Practical Wisdom: ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius

The positive psychology of Meditations


Written in Greek by the only Roman emperor who was also a philosopher, without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) offer a wide range of fascinating spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. Spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cover such diverse topics as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods and Aurelius’s own emotions.

But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation, in developing his beliefs Marcus also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a series of wise and practical aphorisms that have been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and ordinary readers for almost two thousand years.

My Review

This is ancient philosophy at it’s best with stoicism, positive psychology and practical wisdom written by Marcus that can be used as a mirror for you to learn from.  This book will encourage you to attain knowledge of self through self-reflection so that you can empower yourself towards a wiser perspective of life.  It may even prompt you to write down your own daily thoughts, which is a good exercise for self-expression and understanding yourself totally.

Marcus displays tremendous honesty and humility for someone who was in such a prestigious position, and you can feel that this  journal was personal to him because of the  humanity and emotions of his thoughts that shine through.

I guarantee that if Marcus were alive today he would probably have created a most popular self-help blog – but then again, I’d rather he were busy bringing peace and wisdom to the world as a modern day emperor.

I have read Meditations several times already, and I’m sure I will be dipping into it several times more in the future.  You wouldn’t be surprised to hear me say that I have officially adopted this little gem as my bible to carry under my arm wherever life takes me.

Thank you Marcus, for my holy bible!

Rating out of 5 stars: StarStarStarStarStar



  1. Self-improvement trainings shouldn’t always be within the confines of an office building, or maybe in the four corners of a person’s room. The difference lies within ourselves and how much we want to help ourselves for the better.

  2. Jason Cooper says:

    I agree up to an extent, but it shouldn’t matter where you are, be it on a bus, in work or in your bedroom because the great thing is, your mind is with you wherever you go.

    So there is no excuse for you not being able to continue learning and improving your mind in whatever situation you find yourself.


  3. Matt says:

    I’ve always been fascinated by Marcus Aurelius. Really, that time period in general. It’s on my reading list. I’ve only read excerpts, but one day I’ll get to the whole thing.

  4. Jason Cooper says:

    I love reading ancient philosophy in general because of the wisdom you can learn and apply to your life.

    I do really recommend you read ‘Meditations’ because it will open your eyes to how weak human beings really are. Great wisdom from Marcus which will have a humbling effect on anyone who thinks they are more important than life.

    One more thing; don’t believe the portrayal of Marcus in the ‘Gladiator’ movie – pure fiction and was nothing like the real him…also, he did not die by the hands of his son, Commodus.

    Cheers, Matt!

  5. Love Marcus’ aphorisms and the Stoics in general. The classical thinkers really ring the gong for me. Feel so much more in common with them than modern writers and philosophers who all seem bogged down in cynicism, irony, language games and despair.

  6. Jason Cooper says:

    I wholly agree with you regarding ancient thinkers and I feel the same way about having more of a connection with them rather than today’s philosophers.

    Stoicism in particular is my favourite branch of philosophy so watch out for some more posts on the likes of Seneca and Epictetus.


  7. David Powell says:

    AMEN…Brothers…I have found much enlightenment with Proverbs and Ecclisiastes speaking for myself. One book I would highly recommend that I am half way through written by 2 CURRENT Philosophers is ALL THINGS SHINING…Check it out and thanks for your continued posts and honest, humble approaches to UNDERSTAND TRUTH…Bless you all and keep em coming…GOOD STUFF!!

    In Christ…Proverbs 5 for my son LEVI…Rock on fellow WARRIORS!!!

  8. Jason Cooper says:

    Glad to have you back, David.

    Your enthusiasm for truth, as well as your optimism for us attaining it is infectious – need more guys like you.

    And don’t worry, I will continue down the path towards truth and wisdom, very much like Marcus Aurelius did with his journal to himself.

    Will check out the book you recommended – thanks bro!