Category Archives: great quotes

The Revolutionary Art of Happiness


“A modern astronomical view says that everything in the universe is moving uniformly away from everything else in all directions into space, so that there is no center point in the cosmos at all. We live with no fixed reference point. From one perspective, this understanding produces the desolate feeling that there is no home. But from another perspective, this realization shows us directly that every point is home. We are free; we do not need to fix on a single center for refuge, for safety. This is love, this is happiness, where our refuge is unbounded, and we are always at home. As the Buddha said, They abide in peace who do not abide anywhere.”

“The path to true happiness is one of integrating and fully accepting all aspects of our experience. […] This unity, this integration, comes from deeply accepting darkness and light, and therefore being able to be in both simultaneously.”

“This is the very nature of life. No one in this world experiences only pleasure and no pain, and no one experiences only gain and no loss. When we open to this truth, we discover that there is no need to hold on or to push away. Rather than trying to control what can never be controlled, we can find a sense of security in being able to meet what is actually happening. This is allowing for the mystery of things: not judging but rather cultivating a balance of mind that can receive what is happening whatever it is. This acceptance is the source of our safety and confidence.”

“The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention.”

“This is the work and the power of lovingkindness, the embrace that allows no separation between self, others, and events—the affirmation and honoring of a core goodness in others and in oneself.”

All quotes by Sharon Salzberg,
Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

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Control and Surrender


“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.”
– Julia Cameron

“All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling.”
– Blaise Pascal

“Art is nothing but the expression of our dream; the more we surrender to it the closer we get to the inner truth of things, our dream-life…”
– Franz Marc

“Control and surrender have to be kept in balance. That’s what surfers do – take control of the situation, then be carried, then take control. In the last few thousand years, we’ve become incredibly adept technically. We’ve treasured the controlling part of ourselves and neglected the surrendering part.”
– Brian Eno

“At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.”
– Maya Angelou

“The individual is all about limitation. Rationalism is all about limitation. Materialism, limitation. But we need to deal with the limitless, because limitation has brought us to the place where we are, and we don’t like it here, evidently. We need to take drugs to cope, or we need to have sex to cope, or we need to get a better job to cope, or we need other people to love us, or to have loads of money, or to be continually given compliments. And for me, as a sort of dyed-in-the-wool standard addict, I need so much of everything so continuously that I’ve had no choice but to recognize that what I really need is absolute surrender. Absolute surrender.”
– Russell Brand

“Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us… While what we call ‘our own life’ remains agreeable, we will not surrender it… What, then, can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness?”
– C. S. Lewis

“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.”
– Gail Sheehy

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Sense of Well-Being


“Looking back over fifty years of science and environmental education, I find that the main thing I have taught is how to pay attention.”

“The average American family of four metabolizes four million pounds of material every year to support their lifestyle. That’s 11,000 lbs. a day, 7.5 lbs. a minute.”

“Contentment is an underrated state of mind in consumer cultures. We hardly know how to recognize it or what to do when we feel content. Maybe we think it’s boring. Or maybe the cynic inside us doesn’t believe it really exists. In Buddhist philosophy, contentment is highly valued as a state free of desire. … A relaxed body, a calm mind, a sense of well-being—nothing more is needed. Can you recognize this state? You realize you don’t need to go to the store to get anything; you have enough. You don’t need to be entertained by sensory stimulus; you have enough. You don’t need to fill a gaping hole of hunger, anger, loneliness, or exhaustion; you are okay just as you are. This is quite a powerful teaching for combating the endless marketing of dissatisfaction.”

All quotes by Stephanie Kaza

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Toward Ultimate Things

pilgrim tourist

“Only the walker who sets out toward ultimate things is a pilgrim. In this lies the terrible difference between tourist and pilgrim. The tourist travels just as far, sometimes with great zeal and courage, gathering up acquisitions, (a string of adventures, a wondrous tale or two), and returns the same person as the one who departed. There is something inexpressibly sad in the clutter of belongings the tourist unpacks back at home.

