The Living Book

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A humble man is not afraid of failure. In fact he is not afraid of anything, even of himself, since perfect humility implies perfect confidence in the power of God, before Whom no other power has any meaning and for Whom there is no such thing as an obstacle.

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)

The waters know their own, and draw
The brook that springs in yonder heights;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delights.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave comes to the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

John Burroughs (1837 – 1921)

I have said that people are rendered sociable by their inability to endure solitude, that is to say, their own society. They become sick of themselves. Their mind is wanting in flexibility; it has no movement of its own, so they try to give it some — by drink, for instance… They are always looking for some form of excitement, of the strongest kind they can bear — the excitement of being with people of like nature with themselves; and if they fail in this, their mind sinks by its own weight, and they fall into grievous lethargy.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860)

The “man of the way” is a familiar concept in all religions. The elect are “called to be saint.” The Buddhist marga, the “path of liberation,” once entered will be followed to the attainment of perfected being. The man of the way in Sufism is the salik or seeker of the truth.

J.G. Bennett (1897 – 1974)

The Veil

My yearning has loosened
the veil hiding Beauty.
She is now mine — but alas,
My own sight is there blocking the view.
The beat of my own heart sounds in my ear.
The wish to live as others do has long been silenced.
What does their world have to offer?
Nothing but the echo of voices yelling, “more, more.”

Ghalib (1797 – 1869)

And watch two men washing clothes, one makes dry clothes wet. The other makes wet clothes dry. They seem to be thwarting each other, but their work is a perfect harmony. Every holy person seems to have a different doctrine and practice, but there’s really only one work.

Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207 – 1273)

As a man-of-war that sails through the sea, so this earth that sails through the air. We mortals are all on board a fast-sailing, never-sinking world-frigate, of which God was the ship-wright… Thus sailing with sealed orders, we ourselves are the repositories of the secret packet, whose mysterious contents we long to learn. There are no mysteries out of ourselves.

Herman Melville (1819 – 1891)