The Living Book

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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)

Man does not know in what rank to place himself. He has plainly gone astray and fallen from his true place, without being able to find it again. He seeks it anxiously and unsuccessfully, everywhere in impenetrable darkness.

Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662)

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)

If we were faultless, we should not be so much annoyed by the defects of those with whom we associate. If we were to acknowledge honestly that we have not virtue enough to bear patiently with our neighbor’s weaknesses, we should show our own imperfection, and this alarms our vanity.

Francois Fenelon (1651 – 1715)

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)

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)

Many think that dying to themselves is what causes them so much pain. But it is actually the part of them that still lives that causes the problem. Death is only painful to you when you resist it. Your imagination exaggerates how bad death will be. Self-love fights with all of its strength to live. Die inwardly as well as outwardly. Let all that is not born of God within you die.

Francois Fenelon (1651 – 1715)

Be like the pearl oyster. There is a pretty Indian fable to the effect that if it rains when the star Svati is in the ascendant, and a drop of rain falls into an oyster, that drop will become a pearl. The oysters know this, so they come to the surface when that star shines, and wait to catch the precious raindrop. When one falls into the shell, quickly the oyster closes it and dives down to the bottom of the sea, there to patiently develop the drop into the pearl. We should be like that. First hear, then understand, and then, leaving all distractions, shut our minds to outside influences, and devote ourselves to developing the truth within us.

Vivekananda (1863 – 1902)