The Living Book

Explore quotations throughout time

Browse by: Quotation SourceThe Seeker | The Search | The Sacred

Explore all of the quotations in our Living Book…

A little boy wearing the mask of a lion looks quite fierce. He runs out where his little sister is playing and shrieks out in a horrible voice, which shocks and terrifies his sister, making her cry out in terror, and making her attempt to escape from the frightening creature. But when her brother takes off the mask, she runs back to exclaim, “It is my nice brother after all!”

Sri Ramakrishna (1836 – 1886)

The spiritual life justifies itself to those who live it, but what can we say to those who do not understand? This, at least, we can say: that it is a life whose experiences are proved real to their possessor, because they remain with him when brought closest into contact with the objective realities of life. Dreams cannot stand this test. We wake from them to find that they are but dreams. Wanderings of an overwrought brain do not stand this test. These highest experiences that I have had of God’s presence have been rare and brief — flashes of consciousness which have compelled me to exclaim with surprise, “God is here!”

William James (1842 – 1910), from The Varieties of Religious Experience, attributed to J. Trevor

Smoldering joy, oft-puffed by meditation,
Blinding my tearful eyes,
Burst into immortal flames of bliss,
Consumed my tears, my frame, my all.
Thou art I, I am Thou,
Knowing, Knower, Known, as One!
Tranquilled, unbroken thrill, eternally living, ever new peace!
Enjoyable beyond imagination of expectancy, samadhi bliss!
Not a mental chloroform
Or unconscious state without wilful return,
Samadhi but extends my conscious realm
Beyond limits of the mortal frame
To the farthest boundary of eternity
Where I, the Cosmic Sea,
Watch the little ego floating in me.

Paramhansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952)

Let none of us entertain the desire for possessions, for what gain is it to acquire those things which we cannot take with us? Why not rather acquire those that we can take: prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, understanding, charity, love of the poor, faith in Christ, goodness, hospitality? If we obtain these, we shall find them there before us preparing a welcome for us in the land of the meek.

Athanasius of Alexandria (circa 296 – 373)

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)

All we taste, against all we lack, is like a single drop of water against the whole sea… for we feed upon His Immensity, which we cannot devour, and we yearn after His Infinity, which we cannot attain.

Jacob Boehme (1575 – 1624)