The Living Book

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The Fourth Striving: From the beginning of one’s existence, to pay as quickly as possible for one’s arising and individuality, in order afterward to be free to lighten as much as possible the sorrow of our Common Father.

G. I. Gurdjieff (1866 – 1949)

It is an extraordinary fact and an extraordinary piece of evidence for the truth of religion, that a person’s long hours spent in silent communication with God, who never directly answers, is nevertheless manifestly a two-way communication. Such a person is gradually and permanently altered in the depths of his personality in ways which would be inconceivable if there was really nothing there at all.


A man of intellect is like an artist who gives a concert without help from anyone else, playing on a single instrument — perhaps a piano, which is a small orchestra in itself. Such a man is a small world in himself, and the effects produced by various instruments together, he produces all by himself, in the unity of his own consciousness.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860)

Love your solitude and bear with sweet-sounding lamentation the suffering it causes you. For those who are near you are far, you say, and that shows it is beginning to grow wide about you. And when what is near you is far, then your distance is already among the stars and very large; rejoice in your growth, in which you naturally can take no one with you, and be kind to those who remain behind, and be sure and calm before them and do not torment them with your doubts and do not frighten them with your confidence or joy which they could not understand.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926)

God never ceases to speak to us, but the noise of the world without, and the tumult of our passions within, bewilder us, and prevent us from listening. All must be silent around us, and all must be still within us, when we would listen with our whole souls to this voice. It is a still, small voice, and is only heard by those who listen to no other. Alas! How seldom is it that the soul is so still that it can hear when God speaks to it!

Francois Fenelon (1651 – 1715)

You will never be able to have perfect interior peace and recollection unless you are detached even from the desire of peace and recollection. You will never be able to pray perfectly until you are detached from the pleasures of prayer.

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926)