Marcus Aurelius: Learning is about experience, reflection and change!

Marcus Aurelius in his Book 1 Meditations, reflected on all of the people he learned from and what he actually learned from them. Father, mother, grandfather, great grandfather, brother ….. all are here with many values and insights listed;

Here’s my chosen selection from his list:

  • From Diognetus: to endure freedom of speech.
  • From Apollonius: freedom of will and steadiness of purpose.
  • From Sextus: a benevolent disposition.
  • From Severus (brother): to love and respect truth, justice, equal rights, equal freedom of speech
  • From his father: mildness of temper, persistency, a disposition to keep your friends, looking after bodily health, calmness.

In general he expressed his gratitude for having good grandparents, good parents, good brother and sister, good teachers, good associates. He seems, from this book at least, to be someone who counted his blessings and saw goodness and the positive things he had gained from his relationships.

The more I read of this the more my own mind turned towards my own personal learning coming directly from others, their approach to life, their general behaviour, their overall demeanour, how they dealt with adversity. In essence this is learning that goes way beyond the current indoctrination from western education systems. On reflection here’s what I believe to have learned over my own life to date:

  • From my mother: strength of character and persistence in the face of many setbacks
  • From my wife: care for others, diligence.
  • From my late son: calmness, the value of loyalty, integrity
  • From my daughter: love, duty.
  • From my first mentor: achievement drive, professional confidence.
  • From my best clients: trust, integrity, self belief.

Can I encourage everyone reading this to think NOW of all of the significant people in your lives and reflect on what you’ve learned from them. Then …. to truly LIVE your lives on the basis of that learning. You could be surprised at what you find, and hopefully come to understand that learning and changing are synonymous, from changes in brain structure and synapse, to changes in behaviour, and changes in personal beliefs and values. But there is NO learning at all unless something else within you changes too.

In a wider sense there is also so much to be appreciated and learned from fellow bloggers. I’ve learned lots about wine tasting and the objective/subjective debate from Danell, about travel and the related history and culture of places from Andrew, about daily life and musings after your children grow up from Shelley. The list could get embarrassing, but there’s also lots of blogging advice around too about content, style, hashtags, social media, scheduling ….. there are golden nuggets everywhere. Have you found any? We’d like to know 🙏👍👬

Categories: Buddha, Philosophy

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3 replies

  1. I like this and will give it a try
    1. From my father the value of hard work and integrity
    2. From my mother endless love and devotion
    3. From my husband a sense of adventure
    4. From my grandmother the importance of family
    5. From my best teacher belief in myself
    6 From my children acceptance

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  2. One of the great gifts of meditation and reflection is realising how much abundance is already all around you, something I feel we don’t do enough of and your post is a good reminder. Thanks for the mention. You’ve taught me to not only be critical of the beliefs of others, but also of your own, so that you may benifit from defending them and discover what you really do believe. Hope our healthy debates may continue! 😉🥂

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  3. That is a good challenge Brian. I guess we all do this subconsciously all of the time but we rarely if ever make these sort of lists. There is an alternative list of course – what we have learned from people what not to do or how to behave.

    Thanks for the mention.

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