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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)
Natural man is said to be dead however good his actions may be from the civil and moral point of view. Swedenborg (1688)
The notion that we are not awake, that we are not at a level of consciousness where we can understand anything rightly, and where it is impossible to know or have anything real, and where we cannot be in control of ourselves because we are not conscious at the point where control would be possible -- is found throughout Platonic, Christian and many other teachings. But consider how difficult -- how impossible -- it is for us to admit that we are asleep in life. It cannot be an admission. It can only be a gradual realization. And such an experience can only be brought about by the influences of efforts and ideas belonging to the nearly-lost science of awakening. The translators of the gospel could not have properly understood this idea for they translated the Greek "ypnyopew" as "watch" ("Watch, therefore, and pray," etc.). And this word "watch" is found in many places in the New Testament, but its real meaning is to be awake. And the force of this meaning is incalculably greater than that expressed by the term "watch." Dr. Maurice Nicoll (1884)
The Greatest Part of Mankind, nay, of all Christians, may be said to be asleep; that particular way of Life, which takes up each Man's Mind, Thoughts and Actions, may be very well called his particular dream. The Learned and the Ignorant, the Rich and the Poor, are all in the same state of slumber, passing away a short life in a different kind of Dream. William Law (1686)
Along this sham path life is chiefly a dressing-up, an emptiness, a make-believe, in which we seek to be like something rather than really to be something. In this sense, then, no one is really doing. Dr. Maurice Nicoll (1884)
There is nothing new in the idea of sleep. People have been told almost since the creation of the world that they are asleep and that they must awaken. How many times is this said in the Gospels, for instance? "Awake," "watch," "sleep not." Christ's disciples even slept when he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane for the last time. It is all there. P. D. Ouspensky (1878)
If he carries out all these rules while he observes himself, a man will record a whole series of very important aspects of his being. To begin with, he will record with unmistakable clearness the fact that his actions, thoughts, feelings, and words are the result of external influences and that nothing comes from himself. He will understand and see that he is in fact an automaton acting under the influences of external stimuli. He will feel his complete mechanicalness. Everything "happens," he cannot "do" anything. He is a machine controlled by accidental shocks from outside. Each shock calls to the surface one of his "I's." A new shock and that "I" disappears and a different one takes its place. Another small change in the environment and again there is a new "I." P. D. Ouspensky (1878)
Man does not know himself and does not know how to use the energies hidden in him, nor does he know that he carries the stars hidden in himself and that he is the microcosm, and thus carries within him the whole firmament with all its influence. Paracelcus (1493)
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
Jalal Al Din Rumi (1207)
The followers said to him, 'When will the kingdom come?'
'It will not come by watching for it, It will not be said, 'Look, here it is,' or 'Look, there it is.' Rather, the father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it.
Gospel Of Thomas (110)
He is marking time, and he lives and dies like one of the million things he produces. He thinks of God, instead of experiencing God. Erich Fromm (1900)
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Islamic Saying (599)
He that hath not unbroken gentleness hath not Truth. James Allen (1864)
My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803)
Very well, then: why are you attached to any one book, or to the words and ways of one saint when he himself tells you to let them go and walk in simplicity? To hang on to him as if to make a method of him is to contradict him and to go in the opposite direction to the one in which he would have you travel. Thomas Merton (1915)
Whoso bendeth himself shall be straightened. Whoso emptieth himself shall be filled. Whoso weareth himself away shall be renewed. Whoso humbleth himself shall be exalted. Whoso exalteth himself shall be abased. Therefore doth the Sage cling to simplicity. Tao Te Ching (650)
A little consideration of what takes place around us every day would show us that a higher law than that of our will regulates events; that our painful labors are unnecessary and fruitless; that only in our easy, simple, spontaneous action are we strong...Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803)
The disciples said to him, "Tell us what our end will be." Jesus said, "If you haven't found the beginning, why ask about the end? For where the beginning is, the end is also. Blessed are those who stand at the beginning, for they will know the end, and they will not taste death." Jesus Christ (4 B.C.E.)
If we could penetrate to the eternal reality of our own being we would find the one and only solution for every situation -- in the right sense of our own existence, primarily in itself. Dr. Maurice Nicoll (1884)
For thirty years I sought God. But when I looked carefully I found that in reality God was the seeker and I the sought. Abu Yazid Al-Bistami (804)
Who seeks, and will not take when once tis offered, shall never find it more. William Shakespeare (1564)
The "man of the way" is a familiar concept in all religions. The elect are "called to be saint." The Buddhist marga, the "path of liberation," once entered will be followed to the attainment of perfected being. The man of the way in Sufism is the salik or seeker of the truth. J. G. Bennett (1897)
The humble knowledge of thyself is a surer way to God than the deepest search after science. Thomas A. Kempis (1379)
"Grief should be the instructor of the wise: sorrow is knowledge; they who know the most must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal, truth, -- the tree of knowledge is not that of life."- Lord George Gordon Byron
"If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. "- New Testament
"You grieve for those for whom you should not grieve. The wise grieve neither for the living nor the dead. Never at any time was I not, nor thou, nor these princes of man, nor shall we ever cease to be. The unreal has no being, the real never ceases to be. "- Bhaghavad-Gita
"We are not only enough...We are all there is. "- Don Lubov
"Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. "- American Indian
"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
"Ecstasy is our very nature; not to be ecstatic is simply unnecessary. To be ecstatic is natural, spontaneous. It needs no effort to be ecstatic, it needs great effort to be miserable. That's why you look so tired, because misery is really hard work; to maintain it is really difficult, because you are doing something against nature. "- Osho
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