April 3, 2020

Reflect: Perfection of character

Reflect: Perfection of character

Meditations Book 7 No. 69.

“Perfection of character: to live your last day, everyday, without frenzy, or sloth, or pretense.”

To live without frenzy, sloth or pretense, sounds like a recipe for living a fulfilling life, not how I’d chase “perfection of character”.

In my mind, the “perfection of character” meant being good and kind to others and standing by my values and in so doing remain true to myself.

The perfection of character meant being ambitious and hard-working so that I can make great contributions to the world.

After giving this line more thought, I realised that striving for the perfection of character as I understood it, doesn’t fall that far from what Marcus Aurelius appears to preach.  Sloth here can refer to laziness, procrastination and not using my time to work on freeing myself and helping others.

Most importantly, he emphasis presence. To live every day as though it were your last, such that you’d have no regrets. Throughout his book, he repeatedly reminds his readers to be present, always.

Perhaps, a fulfilling life comes from working towards the perfection of character.  To practice slow living and presence, to work hard at what you love (free yourself) and help others, all while remaining true to yourself by hiding nothing (from your own peace from mind).

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