There are few who have at once thought and capacity for action. Thought expands, but lames; action animates, but narrows.
What is the true test of character, unless it be its progressive development in the bustle and turmoil, in the action and reaction of daily life?
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you want to receive a great deal, you first have to give a great deal. If each individual will give of himself to whomever he can, wherever he can, in any way that he can, in the long run he will be compensated in the exact proportion he gives.
Thought precedes action as lightning does thunder.
Words without action are the assassins of idealism.
I lay very little stress either upon asking or giving advice. Generally speaking, they who ask advice know what they wish to do, and remain firm to their intentions. A man may allow himself to be enlightened on various points, even upon matters of expediency and duty; but, after all, he must determine his course of action for himself.
Morality is determined by sentiment. It defines virtue to be whatever mental action or quality gives to a spectator the pleasing sentiment of approbation; and vice the contrary.
All men of action are dreamers.
Mortifications have their reward in a state of consciousness that corresponds, on a lower level, to spiritual beatitude. The artist - and the philosopher and the man of science are also artists - knows the bliss of aesthetic contemplation, discovery and non-attached possession. The goods of the intellect, the emotions and the imagination are real goods; but they are not the final good, and when we treat them as ends in themselves, we fall into idolatry. Mortification of will, desire and action is not enough; there must also be mortification in the fields of knowing, thinking feeling and fancying.
The relationship between moral action and spiritual knowledge is circular, as it were, and reciprocal. Selfless behavior makes possible an accession of knowledge, and the accession of knowledge makes possible the performance of further and more genuinely selfless actions, which in their turn enhance the agent’s capacity for knowing... A man undertakes right action (which includes, of course, right consciousness and right meditation), and this enables him to catch a glimpse of the Self that underlies his separate individuality. Having seen his own self as the Self, he becomes selfless (and therefore acts selflessly) and in virtue of selflessness he is to be conceived as unconditioned.
Love is the purification of the heart from self; it strengthens and ennobles the character; gives higher motive and nobler aim to every action of life, and makes both man and woman strong, noble, and courageous. The power to love truly and devotedly is the nobles gift with which a human being can be endowed; but it is a sacred fire that must not be burned to idols.
The morality of an action depends upon the motive from which we act.
We frequently fall into error and folly, not because the true principles of action are not known, but because for a time they are not remembered; he may, therefore, justly be numbered among the benefactors of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences that may early be impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to occur habitually to the mind.
The tragedy of all political action is that some problems have no solution; none of the alternatives are intellectually consistent or morally uncompromising; and whatever decision is taken will harm somebody.
Nonresistance isn’t passive. Passivity suggests powerlessness. But non-resistance is extremely powerful. It means we’re consciously choosing what we wish to empower. Nonresistance is the action of wisdom that assesses a situation and realizes there is nothing to be gained from fighting it.
Political action is the highest responsibility of a citizen.
Let the motive be in the deed and not in the event. Be not one whose motive for action is the hope of reward.
Love comes into being only when there is total harmony in oneself, in whatever action one is doing, and so there is no conflict between the outer and the inner.
With intellectuals, moral thought is often less a tonic that quickens ethical action than a narcotic that deadens it.
He is incapable of truly good action who finds not a pleasure in contemplating the good actions of others.