If you have any notion of where you are going, you will never get anywhere.
I refuse to be intimidated by reality anymore. What is reality? Nothing but a collective hunch.
Dreams are real while they last; can we say more of life?
When our first parents were driven out of Paradise, Adam is believed to have remarked to Eve: “My dear, we live in an age of transition.”
Only our concept of time makes it possible for us to speak of the Day of Judgment by that name; in reality it is a summary court in perpetual session.
Have you ever sat very quietly without any movement? You try it, sit really still, with your back straight, and observe what your mind is doing. Don’t try to control it, don’t say it should not jump from one thought to another, but just be aware of how your mind is jumping. Don’t do anything about it, but watch it as from the banks of a river you watch the river flow by. In the flowing river there are so many things — fishes, leaves, dead animals — but it is always living, moving, and your mind is like that. It is everlastingly restless, flitting from one thing to another like a butterfly . . . just watch your mind. It is great fun. If you try it as fun, as an amusing thing, you will find that the mind begins to settle down without any effort on your part to control it. There is then no censor, no judge, no evaluator; and when the mind is thus very quiet of itself, spontaneously still, you will discover what it is to be gay. Do you know what gaiety is? It is just to laugh, to take delight in anything or nothing, to know the joy of living, smiling, looking straight into the face of another without any sense of fear.
Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.
The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us.
Close friendships, Gandhi says, are dangerous, because “friends react on one another” and through loyalty to a friend one can be led into wrong-doing. This is unquestionably true. Moreover if one is to love God, or to love humanity as a whole, one cannot give one’s preference to any individual person. This again is true, and it marks the point at which the humanistic and the religious attitude cease to be reconciliable. To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others. The autobiography leaves it uncertain whether Gandhi behaved in an inconsiderate way to his wife and children, but at any rate it makes clear that on three occasions he was willing to let his wife or a child die rather than administer the animal food prescribed by the doctor. . . .
There must, he says, be some limit to what we will do in order to remain alive, and the limit is well on this side of chicken broth. The attitude is perhaps a noble one but, in the sense which — I think — most people give to the word, it is inhuman. The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one’s love upon other human individuals. No doubt alcohol, tobacco and so forth are things that a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid.
“Know thyself?” If I knew myself, I’d run away.
The human condition is such that pain and effort are not just symptoms which can be removed without changing life itself; they are rather the modes in which life itself, together with the necessity to which it is bound, makes itself felt. For mortals, the “easy life of the gods” would be a lifeless life.
We have to endure the discordance between imagination and fact. It is better to say, “I am suffering,” than to say, “This landscape is ugly.”
The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside. And only he who listens can speak. Is this the starting point of the road toward the union of your two dreams — to be allowed in clarity of mind to mirror life and purity of heart to mold it?
I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later.