The Living Book

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If we were faultless, we should not be so much annoyed by the defects of those with whom we associate. If we were to acknowledge honestly that we have not virtue enough to bear patiently with our neighbor’s weaknesses, we should show our own imperfection, and this alarms our vanity.

Francois Fenelon (1651 – 1715)

When admitting, “I just don’t know the answer,” you are doing something far more profound than you think. You place yourself at the foot of the stairs that leads upward to a world far higher than the intellect. When saying, “I just don’t know the answer,” you are coming to an end of the self-conceit and self-deceit that occupies the level of the intellect. You have qualified yourself for leaving the self-centered world and approaching the lofty universal world.

Vernon Howard (1918 – 1992)

If you want your judgement to be accepted, express it coolly and without passion. All violence has its origin in the will, and so, if your judgement is expressed with vehemence, people will consider it an effort of will, and not the outcome of knowledge, which is in its nature calm and unemotional.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860)

The shell must be cracked apart if what is in it is to come out, for if you want the kernel you must break the shell. And therefore if you want to discover nature’s nakedness you must destroy its symbols, and the farther you get in the nearer you come to its essence. When you come to the One that gathers all things up into itself, there you must stay.

Meister Eckhart (circa 1260 – 1328)

Oh, thou that pinest in the imprisonment of the Actual, and criest bitterly to the gods for a kingdom wherein to rule and create, know this of a truth: the thing thou seekest is already within thee, here and now, couldest thou only see!

James Allen (1864 – 1912)

We do not content ourselves with the life we have in ourselves and in our own being; we desire to live an imaginary life in the mind of others, and for this purpose we desire to shine. We labor unceasingly to adorn and preserve this imaginary existence, and neglect the real. And if we possess calmness or generosity or truthfulness, we are eager to make it known, so as to attach these virtues to that imaginary existence.

Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662)

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 (500 B.C.E.)

Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of reality and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day… we become seekers.

Peter Matthiessen (1927 – 2014)

Shade said to Shadow, “A little while ago, you were moving, and now you are standing still. A little while ago, you were sitting down, and now you are getting up. Why all this indecision?”

Shadow replied, “Don’t I have to depend on others to be what I am? Don’t others also have to depend on something else to be what they are? My dependence is like that of the snake on his skin, or of the cicada on his wing. How can I tell why I do this, or why I do that?”

Zhuang Zhou (369 – 286, B.C.E.)

Only the illimitable permanent is here. A peace stupendous, featureless, still replaces all, what once was I, in it a silent unnamed emptiness content either to fade in the unknowable or thrill with the luminous seas of the Infinite.

Sri Aurobindo (1872 – 1950)

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