Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go into the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.
A man is original when he speaks the truth that has always been known to all good men.
You sit in front of the typewriter and the first thing you have to deal with is the government of the mind, the superego, sitting up there on top of your head.
A fly alighting on the sheet of white paper was excuse enough for him to give himself the right to idle. He did not write, for fear of disturbing the fly.
A young man eagerly described what he dreamed of doing for the poor. Said the Master, “When do you propose to make your dream come true?” The young man answered, “As soon as opportunity arrives.” “Opportunity never arrives,” said the Master. “It’s here.”
Hope is a bad thing. It means that you are not what you want to be. It means that part of you is dead, if not all of you. It means that you entertain illusions. It’s a sort of spiritual clap, I should say.
Tomorrow is a great deceiver, and his cheat never grows stale.
Before we can become who we really are, we must become conscious of the fact that the person who we think we are, here and now, is at best an impostor and a stranger.
Wouldn’t this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive?
Don’t touch me! Don’t question me! Don’t speak to me! Stay with me!
The prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.
Poetry is what comes up behind us and whispers the singing name of home in our ears.
Each activity of daily life in which we stretch ourselves on behalf of others is a prayer of action — the times when we scrimp and save in order to get the children something special; the times when we share our car with others on rainy mornings, leaving early to get them to work on time; the times when we keep up correspondence with friends or answer one last telephone call when we are dead tired at night. These times and many more like them are lived prayer.
If we get used to life, that is the crime.
Years ago, my mother gave me a bullet. I put it in my breast pocket. Two years after that I was walking down the street when a berserk evangelist heaved a Gideons Bible out a hotel-room window, hitting me in the chest. The Bible would have gone through my heart if it wasn’t for the bullet.
I have some obsession with how God exists. Is he an essential god or an existential god; is he all-powerful or is he, too, an embattled existential creature who may succeed or fail in his vision?
The Buddha always told his disciples not to waste their time and energy in metaphysical speculation. Whenever he was asked a metaphysical question, he remained silent. Instead, he directed his disciples toward practical efforts. One time he said, “Suppose a man is struck by a poisoned arrow and the doctor wishes to take the arrow out immediately. Suppose the man does not want the arrow removed until he knows who shot it, his age, his parents, and why he shot it. What would happen? If he were to wait until all these questions have been answered, the man might die first.” Life is so short. It must not be spent in endless metaphysical speculation that does not bring us any closer to the truth.
When God sneezed, I didn’t know what to say.