That which you worship is the first thought that comes to your mind when you are suffering anxiety.
I was a neurotic for years. I was anxious and depressed and selfish. Everyone kept telling me to change. I resisted them, and I agreed with them, and I wanted to change, but simply couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. What hurt the most was that, like the others, my best friend kept insisting that I change. So I felt powerless and trapped. Then, one day, he said to me, “Don’t change. I love you just as you are.”
Love is tremendously passionate and therefore it acts immediately. It has no time interval between the seeing and the doing. And when you have that love you can put away all your sacred books, all your gods.
Toulouse-Lautrec was lying on his bed, dying, when his father, an old eccentric, came to see him and began catching flies. Lautrec said, “Old fool!” and died.
Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.
Every sorrow suggests a thousand songs, and every song recalls a thousand sorrows, and so they are infinite in number, and all the same.
Our horizons should broaden from the narrow circle of those known to us to include all those in need or suffering, whole nations as well as individuals. When I quiet my words and let myself simply be open, I find myself praying for the people who are dying right now, the babies who are being born right now, the frail old woman lying sleepless in a nursing home right now, the prisoners who are being tortured right now.
Think of the worst experience you’ve ever had with a clerk in some government-service job — motor vehicles, hospital, whatever — and add the life-threatening condition of impending starvation or homelessness to the waiting line, multiply the anxiety by an exponent of ten, and you have some idea of what it’s like in a welfare center.
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
Why do people lavish decoration on this set of bones, destined to disappear without a trace?
The ground on which the ball bounces is another bouncing ball.
I tried for years to live according to everyone else’s morality. I tried to live like everyone else, to be like everyone else. I said the right things even when I felt and thought quite differently. And the result is a catastrophe.
Things do not change; we do.
Despite everybody who has been born and died, the world has just gone on. I mean, look at Napoleon — we went right on. Look at Harpo Marx — the world went around, it didn’t stop for a second. It’s sad but true. John Kennedy, right?
What is hardest to accept about the passage of time is that the people who once meant the most to us are wrapped in parentheses.
Even if your house is flooded or burned to the ground, whatever the danger that threatens it, let it concern only the house. If there’s a flood, don’t let it flood your mind. If there’s a fire, don’t let it burn your heart. Let it be merely the house . . . that is flooded and burned. Allow the mind to let go of its attachments. The time is ripe.
I found the answer [to how and what to paint] when I joined a school of painters in Paris after the war who called themselves neomeditationists. . . . They believed an artist had to wait for inspiration, very quietly, and they did most of their waiting at the Café du Dôme or the Rotonde with brandy. It was then that I realized that all the really good ideas I’d ever had came to me while I was milking a cow. So I went back to Iowa.