Make the most of today. Translate your good intentions into actual deeds.
To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality toward belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of differences to a decision of them by an appeal to arms; to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities, so degrading to all countries and so baneful to free ones; to foster a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves and too elevated not to look down upon them in others; to hold the union of the States as the basis of their peace and happiness; to support the Constitution, which is the cement of the Union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities; to respect the rights and authorities reserved to the States and to the people as equally incorporated with and essential to the success of the general system; to avoid the slightest interference with the right of conscience or the functions of religion, so wisely exempted from civil jurisdiction; to preserve in their full energy the other salutary provisions in behalf of private and personal rights, and of the freedom of the press; to observe economy in public expenditures; to liberate the public resources by an honorable discharge of the public debts; to keep within the requisite limits a standing military force, always remembering that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics — that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe; to promote by authorized means improvements friendly to agriculture, to manufactures, and to external as well as internal commerce; to favor in like manner the advancement of science and the diffusion of information as the best aliment to true liberty; to carry on the benevolent plans which have been so meritoriously applied to the conversion of our aboriginal neighbors from the degradation and wretchedness of savage life to a participation of the improvements of which the human mind and manners are susceptible in a civilized state — as far as sentiments and intentions such as these can aid the fulfillment of my duty, they will be a resource which can not fail me.
One lives with so many bad deeds on one's conscience and some good intentions in one's heart.
One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.
Energy always flows either toward hope, community, love, generosity, mutual recognition, and spiritual aliveness or it flows toward despair, cynicism, fear that there is not enough, paranoia about the intentions of others, and a desire to control.
Ordinary people, even weak people, can do extraordinary things through temporary courage generated by a situation. But the person of character does not need the situation to generate his courage. It is a part of his being and a standard approach to all life's challenges. We’re all ethical in our own eyes. Although we are usually judged by our last worst act, we usually judge ourselves by our most noble deeds, our best intentions and our most virtuous traits. Character is not a fancy coat we put on for show, it’s who we really are.
Nothing is fundamental. That is what is so interesting in the analysis of society. That is why nothing irritates me as much as these inquiries - which are by definition metaphysical - on the foundations of power in a society or the self-institution of a society, etc. These are not fundamental phenomena. There are only reciprocal relations, and the perpetual gaps between intentions in relation to one another.
Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.
A true warrior is always armed with three things: the radiant sword of pacification; the mirror of bravery, wisdom, and friendship; and the precious jewel of enlightenment.
Aikido is the principle of non-resistance. Because it is non-resistant, it is victorious from the beginning. Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished. Aikido is invincible because it contends with nothing.
The Art of Peace is the principle of nonresistance. Because it is nonresistant, it is victorious from the beginning. Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished. The Art of Peace is invincible because it contends with nothing.
Always use positive words, and never use negative or evil words. Cultivate good thoughts, not bad thoughts. Make sure your intentions are constructive intentions. Never be jealous; be grateful. Be tolerant, peaceful, and honest instead of vengeful. Always be compassionate, never proud and arrogant. Praise God, because God is the Deserving One. You need these in your life. If you can teach yourself to follow these suggestions, you will have a very good life.
Gossip is never fatal until it is denied. Gossip goes on about every human being alive and about all the dead that are alive enough to be remembered, and yet almost never does any harm until some defender makes a controversy. Gossip's a nasty thing, but it's sickly, and if people of good intentions will let it entirely alone, it will die, ninety-nine times out of a hundred.
One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding.
Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.
However we resolve the issue in our individual homes, the moral challenge is, put simply, to make work visible again: not only the scrubbing and vacuuming, but all the hoeing, stacking, hammering, drilling, bending, and lifting that goes into creating and maintaining a livable habitat. In an ever more economically unequal world, where so many of the affluent devote their lives to ghostly pursuits like stock trading, image making, and opinion polling, real work, in the old-fashioned sense of labor that engages hand as well as eye, that tires the body and directly alters the physical world tends to vanish from sight. The feminists of my generation tried to bring some of it into the light of day, but, like busy professional women fleeing the house in the morning, they left the project unfinished, the debate broken off in mid-sentence, the noble intentions unfulfilled. Sooner or later, someone else will have to finish the job.
The individual or the group which organizes any society, however social its intentions or pretensions, arrogates an inordinate portion of social privilege to itself.
If the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies like the crashing of a bus (full of children from a Roman Catholic school and for no apparent reason but with wholesale loss of life) are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless good fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention. It would manifest no intentions of any kind.
There is no way of finding the middle ground, even with the best intentions of the world. Our most sensible policy is to stall.
Reflection on what we seek to remember in practice, developing the capacity to see which stories serve to develop wholesome qualities and reduce suffering. The center of the talk is a tour through the Jewish year, interpreting each holiday as a form of retreat practice and the opportunity to awaken and develop heart qualities.
Saying that spiritual practices train our minds, shape our consciousness and mold our character can sum this up. We undertake spiritual practice in order to change in some way, even if it is only a change of perspective. In more traditional language we undertake spiritual practices because they bring us closer to God’s will.
How does this work?
Spiritual practices including meditation (whether the object of attention is set at the breath, bodily sensations, a visualization, a mantra, a prayer or at floating open attention), and mitzvoth like Shabbat, Kashrut, and Torah study, and conscious non-harming speech share a similar technology.
One commits to a particular action as the focus of one’s energy, attention, time, and behavior. One articulates this intention. Then one waits. Soon, the obstacles appear. In a sitting meditation practice we may intend to follow each in breath and each out breath. No sooner do we begin then thoughts rush in or we find ourselves nodding sleepily or in a state of anxiety regarding the pain in our knee or lower back. Or we have decided to observe the Sabbath and an invitation comes our way that is irresistible. Or we promise ourselves to observe kashruth and a strong desire arises to taste the forbidden. Often rationalizing thoughts obscuring the clarity of the original intention surround these temptations.
The training occurs in the next step, the step of renunciation or returning. We see the temptation. We acknowledge it in a non-judgmental and non-personal way realizing that we are seeing forgetfulness in the human mind. As we bring attention to the temptation we see that it has no substance. Each time we do this, the ability to choose is strengthened. Each time we return from distraction or obstacle, the power of habit and unconsciousness is weakened. In this process we begin to see the nature of our minds and the nature of reality itself. We increase our ability to pay attention. And what do we begin to notice? We observe the arising and passing away of thoughts, sensations, sounds, desires, feelings, and moods just as daylight passes and evening comes. We see the consequences of various forms of contraction in the mind or body like fear, desire, suppression, judgment, anger, and aggression. We see the consequences of various forms of expansion like, trust, ease, relaxation, acceptance, generosity and gratitude.