Betimes in the morning say to thyself:
“This day I shalt have to do with an idle curious man, with an unthankful man, a railer, a crafty, false, or an envious man; an unsociable uncharitable man.
“All these ill qualities have happened unto them, through ignorance of that which is truly good and truly bad. But I that understand the nature of that which is good, that it only is to be desired, and of that which is bad, that it only is truly odious and shameful.
“I know moreover, that this transgressor, whosoever he be, is my kinsman, not by the same blood and seed, but by participation of the same reason, and of the same divine particle.
“How can I either be hurt by any of those, since it is not in the other’s power to make me incur anything that is truly reproachful? Or angry, and ill affected towards him, who by nature is so near unto me? For we are all born to be fellow-workers, as the feet, the hands, and the eyelids; as the rows of the upper and lower teeth: for such therefore to be in opposition, is against nature; and what is it to chafe at, and to be averse from, but to be in opposition?
“Whatsoever I am is either flesh, or life, or that which we commonly call the mistress and overruling part of man; reason.
“Away with thy books, suffer not thy mind any more to be distracted, and carried to and fro; for it will not be; but as even now ready to die, think little of thy flesh: blood, bones, and a skin; a pretty piece of knit and twisted work, consisting of nerves, veins and arteries; think no more of it, than so.
“And as for thy life, consider what it is; a breath; not one constant breath either, but every moment of an hour let out, and sucked in again.
“The third is thy ruling part; and here consider; Thou art an old man; suffer not that excellent part to be brought in subjection, and to become slavish: suffer it not to be drawn up and down with unreasonable and unsociable lusts and motions, as it were with wires and nerves; suffer it not any more, either to repine at anything now present, or to fear and flee anything to come, which destiny hath appointed thee.
“Whatsoever proceeds from the gods immediately, as any man will grant, totally depends on their divine providence. As for those things that are commonly said to happen by luck, even those must be conceived to depend on nature, or on that first connection to divine providence by which they are administered and brought to pass.
“All things flow from thence: and whatsoever it is that is, is both necessary, and conducive to the whole, of which thou art a part, and whatsoever it is that is requisite and necessary for the preservation of the general, must of necessity for every particular nature, be good and behoven.
“And as for the whole, it is preserved, as by the perpetual mutation and conversion of the simple elements one into another, so also by the mutation and alteration of things mixed and compounded.
“Let these things suffice thee; let them be always unto thee, as thy general rules and precepts.
“As for thy thirst after books, away with it!—with all speed—that thou die not murmuring and complaining, but truly meek and well satisfied, and from thy heart thankful unto the gods.
~ Marcus Aurelius