Be like a rocky promontory against which the restless surf continually pounds; it stands fast while the churning sea is lulled to sleep at its feet. I hear you say, “How unlucky that this should happen to me!” Not at all! Say instead, “How lucky that I am not broken by what has happened and am not afraid of what is about to happen. The same blow might have struck anyone, but not many would have absorbed it without capitulation or complaint.” – Marcus Aurelius
A perhaps more literal title of this work is Those Which Are To Himself. Yet, to the ages and at least in English this will always be known as The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. These are the private notes made by this Roman Emperor to himself, much of which focuses on Stoicism.
The 12 books contained within were a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. An interesting aspect of this is that much of the writing was done in the middle of military campaigns at Sirmium and Aquincum in Pannonia. War apparently cause this emperor to think long and hard. The greater probability is that Marcus Aurelius never intended these writings to be published.
These writings are in the manner of a simple, straightforward man among other men. This makes it very easy to relate to the wisdom on these pages. A central theme is in the importance of analyzing judgment of oneself and others with respect to finding one’s place in the universe. Everything comes from nature. Everything returns to nature.
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Book 5, can be read here:
Alternatively, it may be listened to in its audiobook format here: