I recently read Meditations* by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher. I expected to learn about Stoicism but found many minimalist ideas in the book I just had to share. Though he wrote it around 161 - 180 AD, his principles were surprisingly fitting to modern life. I suppose this shows that even with the rise of technology in our current age, a minimalist way of life remains timeless and one that people of all times should strive for.
Marcus minimalism might be most applicable to those with a collectivist outlook but here are some of my favourite bits from the book that I would like to share. Also, I did some research to see if anyone else in the world saw the minimalist in Marcus Aurelius like I did. Thankfully I am not the first.
More Quotes from “Meditations”
“Concentrate every minute like a Roman - like a man - on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can - if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centred, irritable. You see how few things you have to do to live a satisfying and reverent life? If you can manage this, that’s all even the gods can ask of you.”
“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 “what” is in constant flux, the “why” has a thousand variations. Nothing is stable, not even what’s right here. The infinity of past and future gapes before us - a chasm whose depths we cannot see.
So it would take an idiot to feel self-importance or distress. Or any indignation either. As if the things that irritate us lasted.”
“Look at who they really are, the people whose approval you long for, and what their minds are really like. Then you won’t blame the ones who make mistakes they can’t help, and you won’t feel a need for their approval. You will have seen the sources of both - their judgements and their actions”.
“It is the pursuit of these things, and your attempts to avoid them that lead you in such turmoil. And yet they aren’t seeking you out, you are the one seeking them.
Suspend judgement about them. And at once they will lie still and you will be freed from fleeing and pursuing”
I love how this quotes remind me to FOCUS on what I have to do to bypass all the things and people who get in the way, waste our time and energy to getting our goals.
More Links To Post Related to Marcus Aurelius, Minimalist King
Miss Minimalist “Ancient Minimalism Wisdom”
Everyday Minimalist “Quote of the Month”
Minimalist Lifestyle “The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make”
Annienygma “What Would Marcus Do?”
* Gregory Hays Translation