Tag Archives: Aurelius

Reflections – look back to look forward

From Meditations by Marcus Aurelius who lived between 121 and 161 AD.

“Men seek seclusion in the wilderness, by the seashore, or in the mountains – a dream you have cherished only to fondly yourself. Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul; above all, he who possesses resources in himself, which he need only contemplate in secure immediate ease of mind – the ease that is but another word for a well-ordered spirit. Avail yourself often, then, of this retirement, and so continually renew yourself. Make your rules of life brief, yet so as to embrace the fundamentals, recurrence to them will then suffice to remove all vexation, and send you back without fretting to the duties to which you must return.”

Reflections. When was the last time you took time out of your busy life to reflect on what is important to you? Are you living your values? Are you living comfortably within yourself? Are you living a life that is congruent with your beliefs? Are you living an authentic life?

If you can answer yes to those questions you may be able to answer the question, “Are you happy?” in the affirmative. If not, what areas of your life suggest discontent? List those things that you would like to bring forward and tame.

Which item on the list deserves the most attention?

The most important decision you can make is a decision to focus on your attitude. You make all kinds of choices each and every day but the one that makes the most difference is your attitude on how you choose to face the day. You can face it with joy or not. What remarkable things happen every day that you ignore or take for granted?

Did you eat today?

Did you have shelter and a roof over our heads?

What things did you not take notice of that you can appreciate? Are there relationships that we value that you can appreciate?

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and complete this exercise.

Take a moment to reflect on the day. Meditate on the things that went well. What were those things?

Take a moment to reflect on the week. Meditate on the things that went well. What were those things?

Take a moment to reflect on the month. Meditate on the things that went well. What were those things?

Take a moment to reflect on the year. Meditate on the things that went well. What were those things?

Take a moment to reflect on the past five years. Mediate on the things that went well. What were those things?

Look over your list. Are there any patterns that emerge? What are they? What would you like ensure stays on your list? Reflect on those items.

Change is required

Change is required.

Somewhere between 170 and 180 AD Marcus Aurelius wrote the classic “Meditations”.

He wrote about change in book seven. In this paragraph he writes about change, “We shrink from change; yet is there anything that can come into being without it? What does Nature hold dearer, or more proper to herself without it? Could you have a hot bath unless the firewood underwent some change? Could you be nourished if the food suffered no change? It is possible for any useful thing to be achieved without change? Do you not see, then, that change in yourself is of the same order, and no less necessary to Nature?”

We must recognize that growth comes with change. The catalyst to change is desire and desire is trapped in a cloud of uncertainty. The fear of change subdues the catalyst and holds us to the position we are in today. A guide or assistant is often necessary to break through the cloud of uncertainty. Achieve more, live more, and become more. Yes it will require change. Forge in your mind what you must do to make positive change happen.