30 Marcus Aurelius Quotes on Other People and Why You Should Focus on Yourself

1) “Don’t pay attention to other people’s minds. Look straight ahead, where nature is leading you, through the things that happen to you through your own actions.”

2) “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and unfriendly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.”

3) “Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”

4) “God did not intend my happiness to rest with someone else.”

5) “Welcoming wholeheartedly whatever comes- whatever were assigned—not worrying too often, or with any selfish motive, about what other people say, or do, or think.”

6) “Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good.  It will keep you from doing anything useful.  You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind.”

7) “You want praise from people who kick themselves every 15 minutes, the approval of people who despise themselves…why do you want approval from people who don’t know where or who they are on this planet?”

8) “The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say, or think, or do. Only what you do. Asking yourself: Is this fair? Is this the right thing to do?”

9) “Why do unskilled and untrained souls disturb souls with skill and understanding?”

10) “So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine.”

11) “So remember this principle when someone threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to endure it and prevail is great good fortune.”

12) “When someone seems to have injured you: ‘But how can I be sure?’ And in any case, keep in mind: —That he’s already been tried and convicted-by himself, like scratching your own eyes out.—That to expect a bad person not to harm others is like expecting fig trees not to secrete juice, babies not to cry, horses not to neigh—the inevitable not to happen.”

13) “When people injure you, ask yourself what good or harm they thought would come of it. If you understand that, you’ll feel sympathy rather than outrage or anger.”

14) “If they’ve injured you, then they’re the ones who suffer for it.”

15) “People do things that upset you, but it can’t harm your mind. People do boorish things, what’s strange or unheard of about that?? Isn’t it yourself you should reproach—for not anticipating that they’d act this way??—It was you who did wrong by assuming that someone with those traits deserved your trust.”

16) “Other people’s mistakes? Leave them to their makers.”

17) “Leave other peoples mistakes where they lie.”

18) “If anyone can refute me-show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective—I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.”

19) “People out for posthumous fame forget that the Generations To Come will be the same annoying people they know now. And just as mortal. What does it matter to you if they say x about you, or think y?”

20) “When faced with people’s bad behavior, turn around and ask when you have acted like that. When you saw money as good, or pleasure, or social position. Your anger will subside as soon as you recognize that they acted under compulsion.”

21) “If someone despises me—that’s their problem. Mine—not to do or say anything despicable. If someone hates me—that’s their problem. Mine—to be patient and cheerful with everyone, including them. Ready to show them their mistake. Not spitefully, or to show off my own self-control, but in an honest, upright way. That’s the way we should be like inside, and never let the gods catch us feeling anger or resentment.”

22) “That kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere—not ironic or an act. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight—if you get the chance—correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do you harm..
‘No, no my friend. That isn’t what we’re here for. It isn’t me who’s harmed by that. It’s you.’ And show him gently without pointing fingers that it’s so.”

23) “That it’s not what they do that bothers us: that’s a problem for their minds, not ours. It’s our own misperceptions. Discard them. Be willing to give up thinking of this as a catastrophe…and your anger is gone. How do you do that? By recognizing that you’ve suffered no disgrace.”

24) “That you don’t know for sure it is a mistake. A lot of things are means to some other end. You have to know an awful lot before you can judge other people’s actions with real understanding.”

25) “It never ceases to amaze me: We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

26) “The despicable phoniness of people who say, ‘listen, I’m going to level with you here.’ What does that mean?? It shouldn’t even need to be said. It should be obvious—written in block letters on your forehead. It should be audible in your voice, visible in your eyes, like a lover who looks into your face, and takes in the whole story at a glance. A straightforward honest person should be like someone who stinks: when you’re in the same room with him, you know it.  But false straightforwardness is like a knife in the back. False friendship is the worst. Avoid it at all costs. If you’re honest and straightforward and mean well, it should show in your eyes. It should be unmistakable.”

27) “Or is it your reputation thats bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands. The people who praise us-how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region in which it all takes place. The whole earth a point in space-and most of it uninhabited.”

28) “To live life in peace, immune to all compulsion…Let them scream whatever they want.”

29) “Not to be distracted by their darkness.  To run straight for the finish line, unswerving.”

30) “Don’t be put off by other people’s comments and criticism.”

4 Encapsulating Messages from the Book “The Alchemist”


“…That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

 

“What is an alchemist?”
“It’s a man who understands nature and the world.”

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The book The Alchemist follows the story of a boy, Santiago, who becomes a shepherd to pursue his dream of traveling to “know the world,” he says. 

Santiago’s parents wanted him to become a priest but he insisted on following his passion of traveling. When he told his parents he wanted to travel and not be a priest his father was against the idea at first but ended up supporting his son with 3 gold coins.

 

 

“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

During Santiago’s travels as a shepherd he encounters a woman who interprets dreams. He has been having a reoccurring dream so he decides to have her interpret it, although he is hesitant in trusting her. 

She tells him “dreams are the language of God” and after hearing his dream she tells him he must go to the pyramids in Egypt where there is a treasure for him. Santiago was disappointed in her interpretation so he left but his journey continued…


The next person Santiago encounters is a king:

Santiago: “Why would a king be talking to a shepherd?”

King: “For several reasons. But let’s say that the most important is that you have succeeded in discovering your destiny…”

“The boy didn’t know what a person’s ‘destiny’ was.”

King: “It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is…
…At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny.”

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“The old man(king) pointed to a baker standing in his shop window at one corner of the plaza. ‘When he was a child, that man wanted to travel too. But he decided first to buy his bakery and put some money aside. When he’s an old man, he’s going to spend a month in Africa. He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.’”

“’What’s the world’s greatest lie?’ The boy asked…
It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.’”

 

Santiago’s decision to live a life that he wanted rather than what his parents wanted for him sent him in the direction of living his dreams. He followed his intuitive voice within and that made all the difference.

He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

Over the course of the book Santiago meets a number of other people who all seem to be in his life for a reason beyond his momentary understanding. He learns lessons as he faces obstacles and setbacks which come when any person chooses to pursue their dreams.

“He read the lives of the various people who have succeeded in doing so…They were fascinating stories: each of them lived out his destiny to the end. They traveled, spoke with wise men, performed miracles for the incredulous, and owned the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life.”

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Santiago learns many things throughout his journey like to persist in following his dreams although he is continually tested, to trust life and the process, and that the “soul of the world” is a world beyond words.

“‘That’s the principle that governs all things,’ he said. ‘In alchemy, it’s called the Soul of the World. When you want something with all your heart, that’s when you are closest to the Soul of the World. It’s a positive force.’”

Learn more about The Alchemist in the following 4 sections of encapsulating messages:

1) Follow your Dreams
2) You will be Tested
3) Trust Life and the Process
4) The Soul of the World
5) Favorite 23 Quotes from The Alchemist

 



coacht.blog dream1) Follow your Dreams


“But what if I can’t?”
“Then you’ll die in the midst of trying to realize your destiny. That’s a lot better than dying like millions of other people, who never even knew what their destinies were.”

He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

“Why don’t people’s hearts tell them to continue to follow their dreams?”

“Because that’s what makes a heart suffer most, and hearts don’t like to suffer.”

“If a person is living out his destiny, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“And what went wrong when other alchemists tried to make gold and were unable to do so?”
“They were looking only for gold. They were seeking the treasure of their destiny, without wanting actually to live out the destiny.”

“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.”

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer.”
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering it self. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”

“…When I have been truly searching for my treasure, Ive discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.”

“It’s true; life really is generous to those who pursue their destiny.”

“To do that successfully, I must have no fear of failure. It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the Master Work. Now, I’m beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years.”

“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him,’ his heart said. ‘We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them—the path to their destinies, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”

“And anyone who interferes with the destiny of another thing never will discover his own.”

“The boy told himself that, on the way toward realizing his own destiny, he had learned all he needed to know, and had experienced everything he might have dreamed of.”

 

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2) You will be Tested 

“The closer he got to the realization of his dream, the more difficult things became…In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, not impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.”

“He realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.”

“‘I had to test your courage,’ the stranger said. Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World.”

“…You must not let up, even after having come so far. You must love the desert, but never trust it completely. Because the desert tests all men: it challenges every step, and kills those who become distracted.”

“‘Once you get into the desert, there’s no going back,’ said the camel driver. ‘And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.’”

“It’s only those who are persistent, and willing to study things deeply, who achieve the Master Work.”

“What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’”

“…Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”

“To show you one of life’s simple lessons. When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”

“When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

“In his heart, he felt a strange sense of joy: he was about to die in pursuit of his destiny.”

 

coacht.blog-alchemist-trust.jpg3) Trust Life and the Process

“Well, maybe I just want to know the future so I can prepare myself for what’s coming.”

“If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise. If bad things are, and you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they even occur.”

We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it. But the old king hadn’t said anything about being robbed, or about endless deserts, or about people who know what their dreams are but don’t want to realize them.”

“In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left for you.”

“There’s no such thing as coincidence…”
The boy knew what he was about to describe though: the mysterious chain that links one thing to another, the same chain that had caused him to become a shepherd, that had caused his recurring dream, that had brought him to a city near Africa, to find a king, and to be robbed in order to meet a crystal merchant, and…”

“He had not a cent in his pocket, but he had faith.”

“The camel driver, though, seemed not to be very concerned with the threat of war. ‘I’m alive,’ he said to the boy. ‘When I’m eating, that’s all I think about. If I’m on the march, I just concentrate on marching. If I have to fight, it will be just as good a day to die as any other. Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.”

“When you are in love, things make even more sense.”

“Don’t forget that everything you deal with is only one thing and nothing else. And don’t forget the language of omens. And, above all, don’t forget to follow your destiny through to its conclusion.”

“Don’t think about what you’ve left behind…Everything is written in the Soul of the World, and there it will stay forever…If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.”

 

coacht.blog soul

4) Soul of the World

“He learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.”

“It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time.”

I learned that the world has a soul, and that whoever understands that soul can also understand the language of things.

“You already know about alchemy. It is about penetrating to the Soul of the World, and discovering the treasure that has been reserved for you.”

“…And then there were the others, who were interested only in gold. They never found the secret.”

“What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’”

“At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him.”

“He realized: If I can learn to understand this language without words, I can learn to understand the world.”

“This Soul of the World allowed them to understand anything on the face of the earth, because it was the language with which all things communicated.”

“No. It’s like the flight of those two hawks; it cannot be understood by reason alone. The Emerald Tablet is a direct passage to the Soul of the World…”

“Love is the force that transform and improves the Soul of the World.”

“The boy reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was a part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles.”

“‘Everything in life is an omen’, said the Englishman… ‘There is a universal language, understood by everybody, but already forgotten. I am in search of that universal language, among other things. That’s why I’m here. I have to find a man who knows that universal language. An alchemist.’”

“All his life and all his studies were aimed at finding the one true language of the universe.”

“How do I immerse myself in the desert?”
“Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.”

“‘The desert takes our men from us, and they don’t always return,’ she said. ‘We know that, and we are used to it. Those who don’t return become a part of the clouds, a part of the animals that hide in the ravines and of the water that comes from the earth. They become a part of everything…they become the Soul of the World.”

“In the silence, the boy understood that the desert, the wind, and the sun were also trying to understand the signs written by the hand, and were seeking to follow their paths, and to understand what had been written on a single emerald. He saw that omens were scattered throughout the earth and in space, and that there was no reason or significance attached to their appearance; he could see that not the deserts, nor the winds, nor the sun, not people knew why they had been created. But that the hand had a reason for all of this, and that only the hand could perform miracles, or transform the sea into a desert…or a man into the wind.”

“He had only one explanation for this fact: things have to be transmitted this way because they were made up from the pure life, and this kind of life cannot be captured in pictures or words. Because people become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.”

 

coacht.blog Alchemist quote

5) My Favorite 23 Quotes from The Alchemist

1) “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

2) “…That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

3) “The old man pointed to a baker standing in his shop window at one corner of the plaza. ‘When he was a child, that man wanted to travel too. But he decided first to buy his bakery and put some money aside. When he’s an old man, he’s going to spend a month in Africa. He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.’”

4) “But what if I can’t?”
“Then you’ll die in the midst of trying to realize your destiny. That’s a lot better than dying like millions of other people, who never even knew what their destinies were.”

5) ) “If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

6) He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

7) “My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer.”
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering it self. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

8) “And what went wrong when other alchemists tried to make gold and were unable to do so?”
“They were looking only for gold. They were seeking the treasure of their destiny, without wanting actually to live out the destiny.”


9) “He learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.”

10) “To show you one of life’s simple lessons. When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”

11) “It’s only those who are persistent, and willing to study things deeply, who achieve the Master Work.”

12) “In his heart, he felt a strange sense of joy: he was about to die in pursuit of his destiny.”

13) “‘I had to test your courage,’ the stranger said. ‘Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World.”

14) “What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’”

15) “Well, maybe I just want to know the future so I can prepare myself for what’s coming.”
“If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise. If bad things are, and you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they even occur.”

