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When you do not realize that you are one with the river, or one with the universe, you have fear. Whether it is separated into drops or not, water is water. Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact, we have no fear of death anymore. --Shunryu Suzuki (in A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality)

An act that positively influences the life of both the giver and the receiver is a kindness. It doesn't have to cost money or be difficult to perform. It can be spontaneous or premeditated. It can be as simple as a smile or a thank you, or as complicated as starting a non-profit organization to benefit those in need. Actively seeking out opportunities to assist others will naturally bring a certain amount of warmth and feeling of self-worth to each of us. It feels good to help others and others feel good knowing someone wants to help them. --Chuck Wall (in Giver and Receiver)

It's only when there is complete surrender to the now, to what is, that liberation is possible. I do not believe that a practice will take you into complete surrender. Complete surrender usually happens through living. Your very life is the ground where that happens. --Eckhart Tolle (in Untitled)

Meditation is to be aware of what is going on-in our bodies, in our feelings, in our minds, and in the world. Each day 40,000 children die of hunger. The superpowers now have more than 50,000 nuclear warheads, enough to destroy our planet many times. Yet the sunrise is beautiful, and the rose that bloomed this morning along the wall is a miracle. Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects. Please do not think we must be solemn in order to meditate. In fact, to meditate well, we have to smile a lot. --Thich Nhat Hanh (in Untitled)

Life is a mystery until you touch the reality beyond the veil. When the mind is still and the search is intense, we have the vision to see reality all around us. Every person you meet is in a world you could know. Nature waits for our entrance, whether it is a forest or a rose. All around us is the presence waiting for a quiet mind and an open heart. Walking through the markets and riding in the subway, we can be close to the reality. We are moving through various states of reality during the day. --Herman Rednick (in Reality Beyond The Veil)

It's no longer possible for anyone to remain unaware of the global transformation we are experiencing. Global consciousness is undergoing a total revolution - a reharmonization of our priorities as a species. Our individual keynotes are forming a new chord. At the center of this shift is the development of the skill of listening. Not just listening as in hearing sounds, but also inner listening - awareness of emotions, feelings, thoughts, and all the events of the inner life of each of us individually and all of us together. --David Gordon (in Untitled)

The Wise Man believes profoundly in silence - the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The man who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence - not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree, not a ripple upon the surface of the shining pool - this, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life. Silence is the cornerstone of character. --Ohiyesa, Wahpeton Santee Sioux (in Untitled)

Consider a man riding a bicycle. Whoever he is, we can say three things about him. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. Most important of all, we know that if at any point between the beginning and the end of his journey he stops moving and does not get off the bicycle he will fall off it. That is a metaphor for the journey through life of any living thing, and I think of any society of living things. --William Golding (in Pedals for Progress)

Every single moment has a particular rhythm to it, and we have the capacity to expand or contract an individual moment as appropriate. One way to shift what's going on in our world is not to try to rush to do more, but to allow ourselves to go deeper into that moment of being present. Our ability to shift gears, to shift our rhythm to meet that moment and be present in it, is what allows us to experience the fullness of life. --Stephan Rechtschaffen (in 6 Tips for Living in the Moment)

We all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade. ... And the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct. It is a good instinct if you don't distort it and pervert it. Don't give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity. --Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (in Dr. King's Definition of Service)

In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one's social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education ... But internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one's development as a human being: honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men - qualities within the reach of every soul - are the foundation of one's spiritual life. Never forget that a saint is a sinner that keeps on trying. --Nelson Mandela (in Untitled)

To know that you are the timeless reality is all I care to see, and this is our only meeting place. Our journey is to awaken the greatest capacity, to ignite an understanding that combines life's highest ideals with pure practicality. My work is to support and fortify a deepening of spirit, to enhance a sense of trust in one's own authority, love, acceptance, and ultimately enlightenement. This work is ever changing, you are the one that defines it. It is you that call yourself and answer yourself in me. You may wonder why you don't answer yourself directly; the answer is the same: you do. We are one. --Shantimayi (in Untitled)

If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be. --Joseph Campbell (in Untitled)

If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes. --Albert Einstein (in The Art of Powerful Questions)

Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you. --Don Juan as quoted by Carlos Casteneda (in A Path With Heart)

When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. --Alan Watts (in Commuting to Inner Peace)

In the strictest sense, we cannot actually think about life and reality at all, because this would have to include thinking about thinking, thinking about thinking about thinking, and so *ad infinitum*. One can only attempt a rational, descriptive philosophy of the universe on the assumption that one is totally separate from it. But if you and your thoughts are part of this universe, you cannot stand outside them to describe them. This is why all philosophical and theological systems must ultimately fall apart. To 'know' reality you cannot stand outside and define it; you must enter into it, be it, and feel it. --Alan Watts (in Untitled)

The past is never dead. It's not even past. All of us labor in webs spun long before we were born, webs of heredity and environment, of desire and consequence, of history and eternity. Haunted by wrong turns and roads not taken, we pursue images perceived as new but whose providence dates to the dim dramas of childhood, which are themselves but ripples of consequence echoing down the generations. The quotidian demands of life distract from this resonance of images and events, but some of us feel it always. --William Faulkner (in Secret to Long Life: School)

One has to work in the world; naturally, carry on your worldly affairs, but understand that that which has come about by itself - that is, this body, mind and consciousness - has appeared in spite of the fact that nobody has asked for it. The life force and the mind are operating, but the mind will tempt you to believe that it is "you". Therefore, understand always that you are the timeless, spaceless witness. And even if the mind tells you that you are the one who is acting, don't believe the mind. Always keep your identity separate from that which is doing the working, thinking and talking. That which has happened - that is, the apparatus which is functioning - has come upon your original essence, but you are not that apparatus. --Nisargadatta Maharaj (in Untitled)

