The Living Book

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And it is in this darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our own minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away from our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure.

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)

For if Life were questioned a thousand years and asked, “Why Live?”, and if there were an answer, it could be no more than this: “I live only to live!” And that is because Life is its own reason for being, springs from its own source, and goes on and on, without ever asking why — just because it is life. Thus, if you ask a genuine person, that is, one who acts (uncalculatingly) from his heart, “Why are you doing that?”, he will reply in the only possible way: “I do it because I do it!”

Meister Eckhart (circa 1260 – 1328)

Horses and oxen have four feet. That is natural. Place a halter on the head of a horse, or a rope through the nose of an ox. This is unnatural.

Taoism

Happy is he who bears within himself a god, an ideal of beauty, and obeys it; ideal of art, of science, of patriotism, of the virtues symbolized by the Gospels. These are living sources of great thoughts and great acts. All are lighted by reflection from the infinite.

Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895)

To come to the pleasure you have not
You must go by a way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not
You must go by a way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
You must go by a way in which you possess not.
To come to be what you are not
You must go by a way in which you are not.

St. John of the Cross (1542 – 1591)