16) “There’s no such thing as coincidence…”
The boy knew what he was about to describe though: the mysterious chain that links one thing to another, the same chain that had caused him to become a shepherd, that had caused his recurring dream, that had brought him to a city near Africa, to find a king, and to be robbed in order to meet a crystal merchant, and…”

17) “‘Everything in life is an omen’, said the Englishman… ‘There is a universal language, understood by everybody, but already forgotten. I am in search of that universal language, among other things.'”

18) “It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time.”

19) “When you are in love, things make even more sense.”

20) “How do I immerse myself in the desert?”
“Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.”

21) “Don’t think about what you’ve left behind…Everything is written in the Soul of the World, and there it will stay forever…If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.”

22) “He had only one explanation for this fact: things have to be transmitted this way because they were made up from the pure life, and this kind of life cannot be captured in pictures or words. Because people become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.”

23) “The camel driver, though, seemed not to be very concerned with the threat of war. ‘I’m alive,’ he said to the boy. ‘When I’m eating, that’s all I think about. If I’m on the march, I just concentrate on marching. If I have to fight, it will be just as good a day to die as any other. Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.”

 

I hope you enjoyed these messages from The Alchemist!

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Let Memento Mori Inspire You

“Memento Mori” means to keep in mind that you will die.

2,000 years ago it was popular for Roman generals to keep this idea in mind. 

As generals paraded around their cities in horse led chariots after victorious battles, they kept aides behind them to whisper into their ears, “Memento Mori.”

Generals knew the fleetingness of life and wanted to keep the reminder close by so that their egos didn’t get the best of them. It’s easy for our ego to inflate and make us believe we are bigger than death, especially after achieving success. So it is a humble reminder to remember your death. To remember that you, and everyone around you, is going to die.

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A Memento Mori painting by Vincent Van Gogh

Many artists, philosophers, and rulers have used “Memento Mori” to inspire them.

Instead of letting the idea of death scare them, as many do, they used it to create urgency and a deeper perspective, seeing life as a gift and not as suffering.

You’ve probably heard of people who have experienced a near death experience and came out of it with a new inspiration for living fully. You don’t need a near death experience to change your life. “Memento Mori” can be your inspiration and guide to living a full life.

 

Here are some famous names of the past who were inspired by the reminder of death, Memento Mori:

“Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.”
Buddha

“Every third thought shall be my grave.”
William Shakespeare

“Philosophy is “about nothing else but dying and being dead.”
Socrates

“To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”
Michel de Montaigne

“People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”
Marcus Aurelius

“So this is how a thoughtful person should await death: not with indifference, not with impatience, not with disdain, but simply viewing it as one of the things that happens to us. Now you anticipate the child’s emergence from its mother’s womb; that’s how you should await the hour when your soul will emerge from its compartment.”
Marcus Aurelius

“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?”
Marcus Aurelius

Find more Marcus Aurelius ideas on death & other subjects here

 

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Vanity Painting by Philippe de Champaigne

 

The reminder of death still inspires many modern day entrepreneurs, artists, and others:

“There’s something coming for all of us. It’s called death. Rather than fearing it, it can become one of our greatest counselors. So, if this was the last week of your life, what would you cherish most? How would you live? How would you love? What truth would you tell today?”
Tony Robbins

“It’s easy to lose track of that mortality, to forget time, to think that you’re going to live forever. The idea that you’re gonna die and that life is short is only depressing if you’re thinking about it wrong. If you’re thinking about it right it should give you a sense of priority. It should even give you a sense of meaning; it should let you know what’s important, what you’re trying to do while you’re here on this planet.”
Ryan Holiday

“The reason I believe in it(death as motivation) is because it’s ultimately practical. It’s the guiding light and the fire and ambition that drives me toward legacy and living my best life.”
Gary Vaynerchuk

 

Will you look death in the face?

Are you ready to let death inspire you?

Do it and see how your life changes for the better…

Memento Mori

 

 

 

 

 

How to construct beneficial meaning from ALL life experiences

This is one of the most beneficial commencement speeches there is, providing you with how to construct a life you love, everyday.

The speech was given by David Foster Wallace.

If you would like to just read the Main Ideas from this speech, scroll down to almost the bottom where there is a Main Ideas Section.

Audio & Transcript below.

Enjoy!

 

 

“Greetings, thanks, and congratulations to Kenyon’s graduating class of 2005. 

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” 

And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. 

The story thing turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty conventions of the genre, but if you’re worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise, older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don’t be. I am not the wise old fish. 

The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about.

Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance, or so I wish to suggest to you on this dry and lovely morning.

Of course, the main requirement of speeches like this is that I’m supposed to talk about your liberal arts education’s meaning, to try to explain why the degree you are about to receive has actual human value instead of just a material payoff. 

So let’s talk about the single most pervasive cliché in the commencement speech genre, which is that a liberal arts education is not so much about filling you up with knowledge as it is about “teaching you how to think.”

If you’re like me as a student, you’ve never liked hearing this, and you tend to feel a bit insulted by the claim that you needed anybody to teach you how to think, since the fact that you even got admitted to a college this good seems like proof that you already know how to think. 

But I’m going to posit to you that the liberal arts cliché turns out not to be insulting at all, because the really significant education in thinking that we’re supposed to get in a place like this isn’t really about the capacity to think, but rather about the choice of what to think about. 

If your total freedom of choice regarding what to think about seems too obvious to waste time discussing, I’d ask you to think about fish and water, and to bracket for just a few minutes your skepticism about the value of the totally obvious.

Here’s another didactic little story:

There are these two guys sitting together in a bar in the remote Alaskan wilderness. One of the guys is religious, the other is an atheist, and the two are arguing about the existence of God with that special intensity that comes after about the fourth beer. 

And the atheist says: “Look, it’s not like I don’t have actual reasons for not believing in God. It’s not like I haven’t ever experimented with the whole God and prayer thing. Just last month I got caught away from the camp in that terrible blizzard, and I was totally lost and I couldn’t see a thing, and it was 50 below, and so I tried it: I fell to my knees in the snow and cried out ‘Oh, God, if there is a God, I’m lost in this blizzard, and I’m gonna die if you don’t help me.’” 

And now, in the bar, the religious guy looks at the atheist all puzzled. “Well then you must believe now,” he says, “After all, here you are, alive.” The atheist just rolls his eyes. “No, man, all that was was a couple Eskimos happened to come wandering by and showed me the way back to camp.”

It’s easy to run this story through kind of a standard liberal arts analysis: the exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two different people, given those people’s two different belief templates and two different ways of constructing meaning from experience. 

Because we prize tolerance and diversity of belief, nowhere in our liberal arts analysis do we want to claim that one guy’s interpretation is true and the other guy’s is false or bad. Which is fine, except we also never end up talking about just where these individual templates and beliefs come from. Meaning, where they come from inside the two guys.

As if a person’s most basic orientation toward the world, and the meaning of his experience were somehow just hard-wired, like height or shoe-size; or automatically absorbed from the culture, like language. As if how we construct meaning were not actually a matter of personal, intentional choice…

Plus, there’s the whole matter of arrogance. 

The nonreligious guy is so totally certain in his dismissal of the possibility that the passing Eskimos had anything to do with his prayer for help. 

True, there are plenty of religious people who seem arrogant and certain of their own interpretations, too. They’re probably even more repulsive than atheists, at least to most of us. 

But religious dogmatists’ problem is exactly the same as the story’s unbeliever: blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up.

The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties. 

Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. I have learned this the hard way, as I predict you graduates will, too.

Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. 

We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness because it’s so socially repulsive. 

But it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. 

Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. 

The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. 

Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.

Please don’t worry that I’m getting ready to lecture you about compassion or other-directedness or all the so-called virtues. This is not a matter of virtue. It’s a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.

People who can adjust their natural default setting this way are often described as being “well-adjusted”, which I suggest to you is not an accidental term.

Given the triumphant academic setting here, an obvious question is how much of this work of adjusting our default setting involves actual knowledge or intellect. This question gets very tricky. 

Probably the most dangerous thing about an academic education–least in my own case–is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract argument inside my head, instead of simply paying attention to what is going on right in front of me, paying attention to what is going on inside me.

As I’m sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). 

Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. 

Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about “the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.”

This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in..the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.

And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out.

That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. Let’s get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what “day in day out” really means. There happen to be whole, large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I’m talking about.

By way of example, let’s say it’s an average adult day, and you get up in the morning, go to your challenging, white-collar, college-graduate job, and you work hard for eight or ten hours, and at the end of the day you’re tired and somewhat stressed and all you want is to go home and have a good supper and maybe unwind for an hour, and then hit the sack early because, of course, you have to get up the next day and do it all again.

But then you remember there’s no food at home. You haven’t had time to shop this week because of your challenging job, and so now after work, you have to get in your car and drive to the supermarket. It’s the end of the work day and the traffic is apt to be very bad. So getting to the store takes way longer than it should, and when you finally get there, the supermarket is very crowded, because of course, it’s the time of day when all the other people with jobs also try to squeeze in some grocery shopping. 

And the store is hideously flourescently lit and infused with soul-killing muzak or corporate pop and it’s pretty much the last place you want to be but you can’t just get in and quickly out; you have to wander all over the huge, over-lit store’s confusing aisles to find the stuff you want and you have to maneuver your junky cart through all these other tired, hurried people with carts (et cetera, et cetera, cutting stuff out because this is a long ceremony) and eventually you get all your supper supplies, except now it turns out there aren’t enough check-out lanes open even though it’s the end-of-the-day rush. So the checkout line is incredibly long, which is stupid and infuriating. But you can’t take your frustration out on the frantic lady working the register, who is overworked at a job whose daily tedium and meaninglessness surpasses the imagination of any of us here at a prestigious college.

But anyway, you finally get to the checkout line’s front, and you pay for your food, and you get told to “Have a nice day” in a voice that is the absolute voice of death. Then you have to take your creepy, flimsy, plastic bags of groceries in your cart with the one crazy wheel that pulls maddeningly to the left, all the way out through the crowded, bumpy, littery parking lot, and then you have to drive all the way home through slow, heavy, SUV-intensive, rush-hour traffic, et cetera et cetera.

Everyone here has done this, of course. But it hasn’t yet been part of you graduates’ actual life routine, day after week after month after year.

But it will be. And many more dreary, annoying, seemingly meaningless routines besides. But that is not the point. 

The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing is gonna come in. 

Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don’t make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I’m gonna be pissed and miserable every time I have to shop. 

Because my natural default setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me. 

About MY hungriness and MY fatigue and MY desire to just get home, and it’s going to seem for all the world like everybody else is just in my way.

‘And who are all these people in my way? And look at how repulsive most of them are, and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle of the line. And look at how deeply and personally unfair this is.’

Or, of course, if I’m in a more socially conscious liberal arts form of my default setting, I can spend time in the end-of-the-day traffic being disgusted about all the huge, stupid, lane-blocking SUV’s and Hummers and V-12 pickup trucks, burning their wasteful, selfish, 40-gallon tanks of gas, and I can dwell on the fact that the patriotic or religious bumper-stickers always seem to be on the biggest, most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest (responds here to an applause) —See this is an example of how NOT to think, though — most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest, most inconsiderate and aggressive drivers. 

And I can think about how our children’s children will despise us for wasting all the future’s fuel, and probably screwing up the climate, and how spoiled and stupid and selfish and disgusting we all are, and how modern consumer society just sucks, and so forth and so on.

You get the idea.

If I choose to think this way in a store and on the freeway, fine. Lots of us do. Except thinking this way tends to be so easy and automatic that it doesn’t have to be a choice. It is my natural default setting. It’s the automatic way that I experience the boring, frustrating, crowded parts of adult life when I’m operating on the automatic, unconscious belief that I am the center of the world and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world’s priorities.

The thing is that, of course, there are totally different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stopped and idling in my way, it’s not impossible that some of these people in SUV’s have been in horrible auto accidents in the past, and now find driving so terrifying that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive. 

Or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he’s trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he’s in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way.

Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket’s checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.

Again, please don’t think that I’m giving you moral advice, or that I’m saying you are supposed to think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it. 

Because it’s hard. 

It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won’t be able to do it, or you just flat out won’t want to.

But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness.

Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends on what you want to consider. 

If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. 

But if you really learn how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. 

The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it.

This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. 

You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship–be it JC or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles–is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. 

On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. 

Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.

But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it is that they are unconscious. They are default settings.

They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along on the fuel of fear and anger and frustration and craving and the worship of self. 

Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving and displaying.

The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. 

The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

I know that this stuff probably doesn’t sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational the way a commencement speech is supposed to sound. What it is, as far as I can see, is the capital-T Truth, with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. You are, of course, free to think of it whatever you wish. But please don’t just dismiss it as just some finger-wagging Dr. Laura sermon. None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death.

The capital-T Truth is about life before death.

*It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

‘This is water.’

