Marcus Aurelius - Live Quotes
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The healthy eye ought to see all visible things and not to say, I wish for green things; for this is the condition of the diseased eye. And the healthy hearing and smelling ought to be ready to perceive all that can be heard and smelled. And the healthy stomach ought to be with respect to all food just as the mill with respect to all things which it is formed to grind. And accordingly the healthy understanding ought to be prepared for everything which happens; but that which says, Let my dear children live, and let all men praise whatever I may do, is an eye which seeks for green things, or teeth which seek for soft things.
Mark how fleeting and paltry is the estate of man - yesterday in embryo, tomorrow a mummy or ashes. So for the hairsbreadth of time assigned to thee, live rationally, and part with life cheerfully, as drops the ripe olive, extolling the season that bore it and the tree that matured it.
The gods gave me a father who ruled over me and rid me of any trace of arrogance and showed me that one can live in a palace without bodyguards, extravagant attire, chandeliers, statues, and other luxuries. He taught me that it is possible to live instead pretty much in the manner of a private citizen without losing any of the dignity and authority a ruler must possess to discharge his imperial duties effectively.
The gods have provided me with clear and compelling signs of what it means to live in conformity to nature. They did their part. So far as their gifts, aid, and inspiration are concerned, nothing prevented me from following the path prescribed by nature. If from time to time I have strayed from this path, the fault lies with me and with my failure to heed the gods' signs, or rather, their explicit instructions.
So you know how things stand. Now forget what they think of you. Be satisfied if you can live the rest of your life, however short, as your nature demands. Focus on that, and don't let anything distract you. You've wandered all over and finally realized that you never found what you were after: how to live. Not in syllogisms, not in money, or fame, or self-indulgence. Nowhere.