The Living Book

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Unless he attains inner unity man can have no ‘I,’ can have no will. The concept of “will” in relation to a man who has not attained inner unity is entirely artificial. The whole of life is composed of small things which we continually obey and serve. Our ‘I’ continually changes as in a kaleidoscope. Every external event which strikes us, every suddenly aroused emotion, becomes caliph for an hour, begins to build and govern, and is, in its turn, as unexpectedly deposed and replaced by something else. And the inner consciousness, without attempting to disperse the illusory designs created by the shaking of the kaleidoscope and without understanding that in reality the power that decides and acts is not itself, endorses everything and says about these moments of life in which different external forces are at work, “This is I, this is I.”

P. D. Ouspensky (1878 – 1947)

The center of every man’s existence is a dream. Death, disease, and insanity are merely material accidents, like a toothache or a twisted ankle. That these brutal forces always besiege and often capture the citadel does not prove that they are the citadel.

G. K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936)

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)

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)

There are some men — but the smaller number — who instantly, and as though by prophetic intuition, perceive the truth, surrender themselves to its influence, and live up to its precepts. Others — and they are the majority — are brought to the knowledge of the truth and the necessity for its adoption, by a long series of errors, by experience and suffering.

Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910)

A man should orient his will and all his works to God and having only God in view go forward unafraid, not thinking, “Am I right or am I wrong?” One who worked out all the chances before starting his first fight would never fight at all. And if, going to someplace, we must think how to set the front foot down, we shall never get there. It is our duty to do the next thing: go straight on, that is the right way.

Meister Eckhart (circa 1260 – 1328)