‘This is water.’

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really is the job of a lifetime. And it commences, now.

I wish you way more than luck.”

 

 

 

Main Ideas

“The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about.”

“Because the really significant education in thinking that we’re supposed to get in a place like this isn’t really about the capacity to think, but rather about the choice of what to think about.”

“If your total freedom of choice regarding what to think about seems too obvious to waste time discussing, I’d ask you to think about fish and water, and to bracket for just a few minutes your skepticism about the value of the totally obvious.”

“The exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two different people, given those people’s two different belief templates and two different ways of constructing meaning from experience.”

“But religious dogmatists’ problem is exactly the same as the story’s unbeliever: blind certainty, a close-mindedness that amounts to an imprisonment so total that the prisoner doesn’t even know he’s locked up.”

“The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties… Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded.”

“Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence.”

“Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on.  Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.”

“It’s a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.”

“Probably the most dangerous thing about an academic education–least in my own case–is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract argument inside my head, instead of simply paying attention to what is going on right in front of me, paying attention to what is going on inside me.
As I’m sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now).”

“Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.
It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.”

“And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out.”

“The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing is gonna come in. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don’t make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I’m gonna be pissed and miserable every time I have to shop.
Because my natural default setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me. About MY hungriness and MY fatigue and MY desire to just get home, and it’s going to seem for all the world like everybody else is just in my way.”

“If I choose to think this way in a store and on the freeway, fine. Lots of us do. Except thinking this way tends to be so easy and automatic that it doesn’t have to be a choice. It is my natural default setting. It’s the automatic way that I experience the boring, frustrating, crowded parts of adult life when I’m operating on the automatic, unconscious belief that I am the center of the world and that my immediate needs and feelings are what should determine the world’s priorities.”

“Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket’s checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.”

“If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable.
But if you really learn how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred.”

“The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it.”

“You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.”

“If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.”

“Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear.
Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.
But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it is that they are unconscious. They are default settings.
They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.”

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race.”

“The capital-T Truth is about life before death.”

3 Transformative Messages from Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”

In A New Earth, author Eckhart Tolle shares his open-minded & progressing ideas to help you achieve the peace of God which surpasses understanding, as Jesus spoke of.

He helps you gain insight into the harming effects the human ego can have when unchecked, which is a core element holding you back from peace.

As you work on decreasing the ego in your life(techniques included in third section), you will grow in conscious awareness, staying present in the moment–alert, listening, less consumed with compulsive thinking, resulting in abundant peace & joy.

One of the main messages from this book is that you are not separate from life. You and life are one, you are whole, together, but our egos thrive on division; division from everything—life, others, and even yourself.

coacht.blog new earth

A few other fundamental concepts from the book include:

—Life to the fullest is lived Beyond Words

—The human egos current grip on humanity and what you can do about it

—Techniques & Parables to help you achieve peace

—Best Quotes

These 3 fundamental ideas and the best quotes each have their own section with the theme of being connected to life flowing through each section.

The meek are the egoless. They are those who have awakened to their essential true nature as consciousness and recognize that essence in all “others,” all life­forms. They live in the surrendered state and so feel their oneness with the whole and the Source. They embody the awakened consciousness that is changing all aspects of life on our planet, including nature, because life on earth is inseparable from the human consciousness that perceives and interacts with it. That is the sense in which the meek will inherit the earth.”

coacht.blog a new earth

I have been and am still working on a longer summary of each section(which I may or may not finish), but here are the shortened versions of each section!

You can be part of the shift toward this new consciousness, this New Earth.

Take your time & enjoy!

—Life to the fullest is lived Beyond Words

We live in a world overrun by words and thinking. 

Do you ever reminisce about childhood and wish to feel that joy & aliveness once again?

That joy is found when you don’t have a stream of endless thoughts, when you are in the present moment, acting “in the zone” or “flow” with no thought in mind.

“Some of those people who, through creative action, enrich the lives of many others simply do what they enjoy doing most without wanting to achieve or become anything through that activity.”

You are present when what you are doing is not primarily a means to an end (money, prestige, winning) but fulfilling in itself, when there is joy and aliveness in what you do.”

Think Less to Live More

2-People1

Thoughts come in different forms but their main form is through words.

Here are some related insights from Tolle:

“We often believe that words are facts, but in the end, words are just another thing created by humans!”

“When you look at it(anything) or hold it and let it be without imposing a word or mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you.It’s essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you…

…This is what great artists sense and succeed in conveying in their art…

…When you don’t cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life that was lost a long time ago when humanity, instead of using thought, became possessed by thought. A depth returns to your life. Things regain their newness, their freshness.”

And the greatest miracle is the experiencing of your essential self as prior to any words, thoughts, mental labels, and images.”

On that note—TELEVISION!

coacht.blog tv

“So does TV watching create inner space? Does it cause you to be present? Unfortunately, it does not…

…Your mind is inactive only in the sense that it is not producing thoughts. It is, however, continuously absorbing thoughts and images that come through the TV screen. This induces a trancelike passive state of heightened susceptibility, not unlike hypnosis…

…That is why it lends itself to manipulation of “public opinion,” as politicians and special-­interest groups as well as advertisers know and will pay millions of dollars to catch you in that state of receptive unawareness. They want their thoughts to become your thoughts, and usually they succeed…

…Television has this in common with alcohol and certain other drugs. While it provides some relief from your mind, you again pay a high price: loss of consciousness. Like those drugs, it too has a strong addictive quality.”

Another thing your thoughts influence is your idea of who you are.

Nobody can tell you who you are.”

You will learn more about this idea in the next section on the ego—that a current belief is that you are defined by your accomplishments, relationships, career, race, height, skills, etc, but this is NOT who you are. What you are is much more than these transient identities.

Here’s Tolle:

It’s okay to try and figure out about yourself, but don’t confuse knowing about yourself with knowing yourself… 

…The psychoanalysis tells you about yourself, they tell you about how your past has conditioned your behavior and thoughts but it is not you Tolle says. It is content, not essence. Going beyond ego is stepping out of content. Knowing yourself is being yourself, and being yourself is ceasing to identify with content.

“Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind.”

“You are not the ego, so when you become aware of the ego in you, it does not mean you know who you are – it means you know who you are not. But it is through knowing who you are not that the greatest obstacle to truly knowing yourself is removed.”

Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem.”

Tolle discusses how there are no absolute truths, although people often define themselves and others in an egoic way that they believe is true. It’s not.

Campo_ultra_profundo_3d

“We need to bear in mind here that nothing we say about the nature of the universe should be taken as an absolute truth…

…Neither concepts nor mathematical formulae can explain the infinite. No thought can encapsulate the vastness of the totality. Reality is a unified whole, but thought cuts it up into fragments. This gives rise to fundamental misperceptions, for example, that there are separate things and events, or that this is the cause of that… 

…Only the whole is true, but the whole cannot be spoken or thought. Seen from beyond the limitations of thinking and therefore incomprehensible to the human mind, everything is happening now…

…As an illustration of relative and absolute truth, consider the sunrise and sunset. When we say the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, that is true but only relatively. In absolute terms, it is false…

…Only from the limited perspective of an observer on or near the planet’s surface does the sun rise and set. If you were far out in space, you would see that the sun neither rises nor sets, but that it shines continuously. And yet, even after realizing that, we can continue to speak of the sunrise or sunset, still see its beauty paint it, write poems about it, even though we now know that it is a relative rather than an absolute truth…

…So let us continue to speak for a moment of another relative truth: the coming into form of the universe and its return to the formless, which implies the limited perspective of time, and see what relevance this has to your own life…

…The notion of “my own life” is, of course, another limited perspective created by thought, another relative truth. There is ultimately no such thing as “your” life, since you and life are not two, but one.”

I love the above message from Tolle even though it took me multiple times of reading it to get a good understanding of what he meant. To really realize that you are not the ego/labels/etc that you thought you were. That you are not separate from life, you are completely connected.

As you begin to understand that who you thought you were isn’t who you are, you may experience some insecurity and uncertainty.

Tolle says:

“There may be a period of insecurity and uncertainty. What should I do? As the ego is no longer running your life, the psychological need for external security, which is illusory anyway, lessens…

…You are able to live with uncertainty, even enjoy it. When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change…

…The Roman philosopher Tacitus rightly observed that ‘the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise…’

If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity

…Many years ago, as a result of a strong inner impulse, I walked out of an academic career that the world would have called ‘promising,’ stepping into complete uncertainty; and out of that, after several years, emerged my new incarnation as a spiritual teacher.”

Here is a parable I heard from the author Tim Ferriss about a person stepping into uncertainty and pursuing what life was guiding them to which is their dreams.

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“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment. And what is that? There is a sense of quality in what you do, even the most simple action. Quality implies care and attention, which comes with awareness. Quality requires your Presence.”

You are so much more than how you or anyone else has defined you.

There is beauty beyond words. The joy you once felt as a child you can feel again.

—The human egos current grip on humanity and what you can do about it

“The ego could be defined simply in this way: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment.”

Our egos are sculpted from the day we are born. We are given labels of who we are and people have an idea of how our future will be. These thoughts, which are expectations, have huge impacts on how each human life unfolds. The reinforcements of people telling us who we are become an obsession until we are constantly thinking that “this is who I am,” and defining ourselves with specific words.

These thoughts get reinforced into the child until they are living completely through their ego, labels & judgments of who they think they are, and this grows stronger throughout life when it is unchecked.

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“Many people don’t realize until they are on their deathbed and everything external falls away that no thing ever had anything to do with who they are…

…In the proximity of death, the whole concept of ownership stands revealed as ultimately meaningless…

…They also realize that while they were looking throughout their lives for a more complete sense of self, what they were really looking for, their Being, had actually always already been there, but had been largely obscured by their identification with things, which ultimately means identification with their mind…

…‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven.’

Poor in spirit means no inner baggage, no identifications. Not with things, nor with any mental concepts that have a sense of self in them…

…The kingdom of heaven can be the profound joy of Being that is there when you let go of identifications and so become ‘poor in spirit…’

…This is why renouncing all possessions has been an ancient spiritual practice in both East and West. Although this will not automatically free you of the ego…

…The EGO will attempt to ensure its survival by finding something else to identify with, for example, a mental image of yourself as someone who has transcended all interest in material possessions and is therefore superior, is more spiritual than others.”

Ego is no more than this: identification with form, which primarily means thought forms.”

“The more people identify with their minds, the more they suffer…

…If the sufferer could look at her body without the interfering judgments of her mind or even recognize those judgments for what they are instead of believing in them—or if she could feel her body from within—this would initiate her healing…

…Those who identify with their good looks, strength, or abilities experience suffering when those attributes begin to fade and disappear, as of course they will.

“‘I’ always leads to suffering sooner or later. To refrain from identifying with the body doesn’t mean that you neglect, despise, or no longer care for it. Enjoy and appreciate its attributes while they last. Right nutrition and exercise too.”

“The ego isn’t wrong; it’s just unconscious.
When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it.
Don’t take the ego too seriously.
When you detect ego behavior in yourself, smile.  At times you may even laugh.”

One area the ego can be unconscious and bring suffering upon itself is in relationships. 

The ego is constantly on guard, defending itself to maintain the identity it has been giving itself.

Tolle gives these words:

“The ego is always on guard against any kind of perceived diminishment. Automatic ego-­repair mechanisms come into effect to restore the mental form of ‘me’….

 …When someone blames or criticizes me, that to the ego is a diminishment of self, and it will immediately attempt to repair its diminished sense of self through self-­justification, defense, or blaming. Whether the other person is right or wrong is irrelevant to the ego. It is much more interested in self­-preservation than in the truth. This is the preservation of the psychological form of ‘me.’ Even such a normal thing as shouting something back when another driver calls you ‘idiot’ is an automatic and unconscious ego­-repair mechanism. One of the most common ego­-repair mechanisms is anger, which causes a temporary but huge ego inflation. All repair mechanisms make perfect sense to the ego but are actually dysfunctional. Those that are most extreme in their dysfunction are physical violence and self-delusion in the form of grandiose fantasies.”

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“In addition, gossiping often carries an element of malicious criticism and judgment of others, and so it also strengthens the ego through the implied but imagined moral superiority that is there whenever you apply a negative judgment to anyone…

…If someone has more, knows more, or can do more than I, the ego feels threatened because the feeling of ‘less’ diminishes its imagined sense of self relative to the other. It may then try to restore itself by somehow diminishing, criticizing, or belittling the value of the other person’s possessions, knowledge, or abilities. Or the ego may shift its strategy, and instead of competing with the other person, it will enhance itself by association with that person, if he or she is important in the eyes of others.”

Tolle says to do nothing when someone criticizes or blames you.
        —Check out the parable in section 3 “Is that so?”

“Making yourself right and others wrong is one of the principal egos mind patterns, one of the main forms of unconsciousness.”

“All you need to know and observe in yourself is this: whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that’s the ego in you.”

