The strength, vitality, and effectiveness of thought is seldom considered. Thought, you may say, will not stop a war — yet what do you think started such a war? Throughout history the downtrodden have often risen into power, using force, rebelling against their oppressors; and yet, learning little from that experience, they turn and become the new elite, the new power-holders. Their physical conditions may be completely changed. Now theirs, the offices of government, the wealth. Gone are the conditions that, it would seem, caused the uprising. Yet in retaliation they strike out, forming a new class of downtrodden who must in their turn rise and retaliate.
Despite all appearances, conditions of an exterior nature do not cause wars, or poverty, or disease, or any of the unfortunate circumstances apparent in the world. Your beliefs form your reality. Your thoughts generate practical experience. When these change, conditions will change.
Whatever the self describes, describes the self.
We love when this man Ulysses comes back in disguise for his revenge. But suppose he forgot what he came back for and just sat around day in, day out in the disguise. This happens to many a frail spirit who forgets what the disguises are for, doesn’t understand complexity or how to return to simplicity. From telling different things to everyone, forgets what the case is originally and what he wants himself. How rare is simple thought and pureheartedness! Even a moment of pureheartedness I bow down to, down to the ground.
There’s no such thing as happiness, only concentration. When you’re concentrated, you’re happy. Also, when you’re not thinking about yourself a lot, you’re usually happy.
I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds, yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.
Not only should you believe in what you are doing, but you should know what you are doing.
That is what kills political writing, this absurd pretense that you are delivering a great utterance. You never do. You are just a puzzled man making notes about what you think. You are not building the Pantheon, then why act like a graven image? You are drawing sketches in the sand which the sea will wash away. What more is your book but your infinitesimal scratching, and who the devil are you to be grandiloquent and impersonal?
The truth is you’re afraid to be wrong. And so you put on these airs and use these established phrases, knowing that they will sound familiar and will be respected. But this fear of being wrong is a disease. You cover and qualify and elucidate, you speak vaguely, you mumble because you are afraid of the sound of your own voice. And then you apologize for your timidity by frowning learnedly on anyone who honestly regards thought as an adventure, who strikes ahead and takes his chances.
You are like a man trying to be happy, like a man trying too hard to make a good mashie shot in golf. It can’t be done by trying so hard to do it. Whatever truth you contribute to the world will be one lucky shot in a thousand misses. You cannot be right by holding your breath and taking precautions.
In America you can say anything you want — as long as it doesn’t have any effect.
They call it the Halls of Justice because the only place you can get justice is in the halls.
The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress.
Anonymity allows me to renounce myself, but in renouncing myself I come to affirm myself more strongly. . . . The same practice makes me seek the noise hidden in silence, the movement in immobility, life in the inanimate, the infinite in the finite, form in space, and myself in anonymity.
Life must be so ordered that the individual can live a natural life attending to what is within.
That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg, is enough to make one despair of political humanity.
An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. Scientists made a great invention by calling their activities hypotheses and experiments. They made it permissible to fail repeatedly until in the end they got the results they wanted. In politics or government, if you made a hypothesis and it didn’t work out, you had your head cut off. The first time you fail outside the scientific world you are through.
Centering: that act which precedes all others on the potter’s wheel. The bringing of the clay into a spinning, unwobbling pivot, which will then be free to take innumerable shapes as potter and clay press against each other. The firm, tender, sensitive pressure which yields as much as it asserts. It is like a handclasp between two living hands, receiving the greeting at the very moment they give it. It is this speech between the hand and the clay that makes me think of dialogue. And it is a language far more interesting than the spoken vocabulary which tries to describe it, for it is spoken not by the tongue and lips but by the whole body, by the whole person, speaking and listening.
And with listening too, it seems to me, it is not the ear that hears, it is not the physical organ that performs that act of inner receptivity. It is the total person who hears. Sometimes the skin seems to be the best listener, as it prickles and thrills, say to a sound or a silence; or the fantasy, the imagination: how it bursts into inner pictures as it listens and then responds by pressing its language, its forms, into the listening clay. To be open to what we hear, to be open in what we say. . . .
Love that ends is the shadow of love; true love is without beginning or end.
The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. . . . Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all things will be added unto you.
Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.