The Living Book

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Do they cast us out of the city? They cannot cast us out of that which is in the heavens. If they who hate us could do this, they would be doing something real against us. So long, however, as they cannot do this, they are but pelting us with drops of water or striking us with the wind.

Gregory of Nazianzus (329 – 390)

A man shows his character just in the way in which he deals with trifles — for then he is off his guard. This will often afford a good opportunity of observing the boundless egoism of a man’s nature, and his total lack of consideration for others; and if these defects show themselves in small things, or merely in his general manner, you will find that they also underlie his action in matters of importance, and although he may disguise the fact… Do not trust him beyond your door.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860)

A man should orient his will and all his works to God and having only God in view go forward unafraid, not thinking, “Am I right or am I wrong?” One who worked out all the chances before starting his first fight would never fight at all. And if, going to someplace, we must think how to set the front foot down, we shall never get there. It is our duty to do the next thing: go straight on, that is the right way.

Meister Eckhart (circa 1260 – 1328)

Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with all looking on and applauding as though on stage. But active love is labor and fortitude, and for some people too, perhaps, a complete science.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 – 1881)

Nothing can trouble him more, nothing can move him, for he has cut all the thousand cords of will which hold us bound to the world… as desire, fear, envy, anger, drag us here and there in constant pain. He now looks back smiling and at rest on the delusions of the world, which once were able to move and agonize his spirit also.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860)

To pursue trifles is the lot of humanity; and whether we bustle in a pantomime or strut at a coronation, whether we shout at a bonfire or harangue in a senate-house — whatever object we follow, it will at last surely conduct us to futility and disappointment.

Oliver Goldsmith (circa 1728 – 1774)

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)

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.)

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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