“The stronger the ego in you, the more likely it is that in your perception other people are the main source of problems in your life. It is also more than likely that you will make life difficult for others. But, of course, you won’t be able to see that. It is always others who seem to be doing it to you…

…The more the sufferer sees himself persecuted, spied on, or threatened by others, the more pronounced becomes his sense of being the center of the universe around whom everything revolves, and the more special and important he feels as the imagined focal point of so many people’s attention. His sense of being a victim, of being wronged by so many people, makes him feel very special. In the story that forms the basis of his delusional system, he often assigns to himself the role of both victim and potential hero who is going to save the world or defeat the forces of evil.”

“Each person is so identified with the thoughts that make up their opinion, that those thoughts harden into mental positions which are invested with a sense of self. In other words: Identity and thought merge. Once this has happened, when I defend my opinions (thoughts), I feel and act as if I were defending my very self. Unconsciously, I feel and act as if I were fighting for survival and so my emotions will reflect this unconscious belief. They become turbulent. I am upset, angry, defensive, or aggressive. I need to win at all costs lest I become annihilated. That’s the illusion. The ego doesn’t know that mind and mental positions have nothing to do with who you are because the ego is the unobserved mind itself.

“An emotion is the body’s response to a thought…
…Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.”

“In Zen they say: ‘Don’t seek the truth. Just cease to cherish opinions.’ What does that mean? Let go of identification with your mind. Who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself.”

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Now that you seen some of the toxicity of the ego it’s time to look at what can happen when you live without ego.

“It comes as no surprise that those people who work without ego are extraordinarily successful at what they do. Anybody who is one with what he or she does is building the new earth.”

All truly successful action comes out of that field of alert attention, rather than from ego and conditioned, unconscious thinking.”

Living awakened, without ego, includes modalities of acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm, Tolle discusses:

“Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. You need to be vigilant to make sure that one of them operates whenever you are engaged in doing anything at all – from the most simple task to the most complex. If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others.”

“To sum up: Enjoyment of what you are doing, combined with a goal or vision that you work toward, becomes enthusiasm. Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment needs to remain the focal point of your attention; otherwise, you will fall out of alignment with universal purpose… 

…Make sure your vision or goal is not an inflated image of yourself and therefore a concealed form of ego, such as wanting to become a movie star, a famous writer, or a wealthy entrepreneur. Also make sure your goal is not focused on having this or that, such as a mansion by the sea, your own company, or ten million dollars in the bank. An enlarged image of yourself or a vision of yourself having this or that are all static goals and therefore don’t empower you…

…Instead, make sure your goals are dynamic, that is to say, point toward an activity that you are engaged in and through which you are connected to other human beings as well as to the whole. Instead of seeing yourself as a famous actor and writer and so on, see yourself inspiring countless people with your work and enriching their lives. Feel how that activity enriches or deepens not only your life but that of countless others. Feel yourself being an opening through which energy flows form the unmanifested Source of all life through you for the benefit of all.”

 

But the ego is tricky and tries to find other ways to make it focus on itself, such as dwelling in the past or worrying about the future.

“Your personality, which is conditioned by the past, then becomes your prison. Your memories are invested with a sense of self, and your story becomes who you perceive yourself to be. This “little me” is an illusion that obscures your true identity as timeless and formless Presence.”

Here is a good story Tolle retells which illustrates the unwillingness of the human mind to let go of the past:

“Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, who were walking along a country road that had become extremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side…

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…The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the lodging temple, Ekido couldn’t restrain himself any longer. ‘Why did you carry that girl across the road?’ he asked. ‘We monks are not supposed to do things like that.’

‘I put the girl down hours ago,’ said Tanzan. ‘Are you still carrying her?’

…Now imagine what life would be like for someone who lived like Ekido all the time, unable or unwilling to let go internally of situations, accumulating more and more “stuff’ inside, and you get a sense of what life is like for the majority of people on our planet. What a heavy burden of past they carry around with them in their minds.”

“When you make the present moment, instead of past and future, the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do – and with it the quality of your life – increases dramatically.”

“Your Being then does not shine through form anymore – or only barely. Through nonresistance to form, that in you which is beyond form emerges as an all-encompassing Presence, a silent power far greater than your short-­lived form identity, the person. It is more deeply who you are than anything in the world of form.”

—Techniques & Parables to help you achieve peace

Parable–Not Minding What Happens

“J. Krishnamurti, the great Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher, spoke and traveled almost continuously all over the world for more than fifty years attempting to convey through words ­ which are content – that which is beyond words, beyond content…

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…At one of his talks in the later part of his life, he surprised his audience by asking, ‘Do you want to know my secret?’ Everyone became very alert. Many people in the audience had been coming to listen to him for twenty or thirty years and still failed to grasp the essence of his teaching. Finally, after all these years, the master would give them the key to understanding.

This is my secret,’ he said. ‘I don’t mind what happens.’

Does this mean you can no longer take action to bring abut change in your life? On the contrary. when the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.”

**

How to be at peace now? 

“By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else. Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.”

**

Don’t seek happiness

“If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well­being and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”

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**

How to live a life of abundance in all aspects of life

Try this for a couple of weeks and see how it changes your reality: Whatever you think people are withholding from you—­ praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on – give it to them. 

You don’t have it? Just act as if you had it, and it will come. 

Then, soon after you start giving, you will start receiving. You cannot receive what you don’t give. Outflow determines inflow. Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you already have, but unless you allow it to flow out, you won’t even know that you have it. This includes abundance. The law that outflow determines inflow is expressed by Jesus in this powerful image: “Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.”

**

How to be enthusiastic

“Enjoyment of what you are doing, combined with a goal or vision that you work toward, becomes enthusiasm. Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment needs to remain the focal point of your attention; otherwise, you will fall out of alignment with universal purpose.”

**

How to recognize when ego begins acting in your life & what to do

“SEE if you can catch your voice in the head, perhaps in the moment it complains about something, and recognize it for what it is: The voice of the ego, no more than a conditioned mind-pattern, a thought.

Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it. You are the awareness that is aware of the voice.

In the background, there is awareness. In the foreground, there Is the voice, the thinker.

…In this way you are becoming free of the ego, free of the unobserved mind.

The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern.  

Ego implies unawareness.
Awareness and ego cannot coexist.
Every time the ego is recognized, it is weakened.”

**

Parable on accepting everything without taking any of it personally

IS THAT SO?

“The Zen Master Hakuin lived in a town in Japan. He was held in high regard and many people came to him for spiritual teaching. Then it happened that the teenage daughter of his next­door neighbor became pregnant. When being questioned by her angry and scolding parents as to the identity of the father, she finally told them that he was Hakuin, the Zen Master. In great anger the parents rushed over to Hakuin and told him with much shouting and accusing that their daughter had confessed that he was the father. All he replied was, ‘Is that so?’

News of the scandal spread throughout the town and beyond. The Master lost his reputation. This did not trouble him. Nobody came to see him anymore. He remained unmoved. When the child was born, the parents brought the baby to Hakuin. ‘You are the father, so you look after him.’ The Master took loving care of the child. A year later, the mother remorsefully confessed to her parents that the real father of the child was the young man who worked at the butcher shop. In great distress they went to see Hakuin to apologize and ask for forgiveness. ‘We are really sorry. We have come to take the baby back. Our daughter confessed that you are not the father.’ ‘Is that so?’ is all he would may as he handed the baby over to them.

The Master responds to falsehood and truth, bad news and good news, in exactly the same way: ‘Is that so?’ He allows the form of the moment, good or bad, to be as it is and so does not become a participant in human drama. To him there is only this moment, and this moment is as it is. 

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Events are not personalized. He is nobody’s victim. He is so completely at one with what happens that what happens has no power over him anymore. Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.

The baby is looked after with loving care. Bad turns into good through the power of nonresistance. Always responding to what the present moment requires, he lets go of the baby when it is time to do so.

Imagine briefly how the ego would have reacted during the various stages of the unfolding of these events.”

“Non reaction is not weakness but strength. Another word for nonreactor is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence.”

“In Zen they say: ‘Don’t seek the truth. Just cease to cherish opinions.’ What does that mean? Let go of identification with your mind. Who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself.”

**

A Parable on Peace: “This too will pass” 

According to an ancient Sufi story, there lived a king in some Middle Eastern land who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency. The slightest thing would cause him great upset or provoke an intense reaction, and his happiness would quickly turn into disappointment and despair. A time came when the king finally got tired of himself and of life, and he began to seek a way out. He sent for a wise man who lived in his kingdom and who was reputed to be enlightened. When the wise man came, the king said to him, “I want to be like you. Can you give me something that will bring balance, serenity, and wisdom into my life? I will pay back any price you ask.”

The wise man said, “I may be able to help you. But the price is so great that your entire kingdom would not be sufficient to pay for it. Therefore it will be a gift to you if you honor it.” The king gave his assurances and the wise man left.

A few weeks later, he returned and handed the king an ornate box carved in jade. The king opened the box and found a simple gold ring inside. Some letters were inscribed on the ring. The inscription read. This too will pass. “What is the meaning of this?” asked the king. The wise man said, “Wear this ring always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription. That way you will always be at peace.”

This too will pass. What is it about this simple words that makes them so powerful? Looking at it superficially, it would seem while those words may provide some comfort in a bad situation, they would also diminish the enjoyment of the good things in life. 

“Don’t be too happy, because it won’t last.” This seems to be what they are saying when applied in a situation that is perceived as good.

…this story points to the fact of impermanence which, when recognized, leads to non-attachment. Non-resistance are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.

Those words inscribed on the ring are not telling you that you should not enjoy the good in your life, nor are they merely meant to provide some comfort in times of suffering. They have a deeper purpose: to make you aware of the fleetingness of every situation, which is due to the transience of all forms- good or bad. When you become aware of the transience of all forms, your attachment to them lessens, and you dis-identify with them to some extent. Being detached does not mean you cannot enjoy the good that the world has to offer. In fact, you enjoy it more. Once you see the transience of all things and the inevitability of change, you can enjoy the pleasures about the future. When you are detached, you gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them.

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**

What to do when you’re with people

“When you meet with people, at work or wherever it my be, give them your fullest attention

…The human Being becomes more important than the things of this world. It does not mean you neglect whatever needs to be done on a practical level. In fact, the doing unfolds no only more easily, but more powerfully when the dimension of Being is acknowledged and so becomes primary.”

**

How do you measure true success?

“The world will tell you that success is achieving what you set out to do. It will tell you that success is winning, that finding recognition and/or prosperity are essential ingredients in any success. All or some of the above are usually by­products of success, but they are not success…

…The conventional notion of success is concerned with the outcome of what you do. Some say that success is the result of a combination of hard work and luck, or determination and talent, or being in the right place at the right time. While any of these may be determinants of success, they are not its essence. What the world doesn’t tell you – because it doesn’t know – is that you cannot become successful. You can only be successful…

Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment. And what is that? There is a sense of quality in what you do, even the most simple action. Quality implies care and attention, which comes with awareness. Quality requires your Presence.

**

How to love yourself

“To love is to recognize yourself in another.”

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**

How to feel the peace that surpasses understanding

-Realize what the ego is and how it works.

-Allow forms/labels that you once identified with collapse and that will lead to the ego collapsing since ego is identification with form.

“When there is nothing to identify with anymore, who are you?”

Tolle goes on to say:

“When forms around you die or death approaches, your sense of Beingness, of I Am, is freed from its entanglement with form: Spirit is released from its imprisonment in matter.

You realize your essential identity as formless, as an all-pervasive Presence, of Being prior to all forms, all identifications.

You realize your true identity as consciousness itself, rather than what consciousness had identified with.

That’s the peace of God.
The ultimate truth of who you are is not in I am this or I am that, but I Am.
Circumstances and people then become helpful, cooperative. Coincidences happen.

When you yield internally; if action is possible or necessary, your action will be in alignment with the whole and supported by create intelligence, the unconditioned consciousness which in a state of inner openness you become one with. You rest in God.”

**

Parable on Entering Zen

Can You Hear The Mountain Stream?

“A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple, a young monk who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Zen, broke the silence by asking the Master, ‘Master, how do I enter Zen?’

He was, of course, inquiring how to enter the state of consciousness which is Zen.

The Master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the Master suddenly spoke. ‘Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?’

The disciple had not been aware of any mountain stream. He had been too busy thinking about the meaning of Zen. Now as he began to listen for the sound, his noisy mind subsided. At first he heard nothing. Then, his thinking gave way to heightened alertness, and suddenly he did hear the hardly perceptible murmur of a small stream in the far distance.

‘Yes, I can hear it now,’ he said.

The master raised his finger and, with a look in his eyes that in some way was both fierce and gentle, said, ‘Enter Zen from there.’

The disciple was stunned. It was his first satori – a flash of enlightenment. He knew what Zen was without knowing what it was that he knew!

