Meditations is a series of personal writings by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, in which he reflects on Stoic philosophy and its practical application to his own life. The book is divided into 12 “books”, each containing a series of short chapters in which Marcus contemplates a different topic, such as death, virtue, and the nature of the universe.
One of the standout features of Meditations is its timelessness. Despite being written over 1,800 years ago, Marcus’s thoughts and insights feel just as relevant today as they would have in ancient Rome. His writing is clear, concise, and deeply introspective, making it easy for readers to relate to and learn from his experiences.
I originally bought a copy of Meditations way back in 2012. At the time I posted a quote on social media and my friends thought I was posting something religious. Years later and the writings are very popular, especially on Twitter. I don’t consider myself a “Stoic” but lets explore what that means.
A strength of the book is its emphasis on Stoic philosophy. Marcus was a devout follower of Stoicism, a philosophy that teaches the importance of living in accordance with reason and virtue. Throughout the book, he stresses the need to focus on what is within our control and to let go of those things that are beyond our control. This message is particularly applicable in today’s fast-paced and often stressful world, and serves as a reminder to stay grounded and focused on what is truly important.
In modern life this is basically a critical skill. We tend to worry about the most meaningless things while neglecting the most important (our health, family, friends and living our lives in the best way possible). The advent of the internet has overpowered our senses often making it challenging to be clear on what is important. Meditations certainly isnt written to address modern life but its readings can be interpreted and used to focus.
Overall, I highly recommend Meditations to anyone looking for a thought-provoking and deeply personal read. Whether you are familiar with Stoicism or not, Marcus’s writing is sure to leave a lasting impression and maybe help reset your thinking.