Meditations: Ultra Condensed Cliffnotes #12

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Below are my personal notes of Meditations. These highlights were what I used to write my personal development book, Wiser Next Week, a condensation of many different self improvement books

Book 1: Debts & Lessons

  • 10. The Literacy Critic Alexander
    • Do not jump to correct people in grammar or pronunciation. Contribute to the issue at hand
  • 11. Fronto
    • Recognize the malice, cunning and hypocrisy that power produces
  • 16. My Adopted Father
    • His restrictions on acclamations and all attempts to flatter him
    • His attitude to the gods: no superstitions
    • His attitude towards men: no demagoguery, no currying favor, no indulging, no vulgarity or prey to fads. Always sober and steady
    • Material comforts: enjoyed without arrogance or apology. If present, they were taken advantage of. If not, he didn’t miss them
    • Not vain, but not ignoring his appearance either
    • Willingness to yield the floor to experts in their field and support them so they can fulfill their potential
  • The Gods
    • If I’ve failed, its no ones fault but mine

Book 2: On the River Gran, Among the Quadi

  • The world is maintained by change
  • Do what is in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderness, willingness and with justice. Free yourself from distractions. 
    • Do it as if it were the last thing you’ll do in life. No aimlessness, hypocrisy, self centeredness or irritability
  • People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct thoughts and impulses are wasting their time. Even when hard at work. 
  • You can leave life right now. Let that determine what you do/say/think

Book 3: In Carnuntum

  • Don’t waste life worrying about others unless it affects the common good. It limits your usefulness. Preoccupation with what so and so are doing, saying and thinking keep you from focusing on your own mind
  • Each of us live only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already or is impossible to see. 

Book 4:

  • People try to get away from it all, to the country, beaches or mountains. You always with that you could too. Which is idiotic. You can get away anytime you like. By going within
    • Nowhere can you go is more peaceful-more free of interruptions-than your own soul
    • Things have no hold on the soul. They stand unmoving outside it
    • Disturbance only comes from within, our own perception. Everything you see will soon alter and cease to exist
    • The world is nothing but change. Our life is only perception
    • It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise it cannot harm you, inside or out
  • Do not live as though you have endless years ahead of you. Death overshadows. While you’re alive and able, be good
  • Whatever time you choose is the right time. No late, not early
    • Get what you can from the present, thoughtfully and justly
  • Work for proper understanding, unselfish action, truthful speech. A resolve to accept whatever happens as necessary and familiar, like water flowing from the same source
  • Human lives are brief and trivial. Yesterday a blob of semen, tomorrow ash
  • Remember this when something threatens to cause you harm: the thing itself was no misfortune at all. To endure it and prevail is a great fortune

Book 5:

A horse races

A dog hunts

A bee stores honey

And a human being helps others

They don’t make a fuss about it, they look forward to it. 

We should be like that

  • The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts
  • Nothing happens to anyone that he can’t endure

Book 6:

  • Not to assume it’s impossible because you find it hard. But to recognize that if it’s humanly possible, you can do it
  • Disgraceful:For the soul to give up when the body is still going strong
  • You accept the limits placed on your body. Accept those placed on your time

Book 7:

  • I can control my thoughts as necessary, then how can I be troubled. What’s outside my mind means nothing to it. Absorb that lesson and stand firm
    • You can return to life. Look at things as you did before. And life returns
  • Our own worth is determined by what we devote our energy to
  • So many who were remembered already forgotten, and those who remembered them them long gone
  • I am a single limb of a larger body- a rational one
    • Or you can say a single part. But then you’re not embracing other people. Helping them isn’t yet its own reward. You only see it as the right thing to do. You don’t yet realize who you’re really helping
  • For times when you feel pain: don’t let it keep you from acting rationally or unselfishly
    • That pain is neither unbearable nor unending, so long as you keep in mind its limits and don’t magnify them in your imagination

Book 8:

  • Progress for a rational mind means not accepting falsehood or uncertainty in its perceptions, making unselfish acts its only aim, seeking and shunning only the things it has control over
  • Joy for humans lie in human actions: 
    • Kindness to others
    • Contempt for the senses
    • Interrogation of appearances
    • Observation of nature and events in nature
  • All our decisions, urges,desires,aversions lie within. No evil can touch them
  • Nature does not make us endure the unendurable
  • People exist for one another. 

Book 9

  • The earth will cover us all and then be transformed in turn, and that too will change, ad infinitum
  • The waves of change and alterations, endlessly breaking. And see our brief mortality for what it is
  • Enough of this wretched, whining monkey life. What’s the matter? Is any of it new? What is it that you find so surprising? 

Book 10: 

  • Stop talking about what the good man is like, and just be one
  • Everything has to submit. But only rational beings can do so voluntarily
  • Learn to ask of all actions, “Why are they doing that?” Starting with your own

Book 11:

  • Characteristics of the rational soul
    • Self perception, self examination and the power to make of itself whatever it wants, to reap its own harvest
  • Its not what they do that bothers us: thats a problem for their minds, not ours. Its our own misperceptions. Discard them
    • There is nothing manly about rage. Its courtesy and kindness that define a human being. That’s who possesses strength and nerves and guts, not the angry whiners

Book 12: 

  • We all love ourselves more than other people, but we care more about their opinion than our own
  • Everything’s destiny is to change, to be transformed, to perish. So that new things can be born
  • You’ve lived in a great city as one of its citizens. Five year or a hundred-whats the difference? The laws make no distinction.
    • And to be sent away by it, not by a tyrant or dishonest judge, but by nature, who first invited you in, why is that so terrible?
    • Neither was yours to determine
    • So make your exit with grace-the same grace shown to you

If these brief notes, peaked your interest in Meditations , you can check it out on Amazon here.

And be sure to check out my book, Wiser Next Week.

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