“Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”                                                                                         – General James Mattis

Marcus Aurelius was the Roman emperor from 161 to 180 A.D.  People as diverse as former President Bill Clinton and retired General James Mattis have found his meditations important.

Meditations is a series of personal writings by Marcus  Aurelius, recording his private notes to himself.  General Mattis carried his own personal copy of this work throughout his deployments. 1

As a family law attorney who helps people through stressful times, this work would, in my estimation, help anyone through a difficult time.

His ideas involve avoiding indulgence in sensory affections, a skill which will free one up  from the pains and pleasures of the material world.  He claims that the only way a man can be harmed by others is to allow his reaction to overpower him.

This latter sentiment is useful when one is in the midst of a legal dispute.  The stress of litigation or even prolonged negotiation can cause a person to question themselves and to lose self-confidence.  The meditations of Marcus Aurelius reflect that the most important part of any problem solving exercise is to look within, and to control our own actions, thoughts and speech.

This stoic philosopher reminds us that an order or logos permeates existence.  Rationality and clear mindedness allow one to live in harmony with the logos.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney

1 Wikipedia.  Meditations.