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.
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.
When you have been compelled by circumstances to be disturbed in a manner, quickly return to yourself and do not continue out of tune longer than the compulsion lasts.
The mind that is free from passions is a citadel, for man has nothing more secure to which he can fly for refuge and repel every attack.
When you’re called upon to speak, then speak, but never about banalities like gladiators, horses, sports, food and drink – common-place stuff. Above all don’t gossip about people, praising, blaming or comparing them.
You are composed of three things: body, breath (life), intelligence. Of these the first two are yours insofar as it is your duty to take care of them; but the third alone is truly yours.
Justice will not be observed, if we either care for indifferent things or are easily deceived and careless and changeable.
Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretence.
Be like the promontory against which the waves continually break; but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.
If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now.
Let it make no difference to you whether you are cold or warm, if you are doing your duty; and whether you are drowsy or satisfied with sleep; and whether ill-spoken of or praised; and whether dying or doing something else.
Remember this, that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life.
Human life. Duration: momentary. Nature: changeable. Perception: dim. Conditions of body: decaying. Soul: spinning around. Fortune: unpredictable. Lasting fame: uncertain.
When it comes to all we’re required to go through, we’re equals. No one is more vulnerable than the next man, and no one can be more sure of his surviving to the morrow.
It is in no man’s power to have whatever he wants; but he has it in his power not to wish for what he hasn’t got, and cheerfully make the most of the things that do come his way.
Don’t be disappointed if you return home with the very same set of ideas you arrived with. Because you had no intention of changing, correcting or adopting others in their place.
Before long, nature, which controls it all, will alter everything you see and use it as material for something else – over and over again. So that the world is continually renewed.
If we try to adapt our mind to the regular sequence of changes and accept the inevitable with good grace, our life will proceed quite smoothly and harmoniously.
All things are changing: and you yourself are in continuous mutation and in a manner in continuous destruction, and the whole universe, too.
Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?
The gods are not to blame. They do nothing wrong, on purpose or by accident. Nor men either; they don’t do it on purpose. No one is to blame.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
You ought to realize, you take up very little space in the world as a whole – your body, that is; in reason, however, you yield to no one, not even to the gods, because reason is not measured in size but sense. So why not care for that side of you, where you and the gods are equals?
Others have been plundered, indiscriminately, set upon, betrayed, beaten up, attacked with poison or with calumny – mention anything you like, it has happened to plenty of people.
The way he handled the material comforts that fortune had supplied him in such abundance – without arrogance and without apology. If they were there, he took advantage of them. If not, he didn’t miss them.
Show me one person who cares how they act, someone for whom success is less important than the manner in which it is achieved. While out walking, who gives any thought to the act of walking itself? Who pays attention to the process of planning, not just the outcome?
The man who spends his time choosing one resort after another in a hunt for peace and quiet, will in every place he visits find something to prevent him from relaxing.
Whatever the nature of the whole does, and whatever serves to maintain it, is good for every part of nature.
Either all things proceed from one intelligent source and come together as in one body, and the part ought not to find fault with what is done for the benefit of the whole; or there are only atoms, and nothing else than mixture and dispersion. Why, then, are you disturbed?
Whenever anyone criticizes or wrongs you, remember that they are only doing or saying what they think is right. They cannot be guided by your views, only their own; so if their views are wrong, they are the ones who suffer insofar as they are misguided.
Take me and cast me where you will; for there I shall keep my divine part tranquil, that is, content, if it can feel and act conformably to its proper constitution.
Consider that you also do many things wrong, and that you are a man like others; and even if you do abstain from certain faults, still you have the disposition to commit them, though either through cowardice, or concern about reputation, or some such mean motive, you abstain from such faults.
Let it happen, if it wants, to whatever it can happen to. And what’s affected can complain about it if it wants. It doesn’t hurt me unless I interpret its happening as harmful to me. I can choose not to.
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?