Meditating on mortality (IM 803)

One of the important lessons I’ve learned from the stoic philosophy is meditating on mortality.

“Memento mori” – meaning – remember that you will die is the ancient practice of reflection on mortality that goes back to ancient Rome, from Epictetus to Seneca to Marcus Aurelius.

Seneca told, “Death is not something that comes in the future. Most of the death is already gone. Whatever time has passed is owned by death.” He said it even more bluntly,” You’re scared of dying? Tell me – is the kind of life you lead really any different than being dead?”

Epictetus said it even more heavily, “As you kiss your son good night whisper to yourself – he may be dead in the morning.”

In meditations, Marcus Aurelius wrote – “Think you yourself as dead. You have already lived your life.  Now take what is left and live it properly.” He said,” You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

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