O Lord, give me chastity and continency, but not yet.
Poverty is not the absence of goods, but rather the overabundance of desire.
Everything in nature is lyrical in its ideal essence, tragic in its fate, and comic in its existence. Being, then, is the dazzle each of us makes as we thread the dance of those three rhythms of our lives.
“You understand,” said Chaydem, “but the reality of it escapes you. Understanding is nothing. The eyes must be kept open, constantly. To open your eyes you must relax, not strain. Don’t be afraid of falling backwards into a bottomless pit. There is nothing to fall into. You’re in it and of it, and one day, if you persist, you will be it. I don’t say you will have it, please notice, because there’s nothing to possess. Neither are you to be possessed, remember that! You are to liberate your self. There are no exercises, physical, spiritual, to practice. All such things are like incense — they awaken a feeling of holiness. We must be holy without holiness. We must be whole . . . complete. That’s being holy. Any other kind of holiness is false, a snare and a delusion . . .”
In order to arrive there, To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not, You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy. In order to arrive at what you do not know You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance. In order to possess what you do not possess You must go by the way of dispossession. In order to arrive at what you are not You must go through the way in which you are not. And what you do not know is the only thing you know And what you own is what you do not own And where you are is where you are not.
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest criticism and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty and find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived — this is to have succeeded.
Neither by suppression of the material streaming out of the unconscious, out of uncontrolled fancy, dreams, and the byplay of the mind, nor by permanent surrender to the unshaped infinity of the unconscious, but rather through affectionate attention to these hidden sources, and only afterward through criticism and selection from that chaos — thus have all the great artists worked.
The manifesto of the person . . . marks one of the great turning points in the human story . . . We may come to see that tribe, nation, class, social movement, revolutionary masses . . . that all these have, like shadows that eclipse the sun, gained their existence at the expense of something far brighter and more beautiful: our essential and still unexplored self. And, recognizing that truth, we may seek to replace these “higher” social allegiances with an astonishing ethical proposition — that all people are created to be persons, and that persons come first, before all collective fictions.
This oceanic feeling of wonder is the common source of religious mysticism, of pure science and art for art’s sake; it is their common denominator and emotional bond.