Wow, can you believe this is the second last day of our 30-day challenge?

So, are you ready to squeeze in a few more big ideas? We hope so. As today we’ll be studying an amazing, profound book from one of the greatest minds of modern times: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

http://www.paradoxplace.com/Insights/Equestrian/Equestrian_Images/Marcus-Aurelius-Meditations.jpg“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly; and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue, and reasonable nature.”
– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, author of Meditations

Are you ready to gain the big ideas and wisdom of one of the most important stoic philosophers? Yes? Wonderful!

So let’s dive straight in with Brian’s video!

Have you just started the challenge? Click here to go back to day 1 to learn what it’s all about, or get your copy of Brian’s entire collection of Philosophers Notes (his insights from nearly 200 books) here

FinerMinds Team

FinerMinds Team

In our quest to boost your personal growth, we hope to inspire and support you through our content! You can also check us out on Facebook.

17 Comments

  • Jayne says:

    A Surplus of Time – this reminds me of when our flight was cancelled on the last day of our family holiday last year and we had to stay an extra day! We had THE best day of the holiday because it was like forbidden fruit – unexpected and a real bonus. The fact that we’d spent the last 14 days together obviously just going through the motions! How often do we do this in our life?! Starting today, every day is a bonus.

    • Bernard T says:

      Hi Jayne
      I can relate, once traveling the the US we were stopped at the border for some missing paper work. 3 days we stayed in the nearest town and had nothing to do but enjoy each others presence. Sometime we are given gifts disguised as trials. Enjoying it is the best way to learn and love.
      Thanks for sharing that.

  • Peter :) says:

    Hi! I found the following quotes in the “Meditations” PhilosophersNote to be very powerful! To be in tune …. Nothing early, nothing late …. Equanimity …. Catch oneself and correct oneself …. Be a possessor of the divinity within! Cool!

    “O world, I am in tune with every note of thy great harmony. For me nothing is early, nothing late, if it be timely for thee. O Nature, all that thy seasons yield is fruit for me.”

    “When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.”

    The rules of the game are simple: Notice when you’re off-balance (when you start to lose your patience with the traffic or your spouse or your colleague or your kids or whatever), and see how fast you can catch yourself and correct yourself—bringing yourself back to equanimity.

    “Take me and cast me where you will; I shall still be possessor of the divinity within me, serene and content.”

    Thank you Brian for another Great PhilosophersNote! Have a great day All! :)

  • Tom Carroll says:

    LEARNINGS
    Hello, All! It’s fascinating to learn how perennial many of these big ideas are. Really enjoyed Brian’s back story and history on this one. What a cool idea to visit the physical places where these folks penned/quilled/etched their great ideas. Sounds like a really fun idea for a vacation!

    Some favorite quotes from the notes:

    “Never confuse yourself by visions of an entire lifetime at once… remember that it is not the weight of the future or the past that is pressing upon you, but ever that of the present alone.” This is a great recipe for eliminating overwhelm.

    “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Sounds like an ancient version of Albert Ellis, who, by the way, regularly quoted the Stoics, with Epictetus being one of his favorites.

    “When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.” Again, some evergreen wisdom that could have been uttered by any modern therapist or philosopher.

    PRACTICE
    Really liked Brian’s idea of the “Equanimity Game.” I’m going to start playing. It envelopes all this wisdom and learning in fun, which is a great way to remember this whole experience.

    I’ll always remember Brian’s vedanta teacher’s mantra — and Brian’s addition: “Work diligently … diligently. Work patiently, persistently, and PLAYFULLY … patiently … persistently … and playfully. And you’re bound to be successful … bound to be successful.

  • AF Grant says:

    Really enjoy these ancient notes and this is another book I’ll pick up soon. First idea that struck me in a powerful way was “This means that the longest life and the shortest amount to the same thing. For the passing minute is every man’s equal possession” So cool to find that living in the moment is such an old idea, as well as not being concerned with the opinions of others.
    Seeing time as a river is powerful too. If we accept, even embrace, the constancy of change our lives will flow with ease.

    So many qreat quotes: “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
    “I seek the truth… it is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance that does harm.”
    “Nothing is worth doing pointlessly.”

    Here’s to a huge comeback for Stoicism as the dominant philosophy in our world.

