John O’Donohue


Irish Poet, Author, Priest and Hegelian Philosopher

Author Quotes

You lose the balance of your soul if you not learn to take care of yourself.

Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.

Your body is as ancient as the clay of the universe from which it is made; and your feet on the ground are a constant connection with the earth. Your feet bring your private clay in touch with the ancient, mother clay from which you first emerged.

Your identity is not equivalent to your biography. There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility.

Your life becomes the shape of the days you inhabit.

Your noble friend will not accept pretension but will gently and very firmly confront you with your own blindness. Such friendship is creative and critical; it is willing to negotiate awkward and uneven territories of contradiction and woundedness.

Your soul is the priestess of memory, selecting, sifting, and ultimately gathering your vanishing days toward presence.

Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.

A friend is someone who wishes what is good for the other.

Art is the essence of awareness.

Each day, our tribe of language holds what we call the world together. Yet the uttering of the word reveals how each of us relentlessly creates. Everyone is an artist. Each person brings sound out of silence and coaxes the invisible to become visible.

For Josie on the day when the weight deadens on your shoulders and you stumble, may the clay dance to balance you. And when your eyes freeze behind the gray window and the ghost of loss gets in to you, may a flock of colors, indigo, red, green and azure blue come to awaken in you a meadow of delight. When the canvas frays in the curach of thought and a stain of ocean blackens beneath you, may there come across the waters a path of yellow moonlight to bring you safely home. May the nourishment of the earth be yours, may the clarity of light be yours, may the fluency of the ocean be yours, may the protection of the ancestors be yours. And so may a slow wind work these words of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life.

I asked him what advice he could give me as I began my research on Hegel. He said that most research tries to establish a conclusion or reach verification that no one can successfully criticize or undermine. Everyone attempts that; there is nothing new in it. I should take a different approach. He said that if I try to discover a few questions in this area that no one has thought of asking, then I will have discovered something truly original and important.

If you realize how vital to your whole spirit ? and being and character and mind and health ? friendship actually is, you will take time for it? [But] for so many of us ? we have to be in trouble before we remember what?s essential? It?s one of the lonelinesses of humans that you hold on desperately to things that make you miserable and ? you only realize what you have when you?re almost about to lose it.

In the human face, a life looks out at the world and also looks in on itself? When bitterness, anger, or resentment are left untransfigured, the face becomes a mask. Yet one also encounters the opposite, namely, the beautiful presence of an old face deeply lined and inscribed by time and experience that has retained a lovely innocence? In such a face a lovely luminosity shines out into the world. It casts a tender light that radiates a sense of wholeness and wholesomeness.

Love is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.

Nature is the direct expression of the divine imagination.

Part of understanding the notion of Justice is to recognize the disproportions among which we takes an awful lot of living with the powerless to really understand what it is like to be powerless, to have your voice, thoughts, ideas and concerns count for very little. We, who have been given much, whose voices can be heard, have a great duty and responsibility to make our voices heard with absolute integrity for those who are powerless.

Take refuge in your senses, open up to all the small miracles you rushed through. Become inclined to watch the way of rain when it falls slow and free... Draw alongside the silence of stone until its calmness can claim you.

The essence of who you are is ultimately mysterious, ungraspable and numinous-completely different from every other structure of matter.

The Inner History Of A Day: No one knew the name of this day; Born quietly from deepest night, It hid its face in light, Demanded nothing for itself, Opened out to offer each of us A field of brightness that traveled ahead, Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps And the light of thought to show the way. The mind of the day draws no attention; It dwells within the silence with elegance.

The visible is only the shoreline of the magnificent ocean of the invisible.

Though the human body is born complete in one moment, the birth of the human heart is an ongoing process. It is being birthed in every experience of your life. Everything that happens to you has the potential to deepen you. It brings to birth within you new territories of the heart.

Transience makes a ghost out of each experience.

We rush through our days in such stress and intensity, as if we were here to stay and the serious project of the world depended on us. We worry and grow anxious; we magnify trivia until they become important enough to control our lives. Yet all the time we have forgotten that we are but temporary sojourners on the surface of a strange planet spinning slowly in the infinite night of the cosmos.

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Irish Poet, Author, Priest and Hegelian Philosopher