meditations – the merits of others / be the bee

It’s been a while since I did a Meditations post. You could be forgiven for thinking that I’d forgotten or finished with them (you could also be forgiven for forgetting about them altogether). But, no, the book still sits prominently on my desk, and I still flip through it from time to time. Various passages also flit around my mind every so often, and I try to remind myself of the things that I learnt from these writings of Marcus Aurelius.

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we will adapt

The conversation that was the inspiration for this post actually happened several weeks ago (maybe even months, it has been so long I’m not entirely sure). This is one of those times when a seemingly ordinary conversation lingered in my mind a lot longer than I would have expected (if it was in any way possible to independently consider and speculate on how long a conversation might linger).

But the conversation didn’t necessarily produce the epiphany or realisation itself. Rather, it served as a kind of impetus for me to put the thoughts I’d previously had into words. This will (hopefully) make sense later. Continue reading

Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji & Chion-in Temples

So with my revised blogging schedule, I’ve decided to skip ahead a few days on my Japan trip recount. These, I think, I’ll most likely return to as Thursday Doors posts, or some other random post as I think of them. Today I’d like to share one of my most memorable days from the holiday: Tuesday February 14th, which KF and I spent in Kyoto.

Having travelled there by bullet train the day before, this would be our first full day in Kyoto. Prior to the trip, I did do a little bit of research about places to visit in and around the city, but on the day we arrived, we visited the tourist information centre (helpfully located near the main train station), and a very helpful guide/assistant (who also spoke really good English) gave us a few pointers about getting around town. We left with a map of the bus routes, bus passes, and a better idea of what we’d be doing the next day.  Continue reading

meditations – removing judgement

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was giving me a lift home from work. On the way, she kept complaining that she was so hungry and really wanted to eat. Our plan, however, had been to go for a run, or at least do some exercise, and I generally don’t eat right before exercise (it’s just not a good idea), so I was basically trying to get her to stop complaining and get some control over her appetite.

I’d written previously (some time ago now) about the virtues of being hungry, and I pretty much have the same views on it now, so that was what I was telling her that night.  Continue reading

meditations – history repeats

There are a lot of recurring themes and messages in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, and one that I’ve found myself thinking about quite a lot recently is his assertion that history is constantly repeating itself, and hence no problem is ever completely new.

What I find interesting about this is that I actually discounted this assertion when I first came across his remarks about it in the book. I mean, this book was written almost 2000 years ago, and a lot has changed since then, right? Continue reading

meditations – superfluity

Of all the lessons, revelations, advice and guiding principles that I’ve gotten from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations there’s probably one that’s been most influential. Well, I actually hesitate to say that because I don’t always follow it, and because I’ve taken so much from reading the book that it’s really hard to pinpoint which one singular passage I think about the most; but if I had to choose one, this would be it:

Most of what we say and do is unnecessary: remove the superfluity, and you will have more time and less bother. … And the removal of the unnecessary should apply not only to actions but to thoughts also: then no redundant actions either will follow.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 4, Chapter 24

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