Every morning the New York Times is out on the front step, and I wake up and get my tea and decide whether to meditate first or read the New York Times first. If the New York Times is first, by the time I’m to page four, I am already engaged in the pain and the suffering, the greed and the fear. If I meditate first and come into a kind of spacious awareness, I have a perspective that gives me some leverage so that I don’t just keep drowning in it. It doesn’t mean nonaction; it means that the action comes from a quieter space inside.
Give me the madman’s sudden insight and the child’s spiritual dignity.
Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.
The detached observer is as much entangled as the active participant.
There’s an alternative. There’s always a third way, and it’s not a combination of the other two ways. lt’s a different way.
The universe is the language of God.
When we are not physically starving, we have the luxury to realize psychic and emotional starvation.
It does no good to think moralistically about how much time we waste. Wasted time is usually good soul time.
My feeling is that there is nothing in life but refraining from hurting others and comforting those who are sad.
Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.
The armies of Rome disappeared more than a millennium ago, but the force of the life of a single human whom Roman soldiers put to death continues to shape the development of our species. Who had the power?
The well of Providence is deep. It’s the buckets we bring to it that are small.
I once heard it said — and the saying has haunted me ever since — that if animals believed in the Devil, he would look remarkably like a human being.
O beautiful / Darkness and silence, the two eyes that see God; great staring / Eyes
Last night we had a bouillabaisse which I couldn’t touch because of the terror of its preparation. The secret is to throw live sea creatures into a boiling pot. And we saw a lobster who, while turning red in his death, reached out a claw to snatch and gobble a dying crab. Thus, in this hot stew of the near-dead and burning, one expiring fish swallows another expiring fish while the cook sprinkles saffron onto the squirming.
Colors are the deeds and sufferings of light.
Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing — instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies here. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that binds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls.
There is often in people to whom “the worst” has happened an almost transcendent freedom, for they have faced “the worst” and survived it.
O world, I cannot hold thee close enough.