··· South ···

We all proceed with approximately the same speed toward the same destiny. But some of us are enjoying the trip more than others.

— James Park, “Sinking into the River of Existential Despair” [via]  <link>

Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality.

— Thomas Merton  <link>

When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.

— Earl Nightingale  <link>

As silence is to noise, God is to creation.

— Brother Joseph  <link>

Litmus Test for Love or Lust

Love can wait to give; lust can’t wait to get.

— Author unknown  <link>


Patience with others is love;
patience with self is hope;
patience with God is faith.

— Adel Bestauras  <link>

Silence is the language God speaks and everything else is a bad translation.

— Thomas Keating  <link>

Silence is the language of God; it is also the language of the heart.

— Dag Hammarskjöld  <link>

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars—and yet, they pass by themselves without wondering.

— St. Augustine  <link>

The act of accepting meaninglessness is in itself a meaningful act.

— Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be  <link>

I love, therefore I am.

— Elder Sophrony , [via]  <link>

The fish in the water are silent,
the animals on the earth are noisy,
the birds in the air are singing.
But man has in him the silence of the sea,
the noise of the earth
and the music of the air.

— Rabindranath Tagore  <link>

Never measure the height of a mountain until you reach the top. Then you will see how low it was.

— Dag Hammarskjöld  <link>

My name is Bruce.
I am a nice shark,
    not a mindless eating machine.
If I am to change this image,
    I must first change myself.
Fish are friends, not food.

from Finding Nemo  <link>

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.

— Gil Stern  <link>

The truth is everyone who sets off on the spiritual journey seeks God, but also in part, herself or himself.

— Jacques Philippe, Time for God: A Guide to Prayer  <link>

Two Kinds of Freedom

Freedom is about choice, and there are two kinds of freedom. There is a freedom to choose to do whatever you want, and another kind of freedom to choose to live for others. One freedom leads in, the other out. One freedom is living with responsibility, the other with disregard except for self. One freedom is full of meaning and purpose, the other is ultimately empty and worthless. One freedom leads to heaven, the other to hell.

— Mark Woodward  <link>

Now—here is my secret: I tell it to you with an openness of heart I doubt I shall ever achieve again, so I pray that you are in a quiet room as you hear these words. My secret is that I need God—that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem capable of giving; to help me to be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond able to love.

— Douglas Coupland, Life After God  <link>

Everything in life is speaking in spite of it’s apparent silence.

— Hazrat Inayat Khan  <link>

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

— Carl Jung  <link>

One of thought’s functions is to project onto you, because you have no form. It has to come up with projection after projection, and just in case you relax out of your role it has to create an diversion, quickly.

— Pamela Wilson  <link>

All life is a breath exhaled by God.
All dying is a breath inhaled by God.

— Hermann Hesse  <link>

Silence and Speech

There are two great forces in the universe, silence and speech. Silence prepares, speech creates. Silence acts, speech gives the impulse to action. Silence compels, speech persuades. The immense and inscrutable processes of the world all perfect themselves within, in a deep and august silence, covered by a noisy and misleading surface of sound—the stir of innumerable waves above, the fathomless resistless mass of the ocean’s waters below. Men see the waves, they hear the rumour and the thousand voices and by these they judge the course of the future and the heart of God’s intention; but in nine cases out of ten they misjudge. Therefore it is said that in History it is always the unexpected that happens. But it would not be the unexpected if men could turn their eyes from superficies and look into substance, if they accustomed themselves to put aside appearances and penetrate beyond them to the secret and disguised reality, if they ceased listening to the noise of life and listened rather to its silence.

— Sri Aurobindo, “The Strength of Stillness”, Karmayogin, 1910  <link>

A farmer was milking his cow. He was just starting to get a good rhythm going when a bug flew into the barn and started circling his head. Suddenly, the bug flew into the cow’s ear. The farmer didn’t think much about it, until the bug squirted out into his bucket. It went in one ear and out the udder.

— Author unknown [via]  <link>

The place where God happens is between each other.

— Rowan Williams, Where God Happens  <link>

The Aim of Your Quest

Don’t look at your form,
    however ugly or beautiful.
Look at love
    and at the aim of your quest…
O you whose lips are parched,
    keep looking for water.
Those parched lips are proof
    that eventually you will reach the source.