They continued on their journey in silence. The disciple was amazed at the aliveness of the world around him. He experienced everything as if for the first time. Gradually, however, he started thinking again. The alert stillness became covered up again by mental noise, and before long he had another question. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I have been thinking. What would you have said if I hadn’t been able to hear the mountain stream?’ The master stopped, looked at him, raised his finger and said, ‘Enter Zen from there.’”

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—Best Quotes

Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem.”

“The sapling doesn’t want anything because it is at one with the totality, and the totality acts through it. ‘Look at the lilies of the field, how they grow’ said Jesus, ‘They toil not, neither do they spin. Yet even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’ We could say that the totality – Life – wants the sapling to become a tree, but the sapling doesn’t see itself as separate from life and so wants nothing for itself. It is one with what Life wants. That’s why it isn’t worried or stressed. And if it has to die prematurely, it dies with ease. It is as surrendered in death as it is in life. It senses, no matter how obscurely, its rootedness in Being, the formless and eternal one Life…

…Doesn’t the existence of any goal imply that there is a temporary disruption in that harmony with the present moment and perhaps a reestablishment of harmony at a higher or more complex level once the goal has been attained? I imagine that the sapling that pushes its way through the soil can’t be in total harmony with the present moment either because it has a goal: It wants to become a big tree. Maybe once it has reached maturity it will lie in harmony with the present moment.”

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Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance. The fact is: Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”

Those who do not attempt to appear more than they are but are simply themselves, stand out as remarkable and are the only ones who truly make a difference in this world…

…They are the bringers of the new consciousness. Whatever they do becomes empowered because it is in alignment with the purpose of the whole…

…Their influence, however, goes far beyond what they do, far beyond their function. Their mere presence – simple, natural, unassuming – has a transformational effect on whoever they come into contact with.”

Many poets and sages throughout the ages have observed that true happiness – I call it the joy of Being – is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things.”

“True happiness is not caused by the thing or event, although this is how it first appears”

“There are two reasons why we don’t see this unity, why we see things as separate. One is perception, which reduces reality to what is accessible to us through the small range of our senses: what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. But when we perceive without interpreting or mental labeling, which means without adding thought to our perceptions, we can actually still sense the deeper connectedness underneath our perception of seemingly separate things.

……The other more serious reason for the illusion of separateness is compulsive thinking. It is when we are trapped in incessant streams of compulsive thinking that the universe really disintegrates for us, and we lose the ability to sense the interconnectedness of all that exists. Thinking cuts reality up into lifeless fragments. Extremely unintelligent and destructive action arises out of such a fragmented view of reality.”

“The notion of ‘my own life’ is, of course, another limited perspective created by thought, another relative truth. There is ultimately no such thing as ‘your’ life, since you and life are not two, but one.”

“The meek are the egoless. They are those who have awakened to their essential true nature as consciousness and recognize that essence in all “others,” all life­forms. They live in the surrendered state and so feel their oneness with the whole and the Source. They embody the awakened consciousness that is changing all aspects of life on our planet, including nature, because life on earth is inseparable from the human consciousness that perceives and interacts with it. That is the sense in which the meek will inherit the earth…
…A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it!”

“If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”

“The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego. The ego can never be in alignment with the present moment, which is to say, aligned with life, since its very nature compels it to ignore, resist, or devalue the Now. Time is what the ego lives on. The stronger the ego, the more time takes over your life. Almost every thought you think is then concerned with past or future, and you sense of self depends on the past for your identity and on the future for its fulfillment. Fear, anxiety, expectation, regret, guilt, anger are the dysfunctions of the time­bound state of consciousness.”

Not what you do, but how you do what you do determines whether you are fulfilling your destiny. And how you do what you do is determined by your state of consciousness.”

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I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed the book A New Earth!

You might also like one of my most viewed posts: 5 Life-Changing Takeaways from the Book, “Way Of The Peaceful Warrior”

Share this message and ask how you can be part of the New Earth!

The Most Insightful & Life-Changing Ideas From Marcus Aurelius’s Book, “Meditations”

Marcus Aurelius is a former Roman Emperor (Ruled from 161A.D. – 180A.D), and his personal notes are so insightful & impactful that they have been translated, turned into a book, and carried on for almost 2000 years now.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius has definitely expanded my mind to new & deep ideas. Aurelius’s words have given me a deeper understanding on letting go of petty worries & focusing on life’s bigger picture.

His words gave me insight into the shortness of life, death, good ways of dealing with negative people, different ways of thinking & perceiving life, and so much more.

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If you are open to mind expanding ideas then this is definitely for you!

To begin with some of Marcus’s wisdom he was one of the first people recorded to ever have the perspective of being a citizen of the world instead of only a citizen of his town/country:

He said: “My city and state are Rome-as Antoninus. But as a human being? The world. So for me, ‘good’ can only mean what’s good for both communities.”

He saw the bigger picture of life & death.

Marcus is known as one of the few good Emperors to ever live. Most other Emperors and people in power got caught up in their power & lived a life of overindulgence in all things. Marcus was able to see past this physical World into the bigger picture of life & beyond, which led him to living a disciplined & humble life—which even today is extremely hard for people, especially people in power!

I read this after seeing it was on the top of Ryan Holiday’s Book Recommendations. So I got a copy of it online, and dove right in.

I have previously thought about how the Earth will one day be consumed by a star or something & will discontinue existing, as well as everything on it. I never had a name for that idea until now—it is thinking as a stoic. This may seem negative to some but this perspective can help you let go of your trivial worries. Embracing these ideas can help you live with a deep inner peace, as it did for me.

In Meditations, Marcus Aurelius gives unique & stoic perspectives on how to live a better life.

The sections in this summary include:

1) Dealing with Others’ Opinions & Actions

2) On Thinking, The Mind & Perspective

3) On One’s Actions & Work

4) Death & The Shortness of Life

5) 19 Best Quotes

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To first sum up the book Meditations with a few main points

  • Don’t worry about what other people say or think about you. Focus on what is in your control & let go of the rest. “God did not intend my happiness to rest with someone else.” 

It never ceases to amaze me: We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

“Or is it your reputation that’s bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands. The people who praise us-how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region in which it all takes place. The whole earth a point in space-and most of it uninhabited.”

  • Let go of the small worries you have during your days. Your problems, as well as your entire life is temporary & one day will be gone forever—let your worries go today:

“The first step: Don’t be anxious. Nature controls it all. And before long you’ll be no one, nowhere—like Hadrian, like Augustus. The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do.  Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it.  But with kindness.  With humility.  Without hypocrisy.”

“In the age of Vespasian for example — People doing the exact same things: marrying, raising children, getting sick, dying, waging war, throwing parties, doing business, farming, flattering, boasting, distrusting, plotting, hoping others will die, complaining about their own lives, falling in love, putting away money, seeking high office and power……and that life they led is nowhere to be found…The exact same thing happened in the age of Trajan..And that too, gone..

..Then what should we work for??

—Only this: proper understanding; unselfish action; truthful speech.  A resolve to accept whatever happens as necessary and familiar, flowing like water from that same source and spring.”

  • Everything happens for a reason. Human logic can only comprehend so much about Life & the Universe—embrace & learn to love the situations & circumstances you are in no matter what position life has put you in. You are still breathing. Be thankful for what you do have & stop complaining. Life is short. Don’t pity yourself-life has a reason for us-death is not a bad thing. “Don’t complain. Doing what’s right takes patience. Think about the number of people who have feuded and envied and hated and fourth and died and been buried.”

“Treat everything around you as a dream.”

“People ask, have you ever seen the gods you worship? How can you be sure they exist? Answers—Just look around….I’ve never seen my soul either, and yet I revere it—I Know they exist because I’ve felt their power over and over.”

  • Seek out peace of mind over fleeting pleasures. Know you can never know it all-be humble & remain a life long student. Honest work can help you achieve peace of mind: 

“Some people, when they do someone a favor, are always looking for a chance to call it in. And some aren’t, but they’re still aware of it—still regard it as a debt. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return… —A horse at the end of a race.. —A dog when the hunt is over… —A bee with its honey stored… —And a human being after helping others. 

—They don’t make a fuss about it. They just go on to something else, as the vine looks forward to bearing fruit again in season. —We should be like that. Acting almost unconsciously. -Yes, except conscious of it.”

“Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, thats when he has you in his spell.”

People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”

Enjoy many more insightful & thought-provoking words from Aurelius.

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1) On Dealing with Other People

“Don’t pay attention to other people’s minds. Look straight ahead, where nature is leading you, through the things that happen to you through your own actions.”

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and unfriendly.  They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.”

“Welcoming wholeheartedly whatever comes- whatever were assigned—not worrying too often, or with any selfish motive, about what other people say. Or do, or think.”

“Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good.  It will keep you from doing anything useful.  You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind.”

“God did not intend my happiness to rest with someone else.”

“You want praise from people who kick themselves every 15 minutes, the approval of people who despise themselves…..why do you want approval from people who don’t know where or who they are on this planet?”

“The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do.  Only what you do. Asking yourself: Is this fair?  Is this the right thing to do?”

“Why do unskilled and untrained souls disturb souls with skill and understanding?”

“So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine.”

“So remember this principle when someone threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to endure it and prevail is great good fortune.”

That to expect bad people not to injure others is crazy. It’s to ask the impossible. And to let them behave like that to other people but expect them to exempt you is arrogant—the act of a tyrant.”

“When people injure you, ask yourself what good or harm they thought would come of it. If you understand that, you’ll feel sympathy rather than outrage or anger.”

“If they’ve injured you, then they’re the ones who suffer for it.”

“People do things that upset you, but it can’t harm your mind. People do boorish things, what’s strange or unheard of about that?? Isn’t it yourself you should reproach—for not anticipating that they’d act this way??—It was you who did wrong by assuming that someone with those traits deserved your trust.”

“Other people’s mistakes? Leave them to their makers.”

”Leave other peoples mistakes where they lie.”

“If anyone can refute me-show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective— I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.”

“People out for posthumous fame forget that the Generations To Come will be the same annoying people they know now. And just as mortal. What does it matter to you if they say x about you, or think y?”

“When faced with people’s bad behavior, turn around and ask when you have acted like that. When you saw money as good, or pleasure, or social position. Your anger will subside as soon as you recognize that they acted under compulsion.”

“If someone despises me—that’s their problem. Mine—not to do or say anything despicable. If someone hates me—that’s their problem. Mine—to be patient and cheerful with everyone, including them. Ready to show them their mistake. Not spitefully, or to show off my own self-control, but in an honest, upright way. That’s the way we should be like inside, and never let the gods catch us feeling anger or resentment.”

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”

“People who feel hurt and resentment: picture them as the pig at the sacrifice, kicking and squealing all the way.”

That kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere—not ironic or an act. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight—if you get the chance—correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do you harm..

‘No, no my friend. That isn’t what were here for. It isn’t me who’s harmed by that. It’s you.’ And show him gently without pointing fingers that it’s so.”

That it’s not what they do that bothers us: that’s a problem for their minds, not ours. It’s our own misperceptions. Discard them. Be willing to give up thinking of this as a catastrophe…and your anger is gone. How do you do that? By recognizing that you’ve suffered no disgrace.”

“That you don’t know for sure it is a mistake. A lot of things are means to some other end. You have to know an awful lot before you can judge other people’s actions with real understanding.”

It never ceases to amaze me: We all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

“The despicable phoniness of people who say, ‘listen, I’m going to level with you here.’ What does that mean?? It shouldn’t even need to be said. It should be obvious—written in block letters on your forehead. It should be audible in your voice, visible in your eyes, like a lover who looks into your face, and takes in the whole story at a glance. A straightforward honest person should be like someone who stinks: when you’re in the same room with him, you know it.  But false straightforwardness is like a knife in the back. False friendship is the worst.  Avoid it at all costs. If you’re honest and straightforward and mean well, it should show in your eyes. It should be unmistakable.”

“Or is it your reputation thats bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands. The people who praise us-how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region in which it all takes place. The whole earth a point in space-and most of it uninhabited.”

“To live life in peace, immune to all compulsion..Let them scream whatever they want.”

“Not to be distracted by their darkness.  To run straight for the finish line, unswerving.”

“Don’t be put off by other people’s comments and criticism.”

“When someone seems to have injured you: -But how can I be sure? And in any case, keep in mind: —That he’s already been tried and convicted-by himself, like scratching your own eyes out. —That to expect a bad person not to harm others is like expecting fig trees not to secrete juice, babies not to cry, horses not to neigh—-the inevitable not to happen.”

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2) On Thinking, The Mind & Perspective

“Look into their minds, at what the wise do and what they don’t.”

“Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous. The object of praise remains what it was—no better and no worse.Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it???”

“If you can cut yourself—your mind—free of what other people do or say, of what you’ve said or done, of the things that you’re afraid will happen, the impositions of the body that contains you and the breath within, so the mind is freed from fate, brought to clarity, and lives life on its own recognizance—doing what’s right, accepting what happens, and speaking the truth—
—If you can cut free of impressions that cling to the mind, free of the future and the past—can make yourself ‘a sphere rejoicing in its perfect stillness’ And concentrate on living what can be lived (The present moment) —-then you can spend the time you have left in tranquility.  And in kindness. And at peace with the spirit within you.”

