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Silence is not the absence of sound, but the absence of self. Anthony De Mello (1931)
The most powerful prayer, one well-nigh omnipotent and the worthiest work of all, is the outcome of a quiet mind. The quieter it is the more powerful, the worthier, the deeper, the more telling and more perfect the prayer is. To the quiet mind all things are possible. What is a quiet mind? A quiet mind is one which nothing weighs or worries, which, free from ties and all self-seeking, is wholly merged into the will of God, and dead as to its own. Meister Eckhart (1260)
Love your solitude and bear with sweet-sounding lamentation the suffering it causes you. For those who are near you are far, you say, and that shows it is beginning to grow wide about you. And when what is near you is far, then your distance is already among the stars and very large; rejoice in your growth, in which you naturally can take no one with you, and be kind to those who remain behind, and be sure and calm before them and do not torment them with your doubts and do not frighten them with your confidence or joy which they could not understand. Rainer Maria Rilke (1875)
But if then you notice that it is great, rejoice because of this, for what (ask yourself) would solitude be that had no greatness. There is but one solitude, and that is great, and not easy to bear, and to almost everybody come hours when they would gladly exchange it for any sort of intercourse, however banal and cheap, for the semblance of some slight accord with the first comer, with the unworthiest... But perhaps those are the very hours when solitude grows, for its growing is painful as the growing of boys and sad as the beginning of spring-times. But that must not mislead you. The necessary thing is after all but this: solitude, great inner solitude. Going into oneself and for hours meeting no one -- this one must be able to attain. Rainer Maria Rilke (1875)
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.)
"The Almighty created the angels and conferred reason upon them, and He created the beasts and conferred passion upon them, and He created man and conferred reason and passion both upon him. He whose reason prevails over his passion is higher than the angels, and he whose passion prevails over his reason is lower than the beasts. "- Muhammed
"The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him. "- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
"It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy. "- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
"The darker the night, the brighter the stars, The deeper the grief, the closer is God. "- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
"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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