  • Bernard T says:

    The first time I was exposed to Marcus Aurelius I fell in love with the master, and as I discovered his writing I became conscious of a connection taking place and eventually we started to communicate. Strange at it may seem I actually have discussion with Marcus Aurelius, he speaks most of the time and I listen. At first I called him “master”, he didn’t like the label and he said “I am no more a master than you are” I called him teacher he didn’t like that either, so we agreed on the word guide. And that made a lot of sense to me. One thing he said was, when I used the word teacher “how can one be a teacher, when one is only a student, when sharing thoughts and ideas with others we become students not teachers. It took me a while to digest that one and I finally got it. I feel like I know him personally, he calls me “son” when he speaks to me. His wisdom transcends time, and he is as present today as 2000 years ago.
    Looking for seclusion within oneself, totally amazing. When I was a kid I was getting chastised for doing just that, and I persisted against parents, educators, and so on. I could not change it that’s the way I am, when I need to deal with something I withdraw inside of me and that’s seems to disturb people around me. And the more they tried to force me out the deeper I would go. I spent many sessions with Psychologist between the ages of 10 and 15 to no avail, the more they try to bring me out the further in I went. I was labeled stubborn… So be it.
    Being in tune, for me when I discovered that going with the flow was the way to be everything changed and became easier. Having spent many years battling the current and wondering how come I was getting nowhere fast, mind blowing. To be in such a rut and not even realizing I was. Until I learned to ask one question” what do I want instead” and that was turning the raft around and go with the flow. Simple, but boy it sure took a long time.
    I met my wife to be she was 16, not too much could shake her, even some of the worst time she always seems to keep in control, equanimity, that’s what it is. When growing up she was labeled as “passive” and of course got in trouble for it. She refuse to get angry or obsess and when, very rarely, she gave in she just withdraw until it passes, never would she speak in anger. That was a puzzle to me, I was raised in the atmosphere of flying objects when thing didn’t your way you would grab something throw it, kick it and many time that included us kids. I have learned from my wife and life itself to handle situation in a better way 9it takes only seconds to change the thoughts now when tamper rises. And that is not very often anymore.
    Self delusion an easy one to get caught in, seeking the truth, best advice I have heard in a long time, practicing it is even better.
    Marcus Aurelius is becoming a constant companion, a guide for sure. I love the interaction, the spiritual connection and the learning process. I hope for it to last a very long time.

  • Rolana says:

    Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

    “Your time has a limit set to it. Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment, or it will be gone, and never in your power again”.

    Hail Marcus!, Philosopher of old Rome. Your words ring true today.

    Imagine if our life ended now but we could still have experiences and make choices—every moment from now on would be a gift.

    I will think of what I can give to myself and to others to enrich our lives. I must pursue that which I had put off until later. This moment is a gift. I don’t have forever to accomplish and give my gifts to the world.

    Marcus Aurelius is one of the earliest authors who presents good advice and couples it with a call to action. The common thread throughout this presentation is: with all your thoughts and great ideas, you are nothing until you do something.

    As the modern philosophical couple Don Ameche, and Francis Langford used to say, “You say you’re going to do it—do it now!”

  • Rolana says:

    Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

    “Your time has a limit set to it. Use it, then, to advance your enlightenment, or it will be gone, and never in your power again”.

    Hail Marcus!, Philosopher of old Rome. Your words ring true today.

    Imagine if our life ended now but we could still have experiences and make choices—every moment from now on would be a gift.

    I will think of what I can give to myself and to others to enrich our lives. I must pursue that which I had put off until later. This moment is a gift. I don’t have forever to accomplish and give my gifts to the world.

    Marcus Aurelius is one of the earliest authors who presents good advice and couples it with a call to action. The common thread throughout this presentation is: with all your thoughts and great ideas, you are nothing until you do something.

    As the modern philosophical couple Don Ameche, and Francis Langford used to say, “You say you’re going to do it—do it now!”

