Where there is great love, there are always miracles. Miracles rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming to us from afar, but on our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.
As for me, my bed is made: I am against bigness and greatness in all their forms, and for the invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, stealing in through the crannies of the world like so many soft rootlets. Or like the capillary oozing of water, and yet rending the hardest monuments of man’s pride, if you give them time.
Man lives and evolves by “eating” significance, as a child eats food. The deeper his sense of wonder, the wider his curiosity, the stronger his vitality becomes, and the more powerful his grip on his own existence.
For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.
After fifteen years of total solitude, St. Seraphim of Sarow exclaimed at the sight of the least visitor: “Oh joy!” Would one who had never refrained from rubbing shoulders with his fellow men have dared to greet them in such an extravagant fashion?
What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.
I wouldn’t write a book to win a fight. I’d rather go fifteen rounds with Sonny Liston. At least it would be over in an hour and I could go to bed. But a book takes me two years, if I’m lucky. Eight hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, that’s the only way I know how to do it. You have to sit alone in a room with only a tree out the window to talk to. You have to sit there churning out draft after draft of crap, waiting like a neglected baby for just one drop of mother’s milk.
A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
One must learn to love, and go through a good deal of suffering to get to it, like any knight of the grail, and the journey is always toward the other soul, not away from it. Do you think that love is an accomplished thing, the day it is recognized? It isn’t. To love, you have to learn to understand the other more than she understands herself, and to submit to her understanding of you. It is damnably difficult and painful, but it is the only thing which endures. You mustn’t think that your desire or your fundamental need is to make a career, or to fill up your life with activity, or even provide for your family materially. It isn’t. Your most vital necessity in life is that you shall love your wife completely and implicitly and in entire nakedness of body and spirit. Then you will have peace and inner security no matter how many things go wrong. And this peace and security will leave you free to act and to produce your own work, a real and independent workman.
There are so many little dyings everyday, it doesn’t matter which one of them is death.
Our own heart always exceeds us.
Every day, we turn life’s Chinese boxes inside out. At the center is the infinite universe; then, each a little larger and enclosing the last, come successive realities — all the way down to our country, our city, our community, our family, until, on the outside, enclosing everything, is ourselves.
In Islamic legend, a king sewed up a peacock’s head in a bag so there would be nothing to distract from the beauty of its tail. The bird forgot what the world was like, assumed that all existence was encompassed within the limits of the bag. Its beauty was beyond its comprehension.
The stories we tell ourselves are a way of seeing through the bag, a way of making the Chinese boxes transparent, so that we can see through our own lives into the infinite heart of the puzzle. The stories help us comprehend whatever beauty our lives accidentally make as we blindly move through time.
To confront a person with his own shadow is to show him his own light.
Now all my teachers are dead except silence.
I have died so little today, friend, forgive me.