The Living Book

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Let us not ask, “Why was I placed in this body?” or “Why was I not made an angel?” Does not God show partiality? Do we not have free will? All these questions simply multiple vanity. How can the creature say to the Creator, “Why did you make me like this?” or how can a creature answer back to God? Let all these kinds of discussions cease. Instead, let those discussions prevail which guide us towards virtue and knowledge. All that is present in this age of shadows is called vanity and shadows, and all that belongs to this life will be covered with the darkness, becoming obsolete upon departing this life.

Evagrius Ponticus (345 – 399 AD)

The tormenting feeling of hopelessness exists only in a person who still thinks he must be who he thinks he must be. The agony of hopelessness falls away from anyone who really sees he need not be anyone at all in the eyes of himself or the world. Then, hopelessness is replaced by living with complete power and peace — a new kind of power, a new kind of peace.

Vernon Howard (1918 – 1992)

No man can see over his own height. Let me explain what I mean. You cannot see in another man any more than you have in yourself. Your own level strictly determines the extent to which he comes within your understanding. If your intelligence is unawakened, mental qualities in another, even though they be of the highest kind, will have no effect on you at all… his higher mental qualities will no more exist for you than colors exist for those who cannot see.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860)

Saint Augustine cries, “Lord I cannot love you, but come in and love yourself in me.” According to Saint Paul, we must put off our own natural form and put on the form of God, and Saint Augustine tells us to discard our own mode of nature. Then the divine nature will flow in and be revealed. Saint Augustine says, “Those who seek and find, find not. He who seeks and finds not, he alone finds.” Saint Paul says, “What I was, was not I, it was God in me.”

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)

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)

Love between human beings springs from a desire to be made free of another world than one’s own. Every true communion of lovers is a mutual discovery and recognition. Every passion is a passion for release, for that loss of one’s self by which alone one gains life.

Gerald Bullett (1893 – 1958)

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