Tarcher Cornerstone Editions presents the thoughts and meditations of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 A.D.) newly translated and introduced by Jacob Needleman and John Piazza. Although much has been made of his Stoic approach to life, these meditations seem remarkably resonant with a spiritual seeker's assessment of experience.

Needleman, also a philosopher, takes his hat off to this pragmatic and creative thinker for his "unsurpassed blending of metaphysical vision, poetic genius, and the worldly realism of a ruler whose realm comprises nearly half the peoples of the known world." Aurelius shares his inner search, his belief in the power of reason, and his cultivation of freedom. Piazza's historical introduction examines this Roman aristocrat's life, his world of power and war, and his Stoic philosophy. Here are a few gems from this collection:

• "Always look to what is inside. Never allow the true essence and worth of a thing to escape you."

• "The noblest way of taking revenge on others is by refusing to become like them."

• "Take pleasure and rest in one thing only: making your way from one communal duty to another, always remembering God."

• "Consider often the connection of all things in the Cosmos and their relationship with each other. For in a way all things are mutually intertwined, and thus according to this there is a natural inclination, or love, that links everything together. For things follow another by reason of their attunement, the common spirit that breathes through them, and the unity of all being."