Every moment think steadily as a Roman and a man to do what you have in hand with perfect and simple dignity, feeling of affection, freedom, and justice. Give yourself relief from all other thoughts and you will give yourself relief. If you do every act of life as if it were the last, laying aside all carelessness and passionate aversion from the commands of reason, all hypocrisy, self-love, and discontent with the portion which has been given to you and you’ll see how few the things you have to do to live a satisfying life. If you manage this, that’s all even the gods can ask of you.
- Like so many of the mediations, at first glance, this is full of platitudes. “Live every moment as if it were your last.” But Marcus doesn’t mean with the joie de vivre of the modern era. He means live it in duty to Rome, to others, to your higher nature. Indeed, instead of “live a little, have the cake” marcus is saying “live a little, avoid the cake, do more.”