— Rumi  <link>

While walking through the forest, you notice the quiet. But when you stop and listen for ten minutes, you suddenly realize it is not so quiet. (Ever notice that the longer you look at stars, the more stars you see?) There are many noises that even your quiet walking disguises. I wonder if this is like prayer…

In our prayer, how often are we paying attention? Just like in the forest, maybe a true silence will help us hear what God is trying to tell us—if we would only listen! He is speaking, but we are too busy with our distractions and often don’t even know it.

— J. Curley [via]  <link>

When someone is seeking, it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.

— Siddhartha to Govinda (Hermann Hesse), Siddhartha  <link>

Advice from a Mountain

Reach for new heights.
Rise above it all.
There is beauty as far as the eye can see.
Be uplifting.
Patience, patience, patience.
Get to the point.
Enjoy the view!

— Ilan Shamir , seen on a t-shirt/poster  <link>

Many people make the mistake of thinking that, since ego is the root of suffering, the goal of spirituality must be to conquer and destroy ego. They struggle to eliminate ego’s heavy hand but…that struggle is merely another expression of ego. We go around and around, trying to improve ourselves through struggle, until we realize that the ambition to improve ourselves is itself the problem. Insights come only when there are gaps in our struggle, only when we stop trying to rid ourselves of thought, when we cease siding with pious, good thoughts against bad, impure thoughts, only when we allow ourselves simply to see the nature of thought.

— Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism  <link>

Thinking is more interesting that knowing, but less interesting than looking.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  <link>

Advice from a Butterfly

Let your true colors show.
Get out of your cocoon.
Take yourself lightly.
Look for the sweetness in life.
Take time to smell the flowers.
Catch a breeze.
We can’t all be monarchs.

— Ilan Shamir , seen on a t-shirt  <link>

This young woman [in the concentration camp] knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. “I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,” she told me. “In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.” Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, “This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.” Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. “I often talk to this tree,” she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. “Yes.” What did it say to her? She answered, “It said to me, ‘I am here—I am here—I am life, eternal life.’”

— Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning  <link>

Advice from a Tree

Stand tall and proud.
Sink your roots deep into the earth.
Be content with your natural beauty.
Go out on a limb.
Drink plenty of water.
Remember your roots.
And enjoy the view.

— Ilan Shamir , seen on a t-shirt/poster  <link>

The things that we love tell us what we are.

— St. Thomas Aquinas  <link>

It is said that there are three sources of evil, “the world, the flesh, and the Devil”; but the world and the flesh would be innocent were it not for the Devil.

— Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue

(This does not abrogate your personal responsibility.)  <link>

I finally decided to be myself; it’s so much simpler that way.

— Charles Mingus  <link>

Walk around feeling like a leaf
Know you could tumble any second
Then decide what to do with your time

— Naomi Shihab Nye [via]  <link>

Once you have tapped your inner self,
the one has made contact with the One sitting inside;
you have met with God.
Then what kind of fear can exist?
What is there to be fearful about,
and what worries are left to encounter?
When you go within, you become still, you become peaceful.
All the waves, those generate within you;
they all originate at the level of your mind.
They all come to a stop.
There is a light within you, and you are also a light.
Both lights assimilate into one.

— Kabir [via]  <link>

Rivers know this: there is no hurry.
We shall get there some day.

— Joan Powers, Pooh’s Little Instruction Book  <link>

Advice from a River

Go with the flow.
Immerse yourself in nature.
Slow down and meander.
Go around the obstacles .
Be thoughtful of those downstream.
Stay current.
The beauty is in the journey.

— Ilan Shamir , seen on a t-shirt/poster  <link>

We live as we dream—alone.

— Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness  <link>

The tyranny of man over man is but the external expression of each man’s enslavement to his own desires. For who is the slave of his own desires necessarily exploits others in order to pay tribute to the tyrant within himself.

— Thomas Merton, The Inner Experience  <link>

Perfection is not achieved when there is nothing left to add, but when nothing remains to be taken away.

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery  <link>

Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.

— Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude  <link>

Every man who delights in uttering a multitude of words, even though he says admirable things, is empty within. If you love truth, be a lover of silence. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be quiet. But then there is born something that draws us to it.

— Isaac of Nineveh  <link>

In our spiritual life we sometimes prefer the shallow water where we can enjoy the experience and feel safe. But while that is good, we need also to launch out into the deep water with all the risks that are involved. That’s where the big fish are—the ones worth catching.

— John Williamson  <link>

The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson  <link>

Men want three things. They want to live, they want not to be oppressed themselves, and they want, most subtly, to be recognized.

Richard Brookhiser  <link>

The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself.

— Rita Mae Brown, Venus Envy  <link>