard your mind against both -- for it is as much an error to be turned from kindness as it is to be turned from your principles.

The things and events that disturb your peace do not affect you, except through your judgments. Do not seek things, and do not run from things either. Rather -- let your mind remain in peace, untroubled, seeing truly.

Does someone resent me? Let him do so. Does someone hate me? Let him do so. For I myself will remain calm and kind, regardless of the views of others.

These men resent each other, and yet they spend their time flattering each other. They wish to rise above each other, and yet they spend their time bowing before each other.

Nothing is more troubling than the sly wolf's promise of friendship. True friendship is read silently in a person's eyes. Kindness can be sensed without a word.

It is within our power to refuse to make judgments. And it is within our power to clear our minds of them, if they should crop up. Every person has been granted the ability to keep his mind in peace.

If a person troubles you, remember that we are made for each other, to care for one another as a ram cares for a flock.

Remember that this person who troubles you is simply acting out of ignorance.

Remember that you yourself do many things wrong, and that you seek forgiveness. Extend this gift to others.

Remember that often you do not understand the whole of the situation -- the basis for this person's actions.

Remember that it is not men's actions that bother us, but our own judgments and opinions of these actions. If you have trouble releasing your judgments, remember that more pain is brought on by our anger than by the actual event itself.

Remember that kindness is invincible, if it is genuine. How can a man hurt you if you gently say to him, "No, my brother. We came into the world to help each other. It is not me who is hurt by this, but you." If we say this honestly, without a trace of blame, there is no one who can hurt us. If these ideas are not enough to keep you in peace, remember that it is unfair to insist that ignorant people should not act wrongly.

In choosing how to live your life, ask yourself, "Do I want to think this thought? Will this add to social harmony? Is this coming from my higher mind and self? Is the divinity in me directing this action?"

A movement toward cruelty, anger, depression and fear is a movement away from the natural order.

He who tries to uphold several purposes in life will not walk the straight path.

Socrates used to say, "The opinions of the masses are as foolish as children's monsters."

The Pythagorians used to say, "Look to the heavens each night. You will be reminded of purity and nakedness, for a star has no veil."

Neither in writing nor in speaking will you be able to teach before you have learned. And this is even more so in daily life.

No on can rob us of free will.

You can have all the things you want right now, if you observe but one thing: You must give no thoughts to the past, trust the future to God, and spend the present in holiness and peace. In peace, that you may be content with the present moment. In holiness, that you may act in line with the harmony of the whole. And do not let another man's wrongs disturb you, nor his opinions or thoughts.

If you arrive at the final end, honoring the divinity within you, you will find peace and your place in the whole.

God sees the spirit in all men, stripped away of all its coverings. With his purity, he touches the pure within us all. If you too make this your business, you will find yourself free of all your pain.

If you strive to release from your mind all that others do or say, all that you have done or said in the past, and all concerns of a material nature; if you strive to do what is right and speak what is true; if you practice living the life that is yours in the present, you will live in peace, joined in harmony with your soul.

We generally give more weight to others' views of us than we do to our own view of ourselves.

Practice those things that you fear you may not accomplish. For even weak things can be made strong through practice.

We have the power to do only what God commands, and accept only what God gives.

We should blame neither the gods, who do no wrong; nor men, who do wrong only out of ignorance.

The light of a lamp shines brightly until the moment it is extinguished. So should we let the truth within ourselves shine brightly until our time is done.

When someone seems to have done wrong, how do I know the larger circumstances? And even if he has done wrong, how do I know he is not suffering from pain? An ignorant person must do wrong, just as the fig-tree must bear figs. If you can help this man, help him. If not, let him be.

If an action is not right, do not do it. If a statement is not true, do not say it.

Realize that you have within yourself something divine. Now -- what is in your mind? What will you choose to keep there?

We see all things through the veil of our judgments. Take away your judgments, and you will clear away the storms of your mind.

A man who sees his place in the Whole is led by God toward the goal of God.

In all your actions, act as Justice itself would act.

If you could be drawn up into the air and look down upon earth, you would see how small is the drama of human life. You would look around yourself and perceive how many beings surround you in the Heavens. And you would be happy to be free.

Throw away your judgments and you are saved. Who is stopping you from doing this?

If you are troubled, remember that every personís mind is a gift from God; that only judgments can destroy peace; and that every person lives only in the present moment, and loses only this.

Think of people who have been upset, and cursed their fate. Then think of people who found fame and riches, and were happy. Then ask yourself, "Where are they now?" It is nothing but smoke and ashes and memories. How foolish it is to strive after worldly things. It is a great deal wiser to simply present yourself honestly and faithfully to the gods, in perfect simplicity.

Pride which masquerades as humility is the most dangerous pride of all.

People ask me, "why do you honor the gods, when you have never seen them?" I answer, "I have never seen my own soul, yet I honor it too." I constantly experience the power of both my soul and the gods, and from this I understand that they exist, and deserve to be honored.

The goal in life is to see all things as they are; to act with the heart, and to speak the truth. When this is done, what remains except to enjoy life, joining one good day to another so that there is no gap in between?

The sun has one light, even though it is separated by walls and rooms. Matter has one substance, even though it is drawn into many different shapes. So, too, there is one intelligent Spirit, animating all people.

The life of a man is but a tiny thing, quickly vanishing into the eternal. Remembering this, we should think nothing to be great, except to act according to our highest principles and to accept the Will of God.

For the man who is content in the present moment, even death has lost its sting.

Brother, you are a citizen of this great community of souls. What does it matter whether for ten years or fifty? "But I have only been here for three acts, not five," you say. You may be right, but God determines the nature of the play. Trust him to give you the role that is best.

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