The Living Book

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We often try to banish the gloom and despondency of the present by speculating upon our chances of success in the future; a process which leads us to invent a great many unreal hopes. Every one of them contains the seed of illusion, and disappointment is inevitable when our hopes are shattered.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860)

The notion that we are not awake, that we are not at a level of consciousness where we can understand anything rightly, and where it is impossible to know or have anything real, and where we cannot be in control of ourselves because we are not conscious at the point where control would be possible — is found throughout Platonic, Christian and many other teachings. But consider how difficult — how impossible — it is for us to admit that we are asleep in life. It cannot be an admission. It can only be a gradual realization. And such an experience can only be brought about by the influences of efforts and ideas belonging to the nearly-lost science of awakening. The translators of the gospel could not have properly understood this idea for they translated the Greek “ypnyopew” as “watch” (“Watch, therefore, and pray,” etc.). And this word “watch” is found in many places in the New Testament, but its real meaning is to be “awake.” And the force of this meaning is incalculably greater than that expressed by the term “watch.”

Maurice Nicoll (1884 – 1953)

Dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.

Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892)

A singular strength of mind is therefore required to enable a man to live among others consistently with his own ideas and convictions, to be master of himself, and not fall into the habits or exhibit the same passions as those with whom he associates.

Baruch Spinoza (1632 – 1677)

Freedom is not a constant attribute which we either “have” or “have not.” In fact, there is no such thing as “freedom” except as a word and an abstract concept. There is only one reality: the act of freeing ourselves in the process of making choices. In this process the degree of our capacity to make choices varies with each act, with our practice of life.

Erich Fromm (1900 – 1980)

The moment we make up our mind, that we are going on with this determination to exact God over all, we step out of the world’s parade. We shall find ourself out of adjustment to the ways of the world, and increasingly so as we make progress in The Holy Way. We shall acquire a new viewpoint; a new and different psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to surprise us by its upsurging and its outgoing.

A. W. Tozer (1897 – 1963)

The very discovery of these hidden things is in itself a purifying experience! The soul needs to discover what is inside. The self nature needs to see what it really is, and what it is like, right to the very bottom.

Jeanne Guyon (1648 – 1717)