Meditations is special book.

Never intended for publication, meditations are the inner thoughts of one of the most inspiring characters in history, Marcus Aurelius.

Marcus Aurelius held the most prominent and powerful position of his time, Emperor of the Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius was known as the last of the five good emperors of Rome.

The man behind the book

Among many stories which testify to Marcus’ character the story of the Antonine plague.

At the time, you would not have blamed Marcus for fleeing a city captured by a plague and this is exactly what he was advised to do. Marcus ignored this advice and chose to stay, knowing his responsibilities were more important than his own wellbeing.

While remaining in Rome, he did not hide away, instead he chose to be an example to others by attending the funerals of those who had lost their lives to the plague, making public appearances to his people, and providing solace. And when confronted with the issue of a potential economic crisis, Marcus took drastic measures. He began by forgiving longstanding debt owed to Rome and went further and started fundraising for the empire through the sale of his personal belongings.

Not just furnishings or glassware but even his wife’s dresses and jewels.

The heartbreaking element to this story is as Marcus stood tall, gave everything to his people and championed the spirit of stoicism, he lost several of his own children.

Lessons from meditations

There are countless lessons within the book, and having read it twice now, I have been reminded of and learned many things both times, it is a book I am probably going to read many times over.

Personally, the core message I took from the book was everything outside of the space of your own actions and thoughts cannot be controlled and it is therefore a waste of our time to obsess about the thoughts, opinions and actions of others.

There are many great quotes in the book, my favourite of which is:

“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”

If you are interested in getting to know the most intimate thoughts of one of the most influential individuals in human history, pick up a copy.

Click here to order the version I read.