Echoing in Eternity | 89 Marcus Aurelius Quotes
Why are the words of a Roman emperor important today? Although the information about his life and rule is patchy and often unreliable, Emperor Marcus Aurelius was also a Stoic philosopher and he acquired the reputation of a philosopher king within his lifetime, a title that would remain after his death. Having embraced Stoic philosophy – which is about self-restraint, duty, and respect for others – he led a temperate life, and was called “more philanthropic and philosophic” than his famous predecessors, Hadrian and Antoninus. Last but not least, his book ‘Meditations‘ is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty, and has been considered by many commentators to be one of the greatest works of philosophy.
Whether they concern leadership or love, the words of this historical figure still echo today. This curated collection of quotes by Marcus Aurelius and can inspire a much-needed philosophical approach to life nowadays.
Best Marcus Aurelius Quotes
- What we do now echoes in eternity.
- Confine yourself to the present.
- Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.
- Men exist for the sake of one another.
- You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
- Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
- The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.
- The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.
- No man is happy who does not think himself so.
- Do not be ashamed of help.
- Everything is interwoven, and the web is holy. Marcus Aurelius
- That which is not good for the swarm, neither is it good for the bee.
- The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
- Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig.
- Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.
- Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future too.
- Live out your life in truth and justice, tolerant of those who are neither true nor just.
- Everything – a horse, a vine – is created for some duty… For what task, then, were you yourself created?
- Remember that very little is needed to make a happy life.
- Receive without conceit, release without struggle.
- Misfortune nobly born is good fortune.
- Kindness is invincible.
- Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.
- The blazing fire makes flames and brightness out of everything thrown into it.
- A wrongdoer is often a man who has left something undone, not always one who has done something.
- When men are inhuman, take care not to feel towards them as they do towards other humans.
- Neither worse then or better is a thing made by being praised.
- If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.
- Whoever does wrong, wrongs himself; whoever does injustice, does it to himself, making himself evil.
- Everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which will be.
- Be your own master, and look at things as a man, as a human being, as a citizen, as a mortal creature.
- It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.
Marcus Aurelius Quotes on Life
- Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.
- The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.
- It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.
- Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil.
- For it is in your power to retire into yourself whenever you choose.
- Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.
- Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fitted by nature to bear.
- Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.
- Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.
- The happiness of those who want to be popular depends on others; the happiness of those who seek pleasure fluctuates with moods outside their control; but the happiness of the wise grows out of their own free acts.
- Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretence.
- How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.
- The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
- The memory of everything is very soon overwhelmed in time.
- The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in so far as it stands ready against the accidental and the unforeseen, and is not apt to fall.
- Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.
- How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.
- Do not act as if you had ten thousand years to throw away. Death stands at your elbow. Be good for something while you live and it is in your power.
- Pass then through this little space of time conformably to nature, and end thy journey in content, just as an olive falls off when it is ripe, blessing nature who produced it, and thanking the tree on which it grew.
- No one loses any other life than the one he now lives, nor does one live any other life than that which he will lose.
- Regain your senses, call yourself back, and once again wake up. Now that you realize that only dreams were troubling you, view this ‘reality’ as you view your dreams.
- In the morning when thou risest unwillingly, let this thought be present – I am rising to the work of a human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world?
Marcus Aurelius Leadership Quotes
- If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.
- A man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions.
- Do what you will. Even if you tear yourself apart, most people will continue doing the same things.
- How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.
- A man must stand erect, not be kept erect by others.
- Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.
- Be like the cliff against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.
- Observe always that everything is the result of change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and make new ones like them.
- The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.
- Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
- I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.
- Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.
- When another blames you or hates you, or people voice similar criticisms, go to their souls, penetrate inside and see what sort of people they are. You will realize that there is no need to be racked with anxiety that they should hold any particular opinion about you.
- You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can’t control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.
- Here is a rule to remember in future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not “This is misfortune,” but “To bear this worthily is good fortune.”
Marcus Aurelius Quotes on Love
- When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …
- The sexual embrace can only be compared with music and with prayer.
- It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.
Marcus Aurelius ‘Meditations’ Stoic Quotes
‘Meditations’ was the book by Marcus Aurelius that was meant to become a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy.
- Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.
- You are a little soul carrying about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say.
- Death smiles at us all; all we can do is smile back.
- Whatever time you choose is the right time. Not late, not early.
- Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.
- If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
- Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together,but do so with all your heart.
- 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?
- Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.
- It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.
- Humans have come into being for the sake of each other, so either teach them, or learn to bear them.
- Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?
- If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgement of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgement now.
- I was once a fortunate man but at some point fortune abandoned me. But true good fortune is what you make for yourself. Good fortune: good character, good intentions, and good actions.
- Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.
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