Love is the form that gives life to the process and is itself increased by its own endeavor. Love becomes quite literally all. In states of coherence one is marrying oneself on all levels. Love then takes the next quantum leap and one loves all others in one's immediate reality. This then moves to an all-encompassing love for all and everything. And so loves becomes the most gentle and most powerful agent for the fielding and forming of reality. In love the lenses fall away. In love one forms all formings. In loves one arrives home at last. --Jean Huston (in Lenses Fall Away)

I wouldn't give a nickel for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity. --Albert Einstein (in 8 Approaches to Simplicity)

At every moment in every person’s life there is work to be done, always work to be done, some of it small, some of it Great. The Great Work, in a sense, always has to do with healing the world, changing the world, and, as a necessary predicate to that, understanding the world. You rise every morning aware that you are called to this work. You won’t live to see it finished. But if you can’t hear it calling, you aren’t listening hard enough. It’s always calling, sometimes in a big voice, sometimes in a quiet voice. --Tony Kushner (in The Great Work)

You cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it. Indeed, you cannot grasp it, just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket. If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed, for in the bucket the water does not run. To "have" running water you must let go of it and let it run. --Alan Watts (in Let It Run)

You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round..... The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours... Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. --Black Elk, Oglala (in Untitled)

The sculptor, Michelangelo, was once asked how it was that he could create such beautiful works. "It's very simple," he answered. "When I look at a block of marble, I see the sculpture inside it. All I have to do is remove what doesn't belong." The master says: "There is a work of art each of us was destined to create. That is the central point of our life, and -- no matter how we try to deceive ourselves -- we know how important it is to our happiness. Usually, that work of art is covered by years of fears, guilt and indecision. But, if we decide to remove those things that do not belong, if we have no doubt as to our capability, we are capable of going forward with the mission that is our destiny. That is the only way to live with honor." --Paulo Coelho (in Untitled)

The ongoing *WOW* is happening right now. We are all co-authors of this dancing exuberance, for even our inabilities are having a roast. We are the authors of ourselves, co-authoring a gigantic Dostoevsky novel starring clowns. This entire thing we're involved with called the world is an opportunity to exhibit how exciting alienation can be. Life is a matter of a miracle that is collected over time by moments flabbergasted to be in each others' presence. The world is an exam, to see if we can rise into the direct experiences. Our eyesight is here as a test, to see if we can see beyond it. Matter is here as a test for our curiosity. Doubt is here as an exam for our vitality. --Timothy Levitch (in The Ongoing Wow)

The day I saw beneath dark clouds the passing light over the water and I heard the voice of the world speak out, I knew then, as I had before life is no passing memory of what has been nor the remaining pages in a great book waiting to be read. It is the opening of eyes long closed. It is the vision of far off thinks seen for the silence they hold. It is in the heart after years of secret conversing speaking out loud in the clear air. It is Moses in the desert fallen to his knees before the lit bush. It is the man throwing away his shoes as if to enter heaven and finding himself astonished, opened at last, fallen in love with solid ground. --David Whyte (in The Opening of Eyes)

My life seems to be an increasing revelation of the intimate face of universal struggle. You begin with your family and the kids on the block, and next you open your eyes to what you call your people, and that leads you into land reform into Black English into Angola leads you back to your own bed where you lie by yourself, wondering if you deserve to be peaceful, or trusted or desired or left to the freedom of your own unfaltering heart. And the scale shrinks to the size of a skull: your own interior cage. And then if you’re lucky, and I have been lucky, everything comes back to you. And then you know why one of the freedom fighters in the sixties, a young Black woman interviewed shortly after she was beaten up for riding near the front of the interstate bus––you know why she said, 'We are all so very happy'? It’s because it's on. All of us and me by myself: we’re on. --June Jordan (in We're On!)

“My life seems to be an increasing revelation of the intimate face of universal struggle. You begin with your family and the kids on the block, and next you open your eyes to what you call your people, and that leads you into land reform into Black English into Angola leads you back to your own bed where you lie by yourself, wondering if you deserve to be peaceful, or trusted or desired or left to the freedom of your own unfaltering heart. And the scale shrinks to the size of a skull: your own interior cage. And then if you’re lucky, and I have been lucky, everything comes back to you. And then you know why one of the freedom fighters in the sixties, a young Black woman interviewed shortly after she was beaten up for riding near the front of the interstate bus––you know why she said, ‘We are all so very happy’? It’s because it’s on. All of us and me by myself: we’re on." --june jordan, poet (in Untitled)

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life... He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil---he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego. The other is good -- he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too." They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed." --Author Unknown (in Untitled)

A student approached his spiritual teacher, bowed in respect and asked: "What is the secret of life?" The teacher replied, "Good judgement." The student bowed again and asked, "How do you get good judgement?" The teacher said, "Experience." The student bowed one more time and queried, "And how does one get experience?" The teacher replied, "Bad judgement!" --Teaching from Vajra tradition (in Untitled)

Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still. For once on the face of the earth let's not speak in any language, let's stop for one second, and not move our arms so much. It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines, we would all be together in a sudden strangeness. Fishermen in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands. Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victory with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing. What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about; I want no truck with death. If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive. Now I'll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go. --Pablo Neruda (in Keeping Quiet)


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