The pilgrim is different. The pilgrim resolves that the one who returns will not be the same person as the one who set out. Pilgrimage is a passage for the reckless and subtle. The pilgrim—and the metaphor comes to us from distant times—must be prepared to shed the husk of personality or even the body like a worn out coat.”

Quote by Andrew Schelling

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The Most Important Part


“The sea is not less beautiful in our eyes because we know that sometimes ships are wrecked by it.”

“All the natural movements of the soul are controlled by laws analogous to those of physical gravity. Grace is the only exception. Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void. The imagination is continually at work filling up all the fissures through which grace might pass.”

“All sins are attempts to fill voids.”

“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be obtained only by someone who is detached.”

“A beautiful woman looking at her image in the mirror may very well believe the image is herself. An ugly woman knows it is not.”

“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.”

“Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life.”

“An imaginary divinity has been given to man so that he may strip himself of it.”

“Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers’ enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.”

“To die for God is not a proof of faith in God. To die for an unknown and repulsive convict who is a victim of injustice, that is a proof of faith in God.”

“The world is the closed door. It is a barrier. And at the same time it is the way through. Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but it is also their means of communication. Every separation is a link.”

“The most important part of teaching is to teach what it is to know.”

All quotes by Simone Weil

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Love the Questions

Rainer Maria Rilke

“I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Perhaps you do carry within you the possibility of creating and forming, as an especially blessed and pure way of living; train yourself for that — but take whatever comes, with great trust, and as long as it comes out of your will, out of some need of your innermost self, then take it upon yourself.”

Quote by Rainer Maria Rilke

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The Unencumbered Life

Leonard Koren

“Get rid of all that is unnecessary. Wabi-sabi means treading lightly on the planet and knowing how to appreciate whatever is encountered, no matter how trifling, whenever it is encountered. […] In other words, wabi-sabi tells us to stop our preoccupation with success–wealth, status, power, and luxury–and enjoy the unencumbered life. Obviously, leading the simple wabi-sabi life requires some effort and will and also some tough decisions. Wabi-sabi acknowledges that just as it is important to know when to make choices, it is also important to know when not to make choices: to let things be. Even at the most austere level of material existence, we still live in a world of things. Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom of things.”

“Things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness. As dusk approaches in the hinterlands, a traveler ponders shelter for the night. He notices tall rushes growing everywhere, so he bundles an armful together as they stand in the field, and knots them at the top. Presto, a living grass hut. The next morning, before embarking on another day’s journey, he unknots the rushes and presto, the hut de-constructs, disappears, and becomes a virtually indistinguishable part of the larger field of rushes once again. The original wilderness seems to be restored, but minute traces of the shelter remain. A slight twist or bend in a reed here and there. There is also the memory of the hut in the mind of the traveler — and in the mind of the reader reading this description. Wabi-sabi, in its purest, most idealized form, is precisely about these delicate traces, this faint evidence, at the borders of nothingness.”

“Things wabi-sabi have no need for the reassurance of status or the validation of market culture. They have no need for documentation of provenance. Wabi-sabi-ness in no way depends on knowledge of the creator’s background or personality. In fact, it is best if the creator is no distinction, invisible, or anonymous.”

All quotes by Leonard Koren

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Ask the Question


“Peace is not important; absence of suffering is important.”

“The meditating mind stays with the awareness, not with the experience.”

“Mindfulness only happens now, not in the future.”

“Many yogis tell me that meditation is difficult. What they are actually saying is that they cannot get what they want.”

“When meditation is difficult, craving is the problem.”

“If we know nature, we can use nature. The mind is also nature.”

“Awakening is equated by the Buddha with understanding. Understanding comes somatically, affectively and cognitively.”

“Craving always wants the result. Wisdom pays attention to the causes.”

“You will get attached to whatever you do again and again without awareness and wisdom. This is the nature of delusion.”

“When you do any investigation, you must always remember that the mind is doing its own work. If you identify with this process, it becomes very complicated.”

“When awareness is weak, the mind cannot learn.”

“Just ask the question, don’t look for the answer. The answer will come as soon as the mind has gathered enough data.”

All quotes by Sayadaw U Tejaniya

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