  • StephanieE says:

    Hello all…I have been gone for several days, and it is so nice to be back. It *is* amazing to find these ideas resonating back over 2000 years. But, I have to admit what gave me most pause in the reading were Brian's personal notes at the end…when he mentioned being grateful while driving his car, and went on to say, "Pick anything you’re touching (the paper this is printed on, the chair you’re sitting on, the office or home you’re in) and think about the array of beautiful human beings on whom you depend to enjoy such a wonderful life. It’s an incredibly humbling and inspiring exercise and one that opens us to the power of the bond we all share." <to be continued…I keep getting the "too long" message>

    • StephanieE says:

      <Continued>
      As I read those words, a sense of calm came over me. I thought about the laptop I'm typing on, the furniture I am resting on, the house I am living in. Of course this isn't the first time I have done an exercise in awareness of how many people affect my life, but I feel like I heard it a little differently this time. So, once again, I feel grateful to Brian for what he has shared with his work in bringing the books and his wisdom to us through these notes. And to you all on the challenge, sorry to have missed so many days, still hope to catch up, and so grateful for what you all have shared throughout the challenge…it means a great deal to me.

  • TedHowardKK says:

    Hi Team

    I like the idea of living in harmony with nature, including our own nature. Harmony meaning that the tunes we create work with all the others around and within us, with luck creating something greater.

    Certainly we need to be present, and there is power in understanding the rythms and trends of the past, and projecting the consequences of our actions now into the future; and it is our actions that count, and the only time we can act is now (well we can initiate actions now, even though it will take an appreciable number of milliseconds before anything actually happens.

    Real power in "The approval of such men, who do not even stand well in their own eyes, has no value for him."

    I love "Retire Within Yourself" and the call to "Avail yourself often, then, of this retirement and so continually renew yourself."

    "Being in Tune with Every Note" is an interesting idea. Reality provides a chorus that cannot be altered in a sense, as it is already past before we become aware of it; and we can alter what is coming with our choices. Sometimes a little dischord at one level is required to create greater harmony at another level.

    The many speeds of change. From the evolution of the universe, to the life of galaxyies, to that of stars, to the changing earth upon which we live, tectonic plates moving at the rate our fingernails grow, creating continents, mountains, volcanism, earthquakes. The slow pace of genetic evolution, the much more rapid pace of cultural evolution, and the sometimes lightning speed of individual transformation and intuition. Some life forms play out their existence over hours, others over thousands of years. We humans historically over a century or less.
    Some subatomic particles live and die a billion times in a second.

    I completely refute the notion that everything "is created for some duty". That does not work for me. Simply not compatible with the observations of my life. Existence just is. We can choose purpose or duty, it is not imposed upon us (except by cultural memes that bind us into some sort of slavery to some notion, economic, religious, or some other idealism or hegemony).
    I reject the notion entirely, and claim for each and every individual the freedom to be the authors of their lives, to be first cause in the matter of the future actions.

    Which idea above, leads me to utterly reject the idea of "Your One Delight" being having God always in mind. Service certainly, in one sense, because I choose, and in another for in serving the community, I am looking after my own long term interests, because I am a member of the community and my long term welfare ultimately depends upon it.

    I like the "Equanimity Game" noticing when I am not calm, and allowing the disturbance to pass, and peace to return.

    I agree that we have the power to create or dispell any stress or distress.

    I am not at all certain what truth is, and I am completely aligned with removeing falsehoods. It is relatively easy to establish what is not so, and what remains may be so, and is not necessarily so.

    I am all for doing what we do to the best of our abilities.

    I believe that right and wrong are things that children must learn, as part of their growth. It is a notion that must be learned, so that it may be transcended as soon as possible. I do not believe the notion is of any value to adult.

    I don't like to think of bonds, and it is certainly powerful to contemplate the many many levels of connectedness and influence that are present in reality.

    Thanks Brian and Vishen, an interesting note from a historical perspective, with some notions still relevant to today, and others that are best left to history.

  • Misterzee says:

    This Note helped me focus on gratitude. I was in a car accident recently, so I've been grateful for so many things in the past few weeks, the most important of which is, I'm grateful I'm alive! And I'm continually grateful to be back at school teaching and making a difference in the lives of my students. I was so grateful for each hug I got when I came back on Wednesday. I notice that, as Marcus Aurelius says, I'm grateful in this moment, not in some future moment, and my heart is filled with an experience of serenity and centeredness. Gentleness. Finally, I'm grateful to Brian for doing this wonderful work.

