|Welcome To The Religion Network!
I'm Lisa Bowman. The Religion Network is an interfaith web site providing inspiration, quotes and religious resources. This Home Page is changed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You are warmly
invited to read every quote posted for each theme, or simply to read those that interest you. They are
offered in the belief that inspiration can be found in all spiritual faiths, and that finding the commonality
in religions is more important than pointing up the differences. Religion is precious gift that blesses the
individual and uplifts the community. However you worship, I hope this site enhances your journey. Let
us meet regularly and build a spiritual network. If you'd like to know my story, click on biography.
On Today's Theme:
Marcus Aurelius (121-180) was Roman emperor and a Stoic philosopher.
As emperor, he instigated humanitarian reforms, such as championing the
poor by building them schools, orphanages and hospitals. He mandated
better treatment of slaves by their masters and lowered taxes, even selling
some of his own property to fund wars rather than raise taxes. In order to
lower the level of violence in the circus, he ordered gladiators to
fight in the arena with blunted points.
As an adherent of Stoicism, a moral philosophy which began in Greece
around 300 B.C., Marcus Aurelius valued reason, justice, goodness
and virtue. He embraced the ethics of a moral, impartial and inevitably
ordered universe that could most properly be experienced with a
tranquil acceptance. A true philosopher-king, he wrote down
many of his contemplations in a 12 volumes
collectively entitled, "Meditations."
Ironically, the benevolence demonstrated by Aurelius did not extend to
the Christians of his day. The religion remained outlawed during his
reign and persecution definitely existed. He refers to Christians once in
"Meditations," calling their apparent enthusiasm for martyrdom and rejection
of the Roman deities, the result of their "sheer obstinacy" and their love
of theatrical display. It was under his rule that Polycarp, Bishop
of Smyrna and early Church father, was martyred.
And so, as a Christian, I'm presented with an opportunity to "turn the
other cheek" and assure you that the thoughtful insights of
Marcus Aurelius are valuable and worth pondering!
- Lisa Bowman
ALL QUOTES ON THIS PAGE ARE THOSE OF MARCUS AURELIUS,
EMPEROR OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE FROM 161-180.
Young Marcus Aurelius (Musei Capitoline, Rome)
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts:
therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no
notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.
To live happily is an inward power of the soul.
We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee
makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season
without thinking of the grapes it has borne.
That which is not good for the beehive cannot be good for the bees.
A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher
than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one
produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in
which a vulgar man aspires.
I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than
all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of
himself than on the opinions of others.
Men exist for the sake of one another.
How much time he saves who does not look to see
what his neighbor says or thinks.
Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.
How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.
Marcus Aurelius, bronze, Capitoline Museum, Rome
Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character
of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.
The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.
Be content to seem what you really are.
Confine yourself to the present.
Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it
is always ready to bubble up, of you just dig.
Do every act of your life as if it were your last.
And now, the Last Word:
When you arise in the morning, think of what a
precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe,
to think, to enjoy, to love.
Our life is what our thoughts make it.