Every new year comes with new resolutions, among them at least for me there's always one that is always there at the top of the list, which is to read more books.
The past few months have been really difficult for me. My father passed away, suddenly at the end of August. He was my biggest inspiration, role model and mentor. It is hard to explain the void. There's a feeling that the things are incomplete. As I am learning how to cope I found the book The Meditations: An Emperor's Guide to Mastery by Marcus Aurelius. The book reflects the Stoic philosophy which teaches that you should focus on things that are within your control, that means your opinions and way you see things. The rest is out of your control, therefore you should just accept them.
There are so many incredible teachings on this book. The most fascinating thing is that Marcus Aurelius never had the intention to write this book or publish it. Those are notes he wrote to himself. You also have to remember that Marcus had everything, he was the Emperor of Rome, the biggest empire of the western world. As some scholars say, he was one of the true philosophers because he did not just talk about things, he applied them in the real world.
For me, this book was very important because it gave a different perspective. They explore topics like anxiety, fear, death in a pragmatic way. For example, everybody gets sick and everybody dies. That is part of nature. So you should not be afraid, it's going to happen, it's out of your control. Those passages really helped me to cope with everything that has happened in my life and focus on being a better person.
Your experience of life is determined by how you look at it
Remember that everything is opinion, and your opinion is in your power
To change your experience, change your opinion.
We we die, we don't lose the past or future - we never owned them
Enjoy the present moment. Expect nothing, fear nothing.
To change your experience, change your opinion. Stop telling yourself that you're a victim
It's better, to be honest and straightforward than mere witty and clever.
About Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE) was one of the few true philosopher-kings in history.
His father died when Marcus was three. At age fifteen, he was adopted by his aunt's husband, the future Emperor Antoninus Pius, putting him in the line of succession. At forty, he became a reluctant emperor of the Roman Empire.
Marcus was conflicted because the demands of being emperor--on top of the temptations of wealth and power--seemed incompatible with his true ambition: to be a humble student of philosophy.
Over time, though, he worked out a practical philosophy that kept him grounded amidst the stresses and excesses of palace life. That's why his philosophy is so relevant to us today, in the modern world.
How did he fare as emperor? During his twenty years of service, Marcus earned the love of the people and the loyalty of the Senate. Later historians called him "the last of the five good emperors."
In spare moments, Marcus wrote the journal entries collected in The Meditations. They were not intended for publication, but to remind Marcus himself of his principles and priorities. As a result, they are intimate, direct, and extremely useful.