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Those that make you return, for whatever reason,
to God's solitude, be grateful to them.
Worry about the others, who give you
delicious comforts that keep you from prayer.
Friends are enemies sometimes,
and enemies friends.
Jalal Al Din Rumi (1207)
This is a country whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. You do not find it by travelling but by standing still. Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity. Thomas Merton (1915)
All this talk and turmoil and noise and movement and desire is outside the veil; inside the veil is silence and calm and peace. Abu Yazid Al-Bistami (804)
If you wish to grow in your spiritual life, you must not allow yourself to be caught up in the workings of the world; you must find time alone, away from the noise and confusion, away from the allure of power and wealth. Thomas A. Kempis (1379)
Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self. Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932)
But those who are inwardly alone, whose minds and hearts are free from the ache of loneliness -- they are real people, for they can discover for themselves what reality is, they can receive that which is timeless. J. Krishnamurti (1895)
It is not necessary to go off on a tour of great cathedrals in order to find the Deity. Look within. You have to sit still to do it. Albert Schweitzer (1875)
Settle yourself in solitude, and you will come upon Him in yourself. St. Teresa (1515)
It is an extraordinary fact and an extraordinary piece of evidence for the truth of religion, that long hours spent in silent communication with God who never directly answers is nevertheless manifestly a two-way communication. Such a person is gradually and permanently altered in the depths of his personality in ways which would be inconceivable if there was really nothing there at all. Anonymous
Thou dost keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee. Isaiah 26:3 (800 B.C.E.)
God never ceases to speak to us; but the noise of the world without, and the tumult of our passions within, bewilder us, and prevent us from listening. All must be silent around us, and all must be still within us, when we would listen with our whole souls to this voice. It is a still, small voice, and is only heard by those who listen to no other. Alas! How seldom is it that the soul is so still that it can hear when God speaks to it! Francois Fenelon (1651)
Who is there who can make muddy waters clear? But if allowed to remain still, it will gradually clear itself. Lao Tse (604 B.C.E.)
The characteristic of a philosopher is that he looks to himself for all help or harm. The marks of a proficient are that he censures no one, praises no one, blames no one, accuses no one, says nothing concerning himself as being anybody, or knowing anything.
When he is in any instance hindered or restrained he accepts this as his own responsibility; if he is praised, he smiles to himself at the person who praises him; if he is censure, he makes no defense. But he goes about with the caution of a convalescent, wary of anything that may suggest he is well.
He restrains desire; he transfers his aversion to those things only which thwart the proper use of his own will; he employs his energies moderately in all directions; if he appears stupid or ignorant, he does not care; in a word, he keeps watch over himself as over an enemy and one in ambush.
We may be in the Universe as dogs and cats are in our libraries, seeing the books and hearing the conversations but having no inkling of the meaning of it all. William James (1842)
To live in the light of the universal order is to be awake, to turn aside into our own microcosm is to go to sleep. Plutarch (45)
The Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes. Isaiah 29:10 (800 B.C.E.)
This people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing and their eyes have closed, lest haply they should perceive with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart... Matthew 13:15 (80)
Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead. Ephesians (62)
The "resurrection" is not of the so-called dead, but of the living who are "dead" in the sense of never having entered upon true life. Richard Maurice Bucke (1837)
Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. Winston Churchill (1874)
Why does no man confess his vices? Because he is yet in them. It is for a waking man to tell his dream. Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C.E.)
God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please, -- you can never have both. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803)
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting.
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.
William Wordsworth (1770)
Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep. They're born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know, all mystics -- Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion -- are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare. Anthony De Mello (1931)
Without this effort we fall every moment, prone and lifeless, into the overwhelming stream of time and event, and the circle of our reactions. For at every moment we can sink down into our habitual state of consciousness -- where no integration is possible -- where, indeed, we are, and can only be, divided up into innumerable little contradictory parts, which continually steal us from ourselves. Then we lie asleep in appearances, lost to ourselves, for then the sense of ourselves is derived only from the ever-changing response to the flicker of appearances. Then every event carries us away. Every event fastens its mouth upon our energy and consumes it. Life carries us away, now up, then down. Dr. Maurice Nicoll (1884)
"Progress is the law of life; man is not man as yet. "- Robert Browning
"I am this world and I eat this world. Who knows this, knows. "- Upanishads
"Of a certainty, the man who can see all creatures in himself, himself in all creatures, knows no sorrow. "- Upanishads
"Go sweep out the chamber of your heart. Make it ready to be the dwelling place of the Beloved. When you depart out, He will enter it. In you, void of yourself, will He display His beauties. "- Mahmud Shabistari
"Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. "- American Indian
""Is there anything that I can do to make myself enlightened?" "As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning." "Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?" "To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise." "- Anthony De Mello
"If you persist in trying to attain what is never attained (It is Tao's Gift!), If you persist in making effort to obtain what effort cannot get, If you persist in reasoning about what cannot be understood, You will be destroyed by the very thing you seek. To know when to stop, To know when you can get no further by your own action, This is the right beginning! "- Lao Tse
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