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It was the very essence of Gurdjieff's teaching that the pupil must stand on his own feet and he took every measure, sometimes apparently harsh and brutal, to break down any tendency towards dependence upon himself. He would go to the length of depriving himself of much-needed helpers in his work rather than allow a relationship of dependence, or subordination. At the same time, he took for granted that a teacher is necessary and made it clear why this is so. No man can work alone until he knows himself, and no one can know himself until he can be separate from his own egoism. The teacher is always needed to apply the knife, to sever the true from the false, but he can never work for his pupil, nor understand for him, nor be for him. We must work, and understand, and be, for ourselves. J. G. Bennett (1897)
What we do during our working hours determines what we have; what we do in our leisure hours determines what we are. George Eastman (1854)
It is said that if Noah's Ark had had to be built by a company, they would not have laid the keel yet; and it may be so. What is many men's business is nobody's business. The greatest things are accomplished by individuals. Charles Spurgeon (1834)
Men make little effort to exercise their intellect, or they imagine they possess knowledge before they really learn, the consequence being that they never begin to have knowledge. Origen (185)
When he tries to extend his power over objects
Those objects gain control of him.
He who is controlled by objects
Loses possession of his inner self:
If he no longer values himself,
How can he value others?
If he no longer values others,
He is abandoned.
He has nothing left
Chuang Tzu (399 B.C.E.)
The world is not a collection of separate objects but rather appears as a web of relations between the various parts of a unified whole. Fritjof Capra (1939)
Everything I say must be understood not as an affirmation but as a question. Neils Bohr (1885)
The crosses which we make for ourselves by over- anxiety as to the future are not Heaven-sent crosses. We tempt God by our false wisdom, seeking to forestall His arrangements, and struggling to supplement His Providence by our own provisions
The crosses actually laid upon us always bring their own special grace and consequent comfort with them; we see the Hand of God when It is laid upon us. But the crosses wrought by anxious foreboding are altogether beyond God's dispensations.
Francois Fenelon (1651)
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the same mind at the same time. F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896)
Bring all of yourself to his door; bring only a part, and you've brought nothing at all. Hakim Sanai (1080)
In a Dark time, the Eye Begins to See. Theodore Roethke (1908)
In this patient, though uncheered obedience, we become prepared for light. The soul gathers force. William E. Channing (1780)
Many think that dying to themselves is what causes them so much pain. But it is actually part of them that still lives that causes the problem. Death is only painful to you when you resist it. Your imagination exaggerates how bad death will be. Self-love fights with all of its strength to live. Die inwardly as well as outwardly. Let all that is not born of God within you die. Francois Fenelon (1651)
Die before ye die! Jalal Al Din Rumi (1207)
To be nothing is the precondition of being. Jalal Al Din Rumi (1207)
It is the prerogative of man's spiritual nature that he can yield himself up to a thought and will that are infinitely larger than his own. Edward Caird (1835)
To realize that you have not got something and that you need it, this is real asking. Dr. Maurice Nicoll (1884)
It is useless for the "self" to try to "purify itself," or for the "self" to "make a place in itself" for God. Dr. Suzuki (1936)
Exercise yourself unceasingly in mystical contemplation; abandon feelings; renounce intellectual activities; reject all that belongs to the perceptible and the intelligible; strip yourself totally of non-being and being and lift yourself as far as you are able to the point of being united in unknowing with him who is beyond all being and all knowledge. For it is by passing beyond everything yourself included, irresistibly and completely, that you will be exalted in pure ecstasy right up to the dark splendour of the divine Superessence, after having abandoned all, and stripped yourself of everything. Dionysius, Arepagite
Glory be to God who has not given to his creatures any way to attain knowledge of him except by means of their helplessness and their hopelessness of ever reaching such attainment. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (633)
Abba Lot came one day to see Abba Joseph and said to him, 'Father, I keep my little rule to the best of my ability. I observe my modest fast and my contemplative silence. I say my prayers and do my meditation. I endeavour as far as I can to drive useless thoughts out of my heart. What more can I do?'
The elder rose to answer and lifted his hands to heaven. His fingers looked like lighted candles and he said, 'Why not become wholly fire?'
Desert Fathers (400)
The great Architect of the universe conceived and produced a being endowed with both natures, the visible and the invisible. God created the human being, bringing its body forth from the pre-existing matter which he animated with his own Spirit... Thus in some way a new universe was born, small and great at one and the same time. God set this 'hybrid' worshipper on earth to contemplate the visible world, and to be initiated into the invisible; to reign over earth's creatures, and to obey orders from on high. He created a being at once earthly and heavenly, insecure and immortal, visible and invisible, halfway between greatness and nothingness, flesh and spirit at the same time... an animal en route to another native land, and, most mysterious of all, made to resemble God by simple submission to the divine will. Gregory Nazianzen (328)
When a man can let his heart die, then the primordial spirit wakes to life. Lu Yen (800)
For each believes his lamp to be the light of day! Idries Shaw (1924)
The struggle to find truth comes partly, in its real form, through not struggling at all. This paradox is contained in the next few lines of a sufi poem by Sir Richard Burton
Enough to think that truth can be;
Come sit we where the roses glow;
Indeed he knows not how to know
who knows not also how to unknow.
Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821)
"Many persons use greater care to avoid injuries to the body rather than to shun harm to the soul. Thou art not flesh and hair but a will. If thou keep this beautiful then will you be beautiful. "- Epictetus
"The Fourth Striving: From the beginning of one's existence, to pay as quickly as possible for one's arising and individuality, in order afterward to be free to lighten as much as possible the sorrow of our Common Father. "- George Gurdjieff
"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What! You too? I thought I was the only one." "- C. S. Lewis
"Freedom is not a constant attribute which we either "have" or "have not." In fact, there is no such thing as "freedom" except as a word and an abstract concept. There is only one reality: the act of freeing ourselves in the process of making choices. In this process the degree of our capacity to make choices varies with each act, with our practice of life. "- Erich Fromm
"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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