The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius

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9780060955106: The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius

Written as a personal diary for spiritual development, Marcus Aurelius's "meditations" were not meant for publication nor posterity, yet the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher has provided inspiration and guidance for more than eighteen centuries.  Now, after nearly two thousand years, Mark Forster has adapted the ideas and principles relevant to the Roman world of the second century and has made them accessible to the twenty-first-century reader.

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Abraham Lincoln claimed that the best way to test a man's character was to give him power. Surely, Marcus Aurelius's golden reign over the Roman Empire, A.D. 161 to A.D. 180, was such a test. Although this well-educated pagan despised wars and battles, "barbarian" tribes constantly besieged his empire on the Asian and German borders. As a result, he spent eight miserable winters camped by the frozen Danube River acting as commander-in-chief over his triumphant armies. During those gloomy nights, he wrote many of the meditations that appear in this excellent translation.

The lack of arrogance or self-pity in his ruminations offers proof that Aurelius passed Lincoln's test of character with flying colors. Furthermore, the best way to test a person's writing is to give it time. Once again, Aurelius aced the test. For example, contemporary world leaders would do well to heed his advice under the heading "Talking and Being": "Stop talking about what the good person should be, and just be that person." Most of these quotes are similarly brief as he extols the virtues of working hard, not acting impulsively, and living in communion with the natural world. Like Thich Nhat Hanh and Kahlil Gilbran, Marcus Aurelius is an accessible writer of lasting spiritual integrity. --Gail Hudson

About the Author:

Mark Forstater is a producer of films, television documentaries, audio tapes, and now books. His most famous film production is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. An American, he lives and works in London. He is married and has three daughters.

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