The Living Book

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The beauty lies in realizing that you have a right not to be negative, and without that realization you cannot remember yourself. All Self-Remembering has to do with the fact that you came down to this earth, and life here does not correspond with what you came down from, and something in you knows it — that is, has not forgotten it, and that means remembers it.

Maurice Nicoll (1884 – 1953)

The most powerful prayer, one well-nigh omnipotent and the worthiest work of all, is the outcome of a quiet mind. The quieter it is the more powerful, the worthier, the deeper, the more telling and more perfect the prayer is. To the quiet mind all things are possible. What is a quiet mind? A quiet mind is one which nothing weighs or worries, which, free from ties and all self-seeking, is wholly merged into the will of God, and dead as to its own.

Meister Eckhart (circa 1260 – 1328)


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss[ess];
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

We know that when the rich man asked how he could gain eternal life the answer was: “If you will be perfect follow me.” The meaning, in the Greek, is to reach one’s goal. “Sin” meant, in the original, “missing the mark.” The psychological idea emerges quite clearly when we consider the real meaning of these two words. The goal is to perfect oneself, to become complete, and sin is all that that causes one to miss the goal.

Maurice Nicoll (1884 – 1953)

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)

God is gathering us out of all regions till he can make resurrection of our own hearts from the very earth, and teach us that we are all of one substance, and members of one another. For the one who loves his neighbor loves God, and the one who loves God, loves his own soul.

Saint Anthony of the Desert (circa 251 – 356)

From all this it may be concluded that an unregenerate man is like one who sees phantoms at night… and afterwards, when he is being regenerated, he is like the same man seeing in the early dawn that the things he saw at night are delusions.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 – 1772)

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)

Conversion is no repairing of the old building; but it takes all down, and erects a new structure… Conversion is a deep work, a heart-work; it turns all upside down, and makes a man be in a new world. It goes throughout with men — throughout the mind, throughout the members, throughout the motions of the whole life.

Richard Alleine (circa 1610 – 1681)

As one beholds through a small window
A single green leaf,
a small patch of the vast blue sky,
So I began to perceive Thee,
in the beginning of All things.
As the leaf faded and withered,
the patch covered as with a Dark cloud,
So didst Thou fade and vanish,
But to be reborn again,
As the single green leaf,
as the small patch of the blue sky.
For many lives have I seen the bleak winter and the Green spring.
Prisoned in my little room,
I could not behold the entire tree nor the whole sky.
I swore there was no tree nor the vast sky — That was the truth.
Through time and destruction My window grew large.
I beheld, Now,
A branch with many leaves,
And a greater patch of the blue, with many clouds.
I forgot the single green leaf,
the small patch of the vast blue.
I swore there was no tree, nor the immense sky — That was the truth.
Weary of this prison,
This small cell, I raged at my window.
With bleeding fingers I tore away brick after brick,
I beheld, Now,
The entire tree, its great trunk,
Its many branches, and its thousand leaves,
And an immense part of the sky.
I swore there was no other tree,
no other part to the sky — That was the truth.
This prison no longer holds me, I flew away through the window,
O friend, I behold every tree and the vast expanse of the limitless sky.
Though I live in every single leaf and in every small
Patch of the vast blue sky,
Though I live in every prison,
looking out through every small casement, Liberated am I.
Lo! not a thing shall bind me — This is the truth.

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895 – 1986)

Abba Lot came one day to see Abba Joseph and said to him, “Father, I keep my little rule to the best of my ability. I observe my modest fast and my contemplative silence. I say my prayers and do my meditation. I endeavour as far as I can to drive useless thoughts out of my heart. What more can I do?”

The elder rose to answer and lifted his hands to heaven. His fingers looked like lighted candles and he said, “Why not become wholly fire?”

The Desert Fathers

When God sees that in all purity of heart you are trusting in him more than in yourself… then a strength unknown to you will come to make its dwelling in you. And you will feel in all your senses the power of him who is with you.

Isaac of Nineveh (circa 613 – 700)

Fall in love with Wisdom and she will keep you… put her around you, and she will exalt you… honor her that she may embrace you… For what can anyone find shameful in the love of Wisdom or in the person who professes himself a “lover” of wisdom?

Origen (184 – 253)