Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth
Gilbert
1969

American Author, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Biographer, Novelist and Memoirist

Author Quotes

Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.

Your father only has one foot on this earth. And really, really long legs.

Your job then, should you choose to accept it, is to keep searching for the metaphors, rituals and teachers that will help you move ever closer to divinity. The Yogic scriptures say that God responds to the sacred prayers and efforts of human beings in any way whatsoever that mortals choose to worship—just so long as those prayers are sincere. I think you have every right to cherry-pick when it comes to moving your spirit and finding peace in God. I think you are free to search for any metaphor whatsoever which will take you across the worldly divide whenever you need to be transported or comforted. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. It's the history of mankind's search for holiness. If humanity never evolved in its exploration of the divine, a lot of us would still be worshipping golden Egyptian statues of cats. And this evolution of religious thinking does involve a fair bit of cherry-picking. You take whatever works from wherever you can find it, and you keep moving toward the light. The Hopi Indians thought that the world's religions each contained one spiritual thread, and that these threads are always seeking each other, wanting to join. When all the threads are finally woven together they will form a rope that will pull us out of this dark cycle of history and into the next realm. More contemporarily, the Dalai Lama has repeated the same idea, assuring his Western students repeatedly that they needn't become Tibetan Buddhists in order to be his pupils. He welcomes them to take whatever ideas they like out of Tibetan Buddhism and integrate these ideas into their own religious practices. Even in the most unlikely and conservative of places, you can find sometimes this glimmering idea that God might be bigger than our limited religious doctrines have taught us. In 1954, Pope Pius XI, of all people, sent some Vatican delegates on a trip to Libya with these written instructions: Do NOT think that you are going among Infidels. Muslims attain salvation, too. The ways of Providence are infinite. But doesn't that make sense? That the infinite would be, indeed ... infinite? That even the most holy amongst us would only be able to see scattered pieces of the eternal picture at any given time? And that maybe if we could collect those pieces and compare them, a story about God would begin to emerge that resembles and includes everyone? And isn't our individual longing for transcendence all just part of this larger human search for divinity? Don't we each have the right to not stop seeking until we get as close to the source of wonder as possible? Even if it means coming to India and kissing trees in the moonlight for a while? That's me in the corner, in other words. That's me in the spotlight. Choosing my religion.

Your problem is you don't understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave.

Your treasure - your perfection - is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.

Zen masters say you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.

longing to travel while you are already traveling is, I admit, a kind of greedy madness

Maybe the difference between first marriage and second marriage is that the second time at least you know you are gambling.

My mother has made choices in her life, as we all must, and she is at peace with them. I can see her peace. She did not cop out on herself. The benefits of her choices are massive-a long, stable marriage to a man she still calls her best friend; a family that has extended now into grandchildren who adore her; a certainty in her own strength. Maybe some things were sacrificed, and my dad made his sacrifices, too-but who amongst us lives without sacrifice?

Only the young and stupid are confident about sex and romance.

Real, sane, mature love—the kind that pays the mortgage year after year and picks up the kids after school—is not based on infatuation but on affection and respect.

So now I have started living my own life. Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, thoroughly.

That you should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong instead.

The gods are fond of the cryptic and dislike the evident.

The number 108 is held to be the most auspicious, a perfect three-digit multiple of three, its components adding up to 9, which is three threes. And 3, of course, is the number representing supreme balance.

The third question a Balinese will almost certainly ask you is, Are you married? Again, it's a positioning and orienting inquiry. It's necessary for them to know this, to make sure that you are completely in order in your life. They really want you to say yes. it's such a relief to them when you say yes. If you're single, it's better not to say so directly. And I really recommend that you not mention your divorce at all, if you happen to have had one. It just makes the Balinese so worried. The only thing your solitude proves to them is your perilous dislocation from the grid. If you are a single woman traveling through Bali and somebody asks you, Are you married? the best possible answer is: Not yet. This is a polite way of saying, No, while indicating your optimistic intentions to get that taken care of just as soon as you can.

There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.

This is what we are like. Collectively as a species, this is our emotional landscape. I met an old lady once, almost 100 years old, and she told me, There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who's in charge? Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief, and suffering.

Traditionally, I have responded to the transcendent mystics of all religions. I have always responded with breathless excitement to anyone who has ever said that God does not live in a dogmatic scripture or in a distant throne in the sky, but instead abides very close to us indeed- much closer than we can imagine, breathing right through our own hearts.

We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses--one foot is on the horse called fate, the other on the horse called free will. And the question you have to ask every day is--which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it's not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort?

What kind of dog is that? I would always give the same answer: She's a brown dog. Similarly, when the question is raised, What kind of God do you believe in? my answer is easy: I believe in a magnificent God.

When you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt-this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty to find something beautiful within life no matter how slight.

You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone outta be.

You should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice, staying strong, instead.

Author Picture
First Name
Elizabeth
Last Name
Gilbert
Birth Date
1969
Bio

American Author, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Biographer, Novelist and Memoirist