Meditations Updated: Book 4
Surprise! Book 4 continues the key themes: like nature, you should be true to yourself to obtain inner peace, and not worry what others think. Because we control our reactions to everything we can obtain inner peace no matter what is or has happened to us. Realize the randomness of life and the inconsequential reality of humanity in the universe and it’ll put daily aggravations into perspective. Life and death are beyond our control so why worry about it, just make the most of whatever your given.
1. Nature constantly demonstrates its power of adaptation like a wild fire that can adapt and consume everything in its path.
2. Don’t act without purpose or outside of your guiding principles.
3. A country holiday home might sound like a peaceful retreat, but that peace is nothing compared to inner peace and tranquility. If your principles are clear and concise and you reflect on them you will achieve that inner peace you desire. What are you upset about? The evil you see in the world? Men will always do wrong to each other. Think you are unlucky? You were given less than others? Realize your life is a random event & how lucky you are to even exist. Do you wish for fame? Realize how fickle and empty that recognition is, and that it is all beyond your control. Remember this: you control yourself and how you react to world. You chose that, regardless of what occurs around you. The universe is in a constant state of transformation: life is opinion.
4. If intellect and reason are something we all share, and reason tells us what to do and what not to do, this is what we all share.
5. Death is a mystery of nature. It is a natural process we should not fear.
6. It’s natural that each of us are here do certain things. We must respect that as life can be short and could end at any time.
7. By removing your opinion, you remove the ability to complain, which in turn removes the ability to be harmed.
8. If an event doesn’t harm your inner character, then it doesn’t make your life worse, and hence the event causes you no harm
9. Any thing that is universally useful has been compelled to follow its true nature.
10. Everything that happens, happens for a reason, and makes sense, both in its sequence and its outcome.
10. Follow the natural order: be true to your nature in everything you do.
11. Don’t adopt the opinions of others, seek out the truth.
12. Follow this rule: do what reason suggests is right. Only change your opinion if someone can show the error of your way, with conviction about what is in the best interests of all. Don’t change your opinion merely because another’s argument sounds good, or enhances your reputation.
13. If you have the ability to reason, why wouldn’t you use it? As reason works, what else could you ask for?
14. You are just a blip in the universe. Just as you came into the universe, you’ll vanish in an instant.
15. Many snowflakes fall on the one spot, one after the other, the order makes no difference.
16. In only 10 days, if you follow your principles & reason, others will see you as a god instead of an ape.
17. Don’t act like you’re going to live for 10,000 years. Death hangs over you. While you’re alive, be good!
18. Avoid a ton of trouble by not worrying what others say, think, or do. Be true to yourself: run straight down that line.
19. Don’t wish to be remembered: realize all who remember you & their successors will also die. Any memory of you will soon fade.
19. Even if those who remember you, and their memory of you, was immortal, what difference does would that make to the living? Praise has limited use, and focusing on that ignores the gift of life.
20. Everything that is beautiful is beautiful in itself and praise makes no difference. Truly beautiful things don’t need anything else. Take anything; a knife, a color, a flower. They are all they need to be. Praise can’t make things beautiful, and blame can’t spoil beautiful things.
21. How does the air contain souls & the earth contain bodies? Souls go into the air after the bodies decompose. Souls diffuse in the air making room for more souls in the air and more bodies in the earth. Marvel at how many animals humans & other animals eat, & how those animals are then buried in the bodies of those who eat them. Somehow the earth has the capacity to absorb all bodies and souls whether they are turned into fire or air. How do we get to the truth? By unpacking the topic into the material, and the cause.
22. Don’t let your mind be blown by the complexity, always strive to maintain your comprehension and understanding.
23. Ode to the Universe: everything harmonizes with it, nothing come too early or too late.
23. Ode to Nature: Every season brings your fruit. All things come from you, you are in all things, & all things return to you.
24. Focus on fewer things to be at peace. Greater tranquility comes from doing a few things well and doing what our nature demands. Most of what we say and do is unnecessary, so removing these creates more free time and reduces stress. Before you act, ask yourself, is this necessary? Removing unnecessary thoughts cuts out subsequent unnecessary acts.
