The Living Book

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What guarantee is there that the five senses, taken together, do cover the whole of possible existence? They cover simply our actual experience, our human knowledge of facts or events. There are gaps between the fingers; there are gaps between the senses. In these gaps is the darkness which hides the connection between things… this darkness is the source of our vague fear and anxiety, but also the home of the gods. They alone see the connections, the total relevance of everything that happens; that which now comes to us in bits and pieces, the accidents which exist only in our heads, in our limited perceptions.

Idris Parry (1916 – 2008)

“Is there anything that I can do to make myself enlightened?”

“As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.”

“Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?”

“To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.”

Anthony de Mello (1931 – 1987)

Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly. Let it cut more deep. Let it ferment and season you as few human or even divine ingredients can. Something missing in my heart tonight has made my eyes so soft, my voice so tender, my need of God absolutely clear.

Hafez (1315 – 1390)

True prudence is the knowledge of what to do and what not to do. One who possesses it never refrains from virtuous works and is never pierced by the deadly arrow of vice. Thus, he who understands words of prudence knows the difference between what is insidious, structured for deception and what reminds us quietly about the best way to live life.

Basil the Great (329 – 379)

Three brothers were in the habit of going to see the blessed Anthony every year. The first two would ask him questions about their thoughts and the salvation of the soul. But the third would keep silence without asking anything. Eventually Abba Anthony said to him, “You have been coming here to see me for a long time now and you never ask me any questions.” The other replied, “One thing is enough for me, Father… to see you.”

The Desert Fathers

Everyone of us has had experiences which we have not been able to explain: A sudden sense of loneliness, or a feeling of wonder or awe in the face of the universal vastness. Or we have had a fleeting visitation of light like an illumination from some other sun, giving us in a quick flash an assurance that we are from another world, that our origins are divine.

A. W. Tozer (1897 – 1963)

This is the true joy of life: being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a might one. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to others, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for them whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

Many are avidly seeking, but they alone find who remain in silence. Those who delight in a multitude of words, even though they say admirable things, are empty within. If you love truth, be a lover of silence. Silence like the sunlight will illuminate you in God and will deliver you from the phantoms of ignorance. Silence will unite your soul to God.

Isaac of Nineveh (circa 613 – 700)

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.)