Statue holding rose

Memento Mori Monday | Marcus Aurelius on the Present

***A memento mori is a reminder of death. It is a key practice in Stoicism but is not unique to it. It can be a simple visual reminder or quote or a more serious mediation on death.  Stoics use it to remind themselves of how short and fragile life is and therefore how much we have to be grateful for, to live virtuous lives, and not to waste our time.

In this series, each Monday, I will post a memento mori from various sources, either from the primary Stoic texts themselves or other sources.

When the longest- and shortest-lived of us dies, their loss is precisely equal. For the sole thing of which any of us can be deprived is the present, since this is all we own, and nobody can lose what is not theirs.

— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.14

The present is all that you have. Remember this in the course of your day. The things that bother you won’t always be there, the things that you love, won’t always be there.

Are you treating the present as the scarce commodity it is?

While the consequences of many of our actions will bring us joy, and the consequence of our inaction will bring us suffering,  the present is where we can learn from the errors of the past, create meaning out of new experiences, and prevent some regrets – before it’s too late.


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