The Living Book

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Never disregard what your enemies say. They may be severe, they may be prejudiced, they may be determined to see only in one direction, but still in that direction they see clearly. They do not speak all the truth, but they generally speak the truth from one point of view; so far as that goes, attend to them.

Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786 – 1846)

It is not “man” in the abstract who recognizes anything. It is always a certain principle, having become active in him, that recognizes its own counterpart in external nature, when it comes in contact with it. Only he in whom is light can see the light; only the element of love can feel love; only the divinity in man can know God in and through man.

Jacob Boehme (1575 – 1624)

The spiritual life justifies itself to those who live it, but what can we say to those who do not understand? This, at least, we can say: that it is a life whose experiences are proved real to their possessor, because they remain with him when brought closest into contact with the objective realities of life. Dreams cannot stand this test. We wake from them to find that they are but dreams. Wanderings of an overwrought brain do not stand this test. These highest experiences that I have had of God’s presence have been rare and brief — flashes of consciousness which have compelled me to exclaim with surprise, “God is here!”

William James (1842 – 1910), from The Varieties of Religious Experience, attributed to J. Trevor

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.)

One would be apt to think, from the murmurs of impatient mortals, that God owed them a recompense before they had deserved it, and that He was obliged to reward their virtue beforehand. No, let us first be virtuous, and rest assured we shall sooner or later be happy. Let us not require the prize before we have won the victory.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778)

“Don’t look for God,” the Master said. “Just look, and all will be revealed.”

“But how is one to look?”

“Each time you look at anything, see only what is there and nothing else.”

The disciples were bewildered, so the Master made it simpler: “For instance: when you look at the moon, see the moon and nothing else.”

“What else could one see except the moon when one looks at the moon?”

“A hungry person could see a ball of cheese. A lover, the face of his beloved.”

Anthony de Mello (1931 – 1987)