“If the problem is you’re not doing something you think you should be doing, why not just do it?”

“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, ‘why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?’ You’ll be embarrassed to answer.

“Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you. Only the present-and even that can be minimized. Just mark off its limits. And if your mind tries to claim that it can’t hold against that…well then heap shame upon it.”

“Comparing a man who people are mocking and a spring of clear water: —”A man standing by a spring of clear, sweet water and cursing it. While the fresh water keeps on bubbling up. He can shovel mud into it, or dung, and the stream will carry it away, wash itself clean, remain unstained. — TO HAVE THAT. NOT A CISTERN BUT A PERPETUAL SPRING. — HOW?? BY WORKING TO WIN YOUR FREEDOM. HOUR BY HOUR. THROUGH PATIENCE, HONESTY, HUMILITY.”

“The first step: Don’t be anxious. Nature controls it all. And before long you’ll be no one, nowhere—like Hadrian, like Augustus.

**The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it.  Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.”

“The mind without passions is a fortress. No place is more secure. Once we take refuge there we are safe forever. Not to see this is ignorance. To see it and not seek safety means misery.” …Be grateful for all you have.

“If this evil is not of my doing, nor the result of it, and the community is not endangered, why should it bother me?? Where is the danger for the community?”

“People try to get away from it all—to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like….By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful-more free of interruptions- than you own soul  An instants recollection and there it is: complete tranquility (think of pleasant memories). A quick visit to this mindful place will be enough to ward off all nonsense and send you back ready to fave what awaits you.”

“It’s normal to feel stress and pain as a human, as a normal human being. And if it’s normal how can it be bad?”

“To erase false perceptions, tell yourself: I have it in me to keep my soul from evil, lust and confusion. To see things as they are and treat them as they deserve. Don’t overlook this innate ability.”

“Disinterest means that intelligence should rise about the movements of the flesh. Above fame, above death, and everything like them.”

“I can control my thoughts as necessary; then how can I be troubled? What is outside my mind means nothing to it. Absorb that lesson and your feet stand firm.”

“You need to avoid certain things in your train of thought: everything random, everything irrelevant.  And certainly everything self-important or malicious. Get used to winnowing your thoughts so you aren’t ashamed of what you’re thinking.”

“The mind in itself has no needs, except for those it creates itself. Is undisturbed, except for its own disturbances. Knows no obstructions, except those from within.”

“Nothing that goes on in anyone else’s mind can harm you. Nor can the shifts and changes in the world around you. —Then where is harm to be found? —In your capacity to see it. Stop doing that and everything will be fine. Let the part of you that makes that judgment keep quiet no matter what the body attaches itself to.

“Keep in mind that when the mind detaches itself and realizes its own nature, it no longer has anything to do with ordinary life-the rough & the smooth.”

“Disturbance comes only from within—from our own perceptions.”

“Everything you see will soon alter and cease to exist. Think of how many changes you’ve already seen.”

“The world is nothing but change. Our life is only perception”

“Have you ever seen a served hand or foot, or a decapitated head, just lying somewhere far away from the body it belonged to?? —That’s what we do to ourselves—or try to—when we rebel against what happens to us, when we segregate ourselves..or when we do something selfish….You have one advantage here: you can reattach yourself.”

“Stop perceiving the pain you imagine and you’ll remain completely unaffected.”

“Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, thats when he has you in his spell.” —(Remember how little you know. You may be an expert in one subject but remain humble by remembering how little you know in other fields.—Also think about in comparison to how vast the Universe is, how little you know. Remain a life long student).

“Give yourself a gift: the present moment.”

“Alexander and Caesar and Pompey. Compared with Diogenes, Heraclitus, Socrates?? The philosophers knew the what, the why, the how. Their minds were their own. —The others?? Nothing but anxiety and enslavement.”

“People ask, have you ever seen the gods you worship? How can you be sure they exist?Answers—Just look around….I’ve never seen my soul either, and yet I revere it —I Know they exist because I’ve felt their power over and over.”

“So keep this refuge in mind: the back roads of your self. Above all, no strain and no stress. Be straightforward. Look at things like a man, like a human, like a mortal.”

“Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.”

“External things are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.”

“Don’t be disturbed. Un-complicate yourself. Something happens to you. Good.  It was meant for you by nature, woven into the pattern from the beginning.”

“Things are wrapped in such a veil of mystery that many good philosophers have found it impossible to make sense of them. Even the stoics have trouble.  Any assessment we make is subject to alteration—just as we are ourselves.”

“Keep reminding yourself of the way things are connected, of their relatedness.”

“Wash yourself clean. With simplicity, with humility, with indifference to everything but right and wrong.”

“Everywhere, at each moment, you have the option: —To accept this even with humility. —To treat this person as he should be treated. —To approach this thought with care, so that nothing irrational creeps in.”

“Blot your imagination. Turn your desire to stone. Quench your appetites. Keep your mind centered on itself.”

“Today I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions—not outside.”

“You can discard most of the junk that clutters your mind—things that exist only there—and clear out space for yourself: —By comprehending the scale of the world. —By contemplating infinite time. —By thinking of the speed with which things change—each part of everything; the narrow space between our birth and death; the infinite time before; the equally unbounded time that follows.”

“Pray for others and pray not to feel fear, or desire, or grief… —Isn’t it better to do what’s up to you?? Like a free man!  —Start praying like this and you’ll see.

—Not “some way to sleep with her” but a way to stop wanting to.

—Not “some way to get rid of him” but a way to stop trying.

—Not “some way to save my child” but a way to lose your fear.

REDIRECT your prayers like that, and watch what happens.”

“I am part of a world controlled by nature. I have a relationship with other, similar parts. And with that in mind I have no right, as a part, to complain about what is assigned me by the whole. Because what benefits the whole can’t harm the parts, and the whole does nothing that doesn’t benefit it.”

“That no one can say truthfully that you are not a straightforward or honest person. That anyone who thinks that believes a falsehood. The responsibility is all yours; no one can stop you from being honest or straightforward. Simply resolve not to go on living if you aren’t. It would be contrary to the logos.”

“So too a healthy mind should be prepared for anything. The one that keeps saying “Are my children all right?” Or “everyone must approve of me” is like eyes that can only stand pale colors, or teeth that can handle only mush.”

“Remember that what pulls the strings is within—hidden from us. In speech, in life, in the person. Don’t conceive of the rest as part of it—the skin that contains it, and the accompanying organs. Which are tools.”

“Characteristics of the rational soul: Self-perception, self-examination, and the power to make of itself whatever it wants. —It reaps its own harvest. —It reaches its intended goal, no matter where the limit of its life is set. No matter which task you pick-it has fulfilled its mission, done its work completely.  So that it can say, ‘I have what I came for.’-

—It surveys the world and the empty space around it, and the way its put together. It delves into the endlessness of time to extend its grasp and comprehension of the periodic births and rebirths the world goes through. It knows that those who come after us will see nothing different, and those who came before us saw no more than we do.—Affection for its neighbors. Truthfulness. Humility. Not to place anything above itself.”

“A branch cut away from the branch beside it is simultaneously cut away from the whole tree. So too a human being separated from another is cut loose from the whole community. —The branch is cut off by someone else. But people cut themselves off—through hatred, through rejection—and don’t realize that they’re cutting themselves off from the whole civic enterprise. —But we can reattach ourselves and become once more components of the whole. —But if the rupture is too often repeated, it makes the severed part hard to reconnect, and to restore.”

“As you move forward in the logos, people will stand in your way.  They can’t keep you from doing what’s healthy; don’t let them stop you from putting up with them either. Take care on both counts. Not just sound judgments, solid actions—tolerances as well, for those who try to obstruct us or give us trouble in other ways.—

Because anger, too, is weakness, as much as breaking down and giving up the struggle. Both are deserters: the man who breaks and runs, and the one who let himself be alienated from his fellow humans.”

“And why is it so hard when things go against you? If it’s imposed by nature, accept it gladly and stop fighting it. And if not, work out what your own nature requires, and aim at that, even if it brings you no glory.”

“Four habits of thought to watch for, and erase from your mind when you catch them. Tell yourself:

—This thought is unnecessary.

—This one is destructive to the people around you.

—This wouldn’t be what you really think.

—That the more divine part of you has been beaten and subdued by the degraded mortal part—the body and its stupid self-indulgence.”

“Because to be drawn toward what is wrong and self-indulgent, toward anger and fear and pain, is to revolt against nature. And for the mind to complain about anything that happens is to desert its post. It was created to show reverence-respect for the divine—no less than to act justly.”

“God sees all our souls freed from their fleshly containers, stripped clean of their bark, cleansed of their grime. If you learn to do the same, you can avoid a great deal of distress.”

“That it’s all about how you perceive it.”

“Throw out your misperceptions and you’ll be fine..And what’s stopping you from throwing them out??”

“That nothing belongs to anyone. Children, body, life itself—all of them come from the same source.”

“That it’s about how you choose to see things.

That the present is all we have to live in. Or to lose.”

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3) On One’s Actions & Work

“Learn to ask of all actions, “Why are they doing that?”—Starting with your own.”

“Nothing is as encouraging as when virtues are visibly embodied in the people around us, when we’re practically showered with them.”

“But true good fortune is what you make for yourself: Good fortune=good character, good intentions, and good actions.”

“Focus on what is said when you speak and on what results from each action. Know what the one aims at, and what the other means.”

“My city and state are Rome-as Antoninus.  But as a human being? The world. So for me, ‘good’ can only mean what’s good for both communities.”

“Never regard something as doing you good if it makes you betray a trust, or lose your sense of shame, or makes you show hatred, suspicion, ill will, or hypocrisy, or a desire for things best done behind closed doors. If you can privilege your own mind your guiding spirit will keep you clear of drama. You will be free of fear and desire. Concentrate on your mind to be in the right state—the state of a rational, civic mind.”

“But to get back up when you fail, to celebrate behaving like a human—however imperfectly—and fully embrace the pursuit that you’ve embarked on.”

** “All of us are working on the same project. Some consciously, with understanding; some without knowing it.” ** …—“Those who sleep are also hard at work”—Heraclitus—The project of Life—Being guided by higher power for greater good…

“So by keeping in mind the whole I form a part of, I’ll accept whatever happens.  And because of my relationship to other parts, I will do nothing selfish, but aim instead to join them, to direct my every action toward what benefits us all and to avoid what doesn’t. —If I do that then my life should go smoothly—As you might expect a citizen’s life to go—one whose actions serve his fellow citizens, and who embraces the community decree.”

“Some people, when they do someone a favor, are always looking for a chance to call it in. And some aren’t, but they’re still aware of it—still regard it as a debt. But others don’t even do that. They’re like a vine that produces grapes without looking for anything in return.

—A horse at the end of a race…

—A dog when the hunt is over…

—A bee with its honey stored…

—And a human being after helping others.

—They don’t make a fuss about it. They just go on to something else, as the vine looks forward to bearing fruit again in season.

—-We should be like that. Acting almost unconsciously. -Yes, except conscious of it.”

“But we need to eliminate unnecessary assumptions as well. To eliminate the unnecessary actions that follow.”

“To keep the gods in mind as well. What they want is not flattery, but for rational things to be like them. For figs to do what figs were meant to do—and dogs, and bees…and people.”

“No surplus words or unnecessary actions.”

“When you complain, you are hacking and destroying life.”

“Be ready to reconsider your position when someone can set you straight or convert you to their view—but it must rest on the conviction that it is right, or benefits others-nothing else. Not because its more appealing or more popular.”

“Not to live as if you had endless years ahead of you…While you’re alive and able-be good.”

“Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. But make sure you guard against the other kind of confusion. People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.”

“If you seek tranquility, do less. Or, more accurately, do what’s essential—what the logos of a social being requires. Which brings a double satisfaction: to do less, better.”

—”Because most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, “Is this necessary?””

“How much more damage anger and grief do than the things that cause them.”

“No matter what anyone says or does, my task is to be good. Like gold says my task is to be gold.”

“The things ordained for you—teach yourself to be at one with those. And the people who share them with you—treat them with love. With real love.”

“When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.”

“And how trivial the things we want so passionately are. And how much more philosophical it would be to take what we’re given and show uprightness, self-control, obedience to God, without making a production of it. There’s nothing more insufferable than people who boast about their own humility.”

“To shrug it all off and wipe it clean—every annoyance and distraction—and reach utter stillness.”

“The more we deny ourselves of bad things, or are deprived of them involuntary—the better we become.”

“Characteristics shared by god and men— — Not to let others hold you back. —To locate goodness in thinking and doing the right thing and to limit your desires to that.”

“The only thing that isn’t worthless: to live this life out truthfully and rightly. And be patient with those who don’t.”