25. Imagine how the life of a good man will suit you: satisfied with what you have, your own acts, and a good attitude.
26. Don’t bother with all those things, focus on simplicity. Anyone who does wrong does it to himself. Everything that happens to you is just your share of what the Universe hands out. Your life is short. Make the present worthwhile with the help of reason and justice. Be calm.
27. Whether well-ordered or total chaos, the Universe is what it is. You can have order within you even if surrounded by chaos.
28. Poor characteristics for a man: feeble, stubborn, childish, animal, stupid, fake, scurrilous, fraudulent, or tyrannical.
29. A stranger to the Universe is one who doesn’t know what is in it, or what’s going on in it. He who runs away from reason, is blind to understanding, poor, in need of others and missing inside what is useful for life. He who separates himself from reason and is unhappy with what happens to him, has separated his soul from rational beings.
30. A philosopher with no shirt and a man with no book are half-naked. To have no bread, but abide by reason is to be half-naked. I do not earn a living out of my learning but I abide by my reason.
31. Love what you’ve learned to do, regardless of what it is, and be content with it, and commit your entire soul to it. Commit your entire soul to what you’ve learned to do to avoid being a tyrant or a slave to any other man.
32. Humans do the same things over time: birth, death, marriage, fighting, eating, and whining. Time comes and goes: people fade away. People distract themselves with idle things, rather than following their true path and being content with it. Apply a proportional amount of attention to everything based on its value. If you don’t sweat the small stuff, you won’t be dissatisfied.
33. Familiarity fades with time and things vanish into oblivion. Familiarity shines above all other things: The rest vanish instantly. Eternal remembrance is a mere nothing. Be true in your thoughts, acts and words, accept all that happens as a part of the natural order.
34. Give into fate and let it do what it wants to you.
35. Everything is only for one day, both that which remembers and that which is remembered.
36. Realize that things only happen through change. The universe both changes what exists and creates new things. Everything that exists are the seeds of what will be (Get your mind out of the gutter, we’re talking plant seeds — not semen).
37. You’ll die soon, and you aren’t yet free from worry, or realizing that acting justly is the one true wisdom.
38. Examine the ruling principles others live by, even the wise, understand what they avoid and what they pursue.
39. What you think is evil doesn’t actually exist: it’s merely your opinion. Don’t waste time on judging good and bad.
39. What happens to others is not due to the way they live, or the laws of nature. It just is.
40. Think of the universe as one living thing where all things interact and exist as part of a never-ending story.
41. You are but a soul holding up a corpse.
42. There is nothing evil about things changing, and nothing special about things that exist as a result of change.
43. Time is like a river: as soon as you see something it is carried away, replaced by something else, which is also carried away.
44. Everything that happens is well known, whether death, disease, treachery or whatever else fools worry about.
45. The rational order of things and beauty of nature at work: what happens next is not random, it is matched to what came before.
46. Earth dies and becomes water, water becomes air, air becomes fire, fire becomes air. Why resist this natural order?
47. Why worry if you die tomorrow, the day after, or in many years, these are all equally short in the infinite span of time.
48. Think how many have died: physicians, astrologers, philosophers, heroes, tyrants, even whole cities. One man buries another, and then another buries him. Humans are ephemeral. Like a ripe olive falling from a tree, blessing nature and the tree that grew it: Enjoy your time and end your journey content.
49. Stand like a rock against the breaking waves, firm and taming the fury of the water around you. I am never unhappy because this happened to me. Rather, I am happy, despite this event. I am free from pain, neither crushed by the present, nor fearing the future. This could have happened to any man, but not every man would continue free from pain. No event will prevent you from keeping your character. So consider every event to be good fortune.
50. To help with fear of death, consider those that have clung to life. What did they gain over those that died young? The interval between birth and death is small in the grand scheme, and often passed with a lot of hard work and trouble. In the infinity of time what is the difference between living for three days vs. three generations?
51. Take the direct route, that conforms with sound reason. That will free you from trouble, war, artifice and pretense.