  • MaxineH says:

    I like the opening quote

    "Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts: for the soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts. Soak it then in such trains of thoughts as, for example: Where life is possible at all, a right life is possible"

    "Take it that you have died today, and your life's story is ended; and henceforward regard what future time may be given you as an uncovenanted surplus, and live it out in harmony with nature"
    Interesting idea, will be thinking about this later

    I like the idea of a holi-hour. It amazes me how friends are so busy all day, every day, and live from holiday to holiday, without taking time out each day to renew themselves.

    "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way"

    "The approval of such men, who do not even stand well in their own eyes, has no value for him" This familiar idea of not caring about the opinion of others, keeps resonating with me, as I grow, I am becoming more confident in my own opinions.

  • Maxine says:

    I like the opening quote

    “Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts: for the soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts. Soak it then in such trains of thoughts as, for example: Where life is possible at all, a right life is possible”

    “Take it that you have died today, and your life's story is ended; and henceforward regard what future time may be given you as an uncovenanted surplus, and live it out in harmony with nature”
    Interesting idea, will be thinking about this later

    I like the idea of a holi-hour. It amazes me how friends are so busy all day, every day, and live from holiday to holiday, without taking time out each day to renew themselves.

    “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way”

    “The approval of such men, who do not even stand well in their own eyes, has no value for him” This familiar idea of not caring about the opinion of others, keeps resonating with me, as I grow, I am becoming more confident in my own opinions.

  • waltww says:

    I have heard of Marcus Aurelius for most of my adult life yet never read his famous notes to himself. So Brian's summary of PDF notes and a TV video review really hits the spot with me. My biggest impression though is that many of his great ideas are being taught by other teachers these days. Don't worry what others think of you. The big idea that each day is another opportunity to live fearlessly with courage once more really seems meaningful to me since I'm now 70. But I also see another insight here, perhaps due to my own declining days. If you are fortunate as I have been you may have experienced enlightenment for moments during your life or maybe even eternity in the moment. If so you can look forward to living such eternity moments during on day at a time rather than planning out years of a life that may never unfold.

  • CVircillo says:

    Meditations
    Marcus Aurelius

    Very excited to jump into this note – Stoic Philosophy – sweet!

    “Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. Soak it then in such trains of thoughts as, for example: Where life is possible at all, a right life is possible.”

    Stoicism
    The modern word “stoic” is derived from the calm demeanor of the
    stoic philosopher.

    “Stoicism became the religion of the educated classes. It
    furnished the principles of virtue, coloured the noblest literature of the time, and guided all the
    developments of moral enthusiasm.”

    A SURPLUS OF TIME
    “Take it that you have died today, and your life’s story is ended; and henceforward regard what
    future time may be given you as an uncovenanted surplus, and live it out in harmony with nature.”

    VISIONS OF A LIFETIME
    “Never confuse yourself by visions of an entire lifetime at once… remember that it is not the
    weight of the future or the past that is pressing upon you, but ever that of the present alone.”

    THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS
    “The approval of such men, who do not even stand well in their own eyes, has no value for him.”

    Retire within Yourself (Beautiful)
    Nowhere can man find a quieter
    or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul; above all, he possesses resources in himself,
    which he need only contemplate to 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.”

    Hold up Holi-hour!!! I love that. Now part of my practice – thanks Brian.

    Time is a River
    “Reflect often upon the rapidity with which all existing things, or things coming into
    existence, sweep past us and are carried away.”

    Flow with the change – it is the only constant

    THE EQUANIMITY GAME
    “When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-
    control, and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the
    harmony will increase your mastery of it.”
    (LOVE THIS – I do this already and it's a lot of fun actually)

    EQUANIMITY
    balanced mind

    YOUR POWER
    NOTHING outside of ourselves has power over us.

    I SEEK THE TRUTH (ALREADY A PRIMARY OBJECTIVE)
    “I seek the truth… it is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance that does harm.”

    THE BOND THAT UNITES ALL
    “Think often of the bond that unites all things in the universe, and their dependence on
    one another.”

    Brian – you say it best.
    May we celebrate this bond as we discover our purpose, live with equanimity, soak our minds,
    and serve our world.

    FAVORITE TAKE AWAY

    A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated
    from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must
    be to free ourselves from this prison.”
    ~ Albert Einstein

    Really Fabulous Note – Can't wait to dive into more Marcus Aurelius
    Thank you,
    Christina

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