“Revere the Gods; watch over human beings. Our lives are short. The only rewards of our existence here are an unstained character and unselfish acts.”

People find pleasure in different ways. I find it in keeping my mind clear. In not turning away from people or the things that happen to them. In accepting and welcoming everything I see. In treating each thing as it deserves.”

“Practice really hearing what people say. Do your best to get inside their minds.”

“To a being with logos, an unnatural action is one that conflicts with the logos.”

“To move from one unselfish action to another with God in mind. Only there, delight and stillness.”

“What is it in ourselves that we should prize?

—Not just transpiration (even plants do that).

—Or respiration (even beasts and wild animals breathe).

—Or being struck by passing thoughts.

—Or jerked like a puppet by your own impulses.

—Or moving in herds.

—Or eating, and reliving yourself afterwards.

—Then what is to be prized? An audience clapping? No. No more than the clacking of their tongues. Which is all that public praise amounts to-a clacking of tongues. —So we throw out other people’s recognition. What’s left for us to prize?

—** I think it’s this: to do (and not do) what we were designed for.  That’s the goal of all trades, all arts, and what each of them aims at: that thing they create should do what it was designed to do. —Hold on to that and you won’t be tempted to aim at anything else. And if you can’t stop prizing other things you’ll never be free—you’ll be jealous…People who need those things are bound to be a mess.”

Take Antoninus as your model, always. His energy in doing what was rational…his steadiness in any situation..his sense of reverence…his calm expression…his gentleness…his modesty…his eagerness to grasp things. And how he never let things go before he was sure he had examined them thoroughly, understood them perfectly…The way he put up with unfair criticism, without returning it…how he couldn’t be hurried…how he wouldn’t listen to informers..how reliable he was as a judge of character, and of actions…not prone to backbiting, or cowardice, or jealousy, or empty rhetoric…content with the basics-in living quarters, bedding, clothes, food..how hard he worked..his ability to work straight through the dusk-because of his simple diet…his constancy and reliability as a friend…his tolerance of people who openly questioned his views and his delight at seeing his ideas improved upon….So that when your time comes, your conscience will be as clear as his.”

“Nothing has meaning to my mind except its own actions. Which are within its own control. And it’s only the immediate ones that matter. Its past and future actions too are meaningless.”

“Treat what you don’t have as nonexistent. Look at what you have, the things you value most, and think of how much you’d crave them if you didn’t have them. But be careful. Don’t feel such satisfaction that you start to overvalue them—that it would upset you to lose them.”

“You are much mistaken, my friend, if you think that any man worth his salt cares about the risk of death and doesn’t concentrate on this alone: whether what he’s doing is right or wrong, and his behavior a good man’s or a bad one’s.”

“Avoid rashness and credulity.”

“What matters is what kind of soul he had. —Not being a slave to other peoples’ ignorance, not losing temper unpredictably..treating men with justice and the gods with reverence.”

“Place your own well being in your own hands. It’s quite possible to be a good man without anyone realizing it. Remember that.”

“And you don’t need much to live happily. Don’t give up on attaining freedom, achieving humility, serving others, obeying God.”

“Perfection of character: to live your last day, every day, without frenzy, sloth, or pretense.”

“So you know how things stand. Now forget what they think of you. Be satisfied if you can live the rest of your life as nature demands. Focus on that and don’t let anything distract you.. 

..You’ve wandered and realized you never found what you were after: How to live. —Which is found in doing what human nature requires. —Through first principles. Which should govern your intentions and your actions. —What principles? —Those to do with good and evil. That nothing is good except what leads to fairness, and self-control, and courage and free will. And nothing bad except what does the opposite.”

—**The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it.  Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.”

“Nature thrives on forward progress. And progress for the rational mind means not accepting falsehood or uncertainty in its perceptions, making unselfish actions its only aim, seeking and shunning only the things it has control over, embracing what nature demands of it.—As the leaf does in the tree.”

“Time for controlling your arrogance-yes. For overcoming pain and pleasure-yes.  For outgrowing ambition-yes. For not feeling anger at stupid and unpleasant people—even for caring about them,—for that, yes.”

“Blame no one. Set people straight, if you can. If not, just repair the damage.  And suppose you can’t do that either. Then where does blaming people get you??” 

No pointless actions..

“Everything is here for a purpose. And why were you born? For pleasure? See if that answer will stand up to questioning.”

“Joy for humans lies in human actions. —Human actions: kindness to others, contempt for the senses, the interrogation of appearances, observation of nature and events in nature.’’

“You have to assemble your life yourself—action by action.”

“No carelessness in your actions. No confusion in your words. No imprecision in your thoughts. No retreating into your own soul, or trying to escape it. No overactivity.”

“To lie is to blaspheme against the logos. Liars commit deceits which is injustice.”

“Do not pursue pleasure as good and flee from pain as if it is evil—that is blasphemous.”

“To privilege pleasure over pain, life over death, fame over anonymity—is clearly blasphemous.  NATURE doesn’t do those things.”

“Real luck would be to abandon life without ever encountering dishonesty, or hypocrisy, or self-indulgence, or pride. But the “next best voyage” is to die when you’ve had enough. Or are you determined to lie down with evil? Hasn’t experience even taught you that—to avoid it like the plague??

—Because it is a plague—a mental cancer—worse than anything causes by tainted air or an unhealthy climate. Diseases like that can only threaten your life; this one attacks your humanity.”

“To do harm is to do yourself harm. To do an injustice is to do yourself an injustice—it degrades you.”

“Objective judgment, now, at this very moment. —Unselfish action, now, at this very moment. —Willing acceptance-now, at this very moment-of all external events. —That’s all you need.”

“Work: Not to rouse pity, not to win sympathy or admiration. Only this—activity, stillness, as the logos of the state requires.”

“The design of the world is like a flood, sweeping all before it. The foolishness of them—little men busy with affairs of state, with philosophy—or what they think of as philosophy. Nothing but phlegm and mucus.

—Well then what?

—Do what nature demands. Get a move on—if you have it in you—and don’t worry whether anyone will give you credit for it.

—Be satisfied with even the smallest progress, and treat the outcome of it all as unimportant.”

“Indifference to external events. And a commitment to justice in your own acts.  Which means: thought and action resulting in the common good. What you were born to do.”

“Even in illness go on living your life the way it should be lived.. don’t discuss all your sicknesses and stuff..keep talking about philosophy and things you enjoy talking about.”

“Isn’t it enough that you’ve done what your nature demands? You want a salary too? As if your eyes expected a reward for seeing, or your feet for walking.  That’s what they were made for. By doing what they were designed to do, they’re performing their function. Whereas humans were made to help others.  And when we do help others—or help them to do something—we’re doing what we were designed for.  We perform our function.”

“Your actions and perceptions need to aim:

—At accomplishing practical ends.

—At the exercise of thought.

—At maintaining a confidence found on understanding. An unobtrusive confidence—hidden in plain sight.”

To follow the logos in all things is to be relaxed and energetic, joyful and serious at once.”

“To stop talking about what the good man is like, and just be one.”

“To feel grief or anger or fear is to become a fugitive—a fugitive from justice.”

“Too many things obstruct the irrational soul and get in their way.  But intellect and logos are able to make their way through anything in their path—by inborn capacity or sheer force of will.”

“Keep before your eyes the ease with which they do this—the ease with which the logos is carried through all things.

—All other obstacles either affect the lifeless body, or have no power to shake or harm anything unless misperception takes over or the logos surrenders voluntarily.”

“If it’s not right, don’t do it. If it’s not true, don’t say it. Let your intention be pure.”

“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.”

“It’s all in how you perceive it. You’re in control. You can dispense with misperception at will, like rounding the point. Serenity, total calm, safe anchorage.”

“To live a good life:

—We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference. This is how we learn: by looking at each thing, both the parts and the whole. Keeping in mind that none of them can dictate how we perceive it. They don’t impose themselves on us.—It is we who generate the judgments—inscribing them on ourselves—And we don’t have to. We could leave the page blank—and if a mark slips through, erase it instantly.”

And along with not getting angry at others, try not to pander either. Both are forms of selfishness; both of them will do you harm. When you start to lose your temper, remember: 

There’s nothing manly about rage.

—It’s courtesy and kindness that define a human being—and a man. That’s who possesses strength and nerves and guts, not the angry whiners. Pain is the opposite of strength and so is anger.

“If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live it in a consistent way.—Unhelpful unless you specify a goal.”

“If you direct your energies toward a common goal for all of mankind, your actions will be consistent, and so will you.”

“At festivals the Spartans put their guests’ seats in the shade, but sat themselves down anywhere. (Treat your guests better than you treat yourself)”

“This advice from Epicurean writings: to think continually of one of the men of old who lived a virtuous life.” (Look toward role models)

“Mastery of reading and writing requires a master. Still more so life.”

“We need to master the art of acquiescence. We need to pay attention to our impulses, making sure they don’t go unmoderated, that they benefit others, that they’re worthy of us. We need to steer clear of desire in any form and not try to avoid what’s beyond our control.”

”Socrates: What do you want, rational minds or irrational ones?

-Rational ones.

-Healthy of sick?

-Health

-Then work to obtain them.

-We already have.

—Then why all this squabbling?”

“Don’t let anything deter you: other people’s misbehavior, your own misperceptions, what people will say, or the feelings of the body that covers you…if it isn’t ceasing to live that you’re afraid of but never beginning to live properly…then you’ll be worthy of the world that made you. —No longer an alien in your own land.

—No longer shocked by everyday events—as if they were unheard-of aberrations. —No longer at the mercy of this, or that.”

“Practice even what seems impossible. The left hand is useless at almost everything, for lack of practice. But it guides the reins better than the right. From practice.”

marcus-aurelius-quote-fridge-magnet-2_large

4) On Death & The Shortness of Life

“Leave it up to the Gods and turn your attention to how you can best live the life before you.”

“You accept the limits placed on your body (height, weight, etc) Accept those placed on your time.”

“If it doesn’t hurt the individual elements to change continually into one another, why are people afraid of all of them changing and separating? It’s a natural thing. And nothing natural is evil.”

“Don’t complain. Doing what’s right takes patience. Think about the number of people who have feuded and envied and hated and fourth and died and been buried.”

“Treat everything around you as a dream.”

“And what dying is—and that if you look at it in the abstract and break down your imaginary ideas of it by logical analysis, you realize that it’s nothing but a process of nature, which only children can be afraid of. (And not only a process of nature but a necessary one.) And how man grasps God.”

“Then what can guide us?? Only philosophy. Which means making sure that the power within stays safe and free from assault, superior to please and pain, doing nothing randomly or dishonestly and with imposture, not dependent on anyone else’s doing something or not doing it. And making sure that it accepts what happens and what it is dealt as coming from the same place it came from. And above all, that it accepts death in a cheerful spirit.”

“You have functioned as a part of something; you will vanish into what produced you. Or be restored, rather. To the reason(logos) from which all things spring. By being changed.”

People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”

“But suppose that those who remembered you were immortal and your memory undying. What good would it do you?? And I don’t mean when you’re dead, but in your own lifetime. What use is praise, except to make your lifestyle a little more comfortable?”

“In the age of Vespasian for example — People doing the exact same things: marrying, raising children, getting sick, dying, waging war, throwing parties, doing business, farming, flattering, boasting, distrusting, plotting, hoping others will die, complaining about their own lives, falling in love, putting away money, seeking high office and power……and that life they led is nowhere to be found…The exact same thing happened in the age of Trajan..And that too, gone..

Then what should we work for??

—Only this: proper understanding; unselfish action; truthful speech.  A resolve to accept whatever happens as necessary and familiar, flowing like water from that same source and spring.”

“Suppose that a god announced that you were going to die tomorrow or the day after. Unless you were a complete coward you wouldn’t kick up a fuss about which day it was—what difference could it make?? Now recognize that the difference between years from now and tomorrow is just as small.”

“Human lives and brief and trivial. Pass through this life as nature demands. To give it up without complaint.”

“Everything is interwoven, and the web is holy; none of its parts are unconnected. They are composed harmoniously, and together they compose the world.”

 “Our lifetime is so brief. And to live it out in these circumstances, among these people, in this body? Nothing to get excited about. Consider the abyss of time past, the infinite future. Three days of life or three generations: whats the difference?”

“Surrounded by all of this, we need to practice acceptance. Without disdain. But remembering that our own worth is measured by what we devote our energy to.”

“As a doctor prescribes patients thing, nature has prescribed us all with different physicality’s and injuries….What happens to each of us is ordered. It furthers our destiny. Accept what nature prescribes. Embrace it.”

“Nature creates things with the overall idea that it will be beneficial to the WHOLE. It was prescribed for you, and it pertains to you. The thread was spun long ago, by the oldest cause of all.”

“The foolishness of people who are surprised by anything that happens. Like travelers amazed at foreign customs.”

“I am made up of substance and what animates it, and neither one can ever stop existing, and more than it began to. Every portion of me will be reassigned as another portion of the world, and that in turn transformed into another. Ad infinitum.”

“Keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone—those that are now and those to come. Existence flows past us like a river. The infinity of past and future gapes before us—a chasm whose depth we cannot see.”

“Remember:  

-Matter-how tiny you share of it.

-Time-how brief and fleeting your allotment of it.

-Fate-How small a role you play in it.”

“Soon you’ll be ashes, or bones. A mere name, at most—and even that is just a sound, an echo. The things we want in life are empty, stale, and trivial.”

“Until your time comes, honor and revere the gods, treat human beings as they deserve, be tolerant with others and strict with yourself. Remember, nothing belongs to you but your flesh and blood and nothing else in under your control.”

“Death. The end of sense-perception, of being controlled by our emotions, of mental activity, of enslavement to our bodies.”

“So many who were remembered already forgotten, and those who remember them long gone.”

“For every action, ask: How does it affect me? Could I change my mind about it? —But soon I’ll be dead, and the slate’s empty. So this is the only question: Is it the action of a responsible being, part of society, and subject to the same decrees as God?”

“That everything has to submit. But only rational beings can do so voluntarily.”

“At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.”

“Nature is like someone throwing a ball in the air, gauging its rise and arc-and where it will fall. And what does the ball gain as it flies upward? Or lose when it plummets to earth? What does the bubble gain from its existence? Or lose by bursting? And the same for a candle.

—They all die soon—praiser and praised, remember and remembered.  Remembered in these parts or in a corner of them. Even there they don’t all agree with each other (or even with themselves). And the whole earth a mere point in space.”

“Fear of death is fear of what we may experience. Nothing at all, or something quite new. But if we experience nothing, we can experience nothing bad. And if our experience changes, then our existence will change with it—change, but not cease.”

Don’t look down on death, but welcome it. It too is one of the things required by nature. Like youth and old age. Like growth and maturity. Like a new set of teeth, a beard, the first gray hair. Like sex and pregnancy and childbirth. Like all the other physical changes at each stage of life, our dissolution is no different.”

“So this is how a thoughtful person should await death: not with indifference, not with impatience, not with disdain, but simply viewing it as one of the things that happens to us. Now you anticipate the child’s emergence from its mother’s womb; that’s how you should await the hour when your soul will emerge from its compartment.”

“Keep in mind that everything you believe is meaningless to those you leave behind.—The only thing that could make us want to stay here: the chance to live with those who share our vision.  

—But look how tiring it is—the cacophony we live in. Enough to make you say to death, ‘come quickly. Before I start to forget myself, like them.”

“Think about your life: childhood, boyhood, youth, old age.  Every transformation a kind of dying. Was that so terrible?”

“The earth will cover us all, and then be transformed in turn, and that too will change, ad infinitum. And that as well, ad infinitum.”

——“Think about them: the waves of change and alteration, endlessly breaking. And see our brief mortality for what it is.”

“Consider the lives led once by others, long ago, the lives led by others after you, the lives led even now, in foreign lands. How many people don’t even know your name. How many will soon have forgotten it. How many offer you praise now—and tomorrow, perhaps, contempt. —That to be remembered is worthless. Like fame. Like everything.”

“All that you see will soon have vanished, and those who see it vanish will vanish themselves, and the ones who reached old age have no advantage over the untimely dead.”

“To decompose is to be recomposed.—That’s what nature does, endlessly..”

“To my soul: 

-Are you every going to achieve goodness? Wholeness. Ever be fulfilled, ever stop desiring-lusting and longing for people and things to enjoy? Or for more time to enjoy them? Or for some other place or country—a more temperate clime? Or for people easier to get along with?  

—And instead be satisfied with what you have, and accept the present—all of it.  And convince yourself that everything is the gift of the gods, that things are good and always will be, whatever they decide and have in store for the preservation of that perfect entity—good and just and beautiful, creating all things, connecting and embracing them, and gathering in their separated fragments to create more like them.

Blaming no one.”

“He has stripped away his body and—realizing that at some point soon he will have to abandon mankind and leave all this behind—has dedicated himself to serving justice in all he does, and nature in all that happens.  

What people say or think about him, or how they treat him, isn’t something he worries about.  Only these two questions: Is what he’s doing now the right thing to be doing? Does he accept and welcome what he’s been assigned?  

He has stripped away all other occupations, all other tasks. He wants only to travel a straight path, to God.”

“Nature gives and nature takes away. Anyone with sense and humility will tell her, ‘give and take as you please,’ not out of defiance, but out of obedience and goodwill.”

“Continual awareness of all time and space, of the size and life span of the things around us. A grape seed in infinite space.”

“Everything was born to die.”

“When you lose your temper or even feel irritated-remember that human life is very short.”

“Where are all those people now?

—Nowhere…or wherever.

That way you’ll see human life for what it is. Smoke. Nothing. Especially when you recall that once things alter they cease to exist through all the endless years to come.

—Then why such turmoil?? To live your brief life rightly, isn’t that enough?”

“The raw material you’re missing, the opportunities…What is any of this but training—training for your logos, in life observed accurately, scientifically.

—So keep at it, until it’s fully digested—As a blazing fire takes whatever you throw on it, and makes it light and flame.”

“Remember how brief is the attentiveness required. And then our lives will end.”

Amor Fati

“Leaves that the wind drives earthward; such are the generations of men. -Your children, leaves. Leaves applauding loyally and heaping praise upon you, or turning around and calling down curses, sneering and mocking from a safe distance.

A glorious reputation handed down by leaves. All of these ‘spring up in springtime’ and the wind blows them all away. And the tree puts forth others to replace them.  

None of us have much time. And yet you act as if things were eternal—the way you fear and long for them.”

“But intelligence is uniquely drawn toward what is akin to it, and joins with it inseparably, in shared awareness.”

“What is it you want? To keep on breathing? What about your feelings? Desiring? Growing? Ceasing to grow?  Using your voice? Thinking? Which of them seems worth having?

—But if you can do without them all, then continue to follow the logos and God. To the end. To prize those other things—to grieve because death deprives us of them—is an obstacle.”

“The fraction of infinity, of that vast abyss of time, allotted to each of us.  Absorbed in an instant into eternity. —The fraction of all substance, and all spirit. —The fraction of the whole earth you crawl about on. —Keep all that in mind, and don’t treat anything as important except doing what your nature demands, and accepting what nature send you.”

“How the mind conducts itself. It all depends on that. All the rest is within its power, or beyond its control—corpses and smoke.”

“And to be sent away from it (life) not by a tyrant or a dishonest judge, but by Nature, who first invited you in—why is that so terrible?”

“Like the impresario ringing down the curtain on an actor: “But I’ve only gotten through three acts…!” Yes. This will be a drama in three acts, the length fixed by the power that directed your creation, and now directs your dissolution. Neither was yours to determine. So make your exit with grace—the same grace shown to you.”

Interesting Side Note: To avoid the public schools: Roman Aristocrats normally preferred to have their sons educated by private tutors who were considered more reliable than the professional schoolmasters who taught all comers for a fee.

^^I still find this to be a smart thing to do in today’s society. Public schools spend more time managing students than teaching them…To find a solution for the issues in the education system…Anyone have solutions?

04 be content with what you are ma

5) 19 Best Quotes from Meditations

“The despicable phoniness of people who say, ‘listen, I’m going to level with you here.’ What does that mean?? It shouldn’t even need to be said. It should be obvious—written in block letters on your forehead.  It should be audible in your voice, visible in your eyes, like a lover who looks into your face, and takes in the whole story at a glance.  A straightforward honest person should be like someone who stinks: when you’re in the same room with him, you know it.  But false straightforwardness is like a knife in the back. False friendship is the worst.  Avoid it at all costs. If you’re honest and straightforward and mean well, it should show in your eyes. It should be unmistakable.”

“I can control my thoughts as necessary; then how can I be troubled?  What is outside my mind means nothing to it. Absorb that lesson and your feet stand firm.”

“My city and state are Rome-as Antoninus. But as a human being? The world. So for me, ‘good’ can only mean what’s good for both communities.”

“To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony.”

“Have you ever seen a served hand or foot, or a decapitated head, just lying somewhere far away from the body it belonged to?? —That’s what we do to ourselves—or try to—when we rebel against what happens to us, when we segregate ourselves..or when we do something selfish. You have one advantage here: you can reattach yourself.”

“The mind in itself has no needs, except for those it creates itself. Is undisturbed, except for its own disturbances. Knows no obstructions, except those from within.”

“If the problem is you’re not doing something you think you should be doing, why not just do it?”

“Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous. The object of praise remains what it was—no better and no worse.—Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it?”

“Do not pursue pleasure as good and flee from pain as if it is evil—that is blasphemous. To privilege pleasure over pain, life over death, fame over anonymity—is clearly blasphemous. NATURE doesn’t do those things.”

“Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, thats when he has you in his spell.”

“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?” (Think about your 9-5 job—if you hate it, why do you fear death? Because you want to continue working at a job you hate? Want to keep living an unhappy life?…)

“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, ‘why is this so unbearable?  Why can’t I endure it?’  You’ll be embarrassed to answer.”

“Keep in mind that when the mind detaches itself and realizes its own nature, it no longer has anything to do with ordinary life-the rough & the smooth.”

“Leaves that the wind drives earthward; such are the generations of men. —Your children, leaves. Leaves applauding loyally and heaping praise upon you, or turning around and calling down curses, sneering and mocking from a safe distance. A glorious reputation handed down by leaves. All of these ‘spring up in springtime’ and the wind blows them all away. And the tree puts forth others to replace them.  None of us have much time. And yet you act as if things were eternal—the way you fear and long for them.”

That kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere—not ironic or an act. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight—if you get the chance—correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do you harm…

‘No, no my friend. That isn’t what were here for. It isn’t me who’s harmed by that.  It’s you.’ And show him gently without pointing fingers that it’s so.”

“If you don’t have a consistent goal in life, you can’t live it in a consistent way.—Unhelpful unless you specify a goal.”

“If you direct your energies toward a common goal for all of mankind, your actions will be consistent, and so will you.”

“Things are wrapped in such a veil of mystery that many good philosophers have found it impossible to make sense of them. Even the stoics have trouble.  Any assessment we make is subject to alteration—just as we are ourselves.”

“People ask, have you ever seen the gods you worship?  How can you be sure they exist?Answers——Just look around….I’ve never seen my soul either, and yet I revere it—I Know they exist because I’ve felt their power over and over.”

You can buy the book for $4.00 from Amazon here if you would like! Please share if you think this summary can impact others to live their best life!

What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about Money?

What would you really do?

How would you spend your days?

(Download 7 Methods the Happiest & Most Successful People Use to Live their Dreams at Bottom of Page)

Cancun

Took this picture as I enjoyed my time in Cancun Mexico

This might be the most important question you ask yourself on your journey toward happiness.

I’ve read that between 70-90% of all people are going to a job they hate. Are you part of that large percentage?

So think about it. Continue dwelling on those questions until you come up with what you really want to do. It may take days, weeks, months or even years to find out what you really want to do, so be patient-or be impatient and settle for a job you hate.

Don’t disregard your first instinct. If it is something such as acting, writing, traveling the world, being a professional athlete, teaching, painting then that is wonderful. It can be anything! Too many people look past their true dreams because society has driven this limited view into us. We have been told that our dreams are not actually possible by authority, then we don’t question them, so we settle.

Dream Picture

For years I have asked myself this question, and one of my instinctual thoughts has always been “acting.” I didn’t know how it would happen, but I knew that it is something I would like to do. As I’ve continued to dwell on what I want, acting opportunities began to arise. I’ve been in multiple movies, TV shows and commercials, have met many famous people on sets and I am currently working as an Acting Teacher.

CoachT

I continue to listen to life and adapt as well, as our passions can change throughout the years. I have been blogging for a few years, and a few months ago I got an opportunity to become an intern for the best-selling author, Ryan Holiday. I have published posts for one his websites, done research, editing, but most importantly (after having faith) I put in a lot of focused hours into the work! Your dream is possible.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” MLK Jr.

I never knew how it would all happen, and it is still happening, but I had faith that it would happen.

You don’t need to know HOW it will happen!

You just need to know what it is you actually want, and then believe it is possible. I found out some of the powers of the mind and the power of life at some point in college, and I have been trusting it ever since. Instinct…

Intuition: Life is talking to you. Are you listening?

If you aren’t sure how to listen to your intuition, no need to worry, intuition can be practiced and improved upon.

Coach T Books

Books!!!!

Some ways to improve intuition:

•Meditation: “Think Less to Live More

•Spend time in nature. Shut off your mind & observe the beauties of life.

•Read books and other content on developing intuition. 

Developing & listening to intuition has been one of the characteristics that has helped many of the happiest & most successful people live out their dreams.

For more techniques on how people are living their dreams you can grab a free copy of  7 Methods the Happiest & Most Successful People Use to Live Out Their Dream Life. You can get it sent to your email by clicking here!