Marcus Aurelio Meditations-Stoic maxims (part 2)

This is a continuation of the maxims of a Stoic. You can read it here.

  1. To remind myself to see things as they are. When eating meat, tell yourself that you are eating a dead cow; when eating fish, remind yourself that you are eating a dead fish. Having sex? An act that leads to two body organs secreting and exchanging fluids.
  2. To understand that some things are under my control and others are totally out of my control. Under my control are naturally free things. I only have total control over my mind. I have no control over my body, the thoughts of other individuals, and the lives of my friends and family.
  3. When you see your neighbor crying from the loss of their son or daughter or the exile of their family, do not be deluded by perceptions that make you judge it as something good or bad. Understand that with our mind, we have the power to control our mind, which determines good or bad perceptions.
  4. To remind myself how short life is. Soon I will be dead and forgotten.
  5. Do not say that I’m more beautiful than you, more intelligent than you, or richer than you. Rather, say that your face is beautiful, your brain is intelligent, and your wealth is rich, for you do not own the things that you are proud of. It is like being proud of having a beautiful horse. Let the horse own its beauty.
  6. You want to win an Olympic medal, you want to become a professor? Remind yourself of the sacrifices you will have to make, from forgoing certain meals, training in the winter, injuring your legs, and walking with bruised legs, to sleeping late, working on several projects, and dealing with experiments that don’t function well. Consider all the negative things you will have to endure to achieve success as an Olympic champion or as a professor.
  7. Live every day as if it is your last day on Earth. Memento Mori.
  8. If nature wants you to play the role of an orphan, a slave, someone deaf, or an emperor, play it well. Why throw tantrums that life is not fair? It was nature that decided to bring you into this world. Did you throw tantrums when it chose you over others?
  9. And when it is time to depart, why be sad that you have to leave for the next life? Remember, you didn’t choose the time to enter this world, so why cling to more days or years? What’s the difference between two years and ten years? You have already seen everything.
  10. But my father is bad, my mother beats me, and my brother is excellent. Nature did not pair you with a bad or good father. It paired you in the relationship between father and child. What good does it do to say he is a bad father? Is he not still your father?
  11. Do not want things to happen the way you want but, rather accept them as they are. Wanting things to happen your way leads to disappointment, and nature has already decided how they will happen. It is manageable.
  12. Do not frown when someone talks ill about you; instead, add, “He didn’t tell you more about me; he forgot to mention this too.”
  13. Would you lease your body to that guy walking on the street or those people in the market? Then why are you giving them your mind for free?
  14. Honey tastes bitter to someone suffering from jaundice, water is frowned upon by someone suffering from rabies, and the idea of a sweet life to a child is a ball. Why are you angry when they criticize you? Why are you angry when they are living in their world?
  15. As Epictetus says, don’t talk about your philosophy; rather, practice it in silence. The sheep and rams don’t show the shepherds how much they have eaten but rather the wool they produce.
  16. When asked by people about your philosophy, keep quiet, as you might be wrong. They will laugh at you when you practice it and criticize you when you fail at it. Learn to be shy and silent when asked.

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