A man who protects and hoards his life may lose it anyhow. Perhaps to protect it is to lose it in the most real sense of the word, for cowardice means spiritual death.
I have often seen individuals who simply outgrow a problem which had destroyed others. This ‘outgrowing’, revealed itself on further experience to be the raising of the level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through the widening of his view, the insoluble problem, lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out in contrast to a new and strong life-tendency. It was not repressed and made unconscious, but merely appeared in a different light, and so became different itself. What, on a lower level, had led the wildest conflicts and emotions full of panic, viewed from the higher level of the personality, now seemed like a storm in the valley seen from a high mountain top. This does not mean that the thunderstorm is robbed of its reality; it means that instead of being in it, one is now above it.
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.
Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.
Relationship means contact, communion. There cannot be communion where people are divided by ideas. A belief may gather a group of people around itself. Such a group will inevitably breed opposition and so form another group with a different belief. Ideas postpone direct relationship with the problem.
Relationship means to respond. The root meaning of that word, not what we have made of that word, is to respond completely to another, like responsibility. Do we ever respond totally with each other, or it is always a fragmentary response, a partial response?
To most of us, relationship is a term for comfort, for gratification, for security, and in that relationship we use property, ideas, and persons for our gratification. We use belief as a means of security.
What is the elevation of the soul? A prompt, delicate, certain feeling for all that is beautiful, all that is grand; a quick resolution to do the greatest good by the smallest means; a great benevolence joined to a great strength and great humility.
"Know thyself" means: devote time each day to studying yourself... ferreting out your weakness, working at self-improvement, purifying your immortal soul.
Life means love. We are here for love. Only love is real and everything is real thanks to love. We are nomads wandering through illusionary space. How to make it real? Only by destroying limits that separate us from others. No violence, no attempts at escape can help, only love. Too often love is more painful than joyful. The instances of love are much shorter than the periods during which we wait for love to emerge. The meaning of living is mastering the art of waiting.
Office of itself does much to equalize politicians. It by no means brings all characters to a level; but it does bring high characters down and low characters up towards a common standard.
There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man’s affections center in himself, and excludes all others from partaking in them, than the desire of accumulating possessions. When the desire has once gotten hold of the heart, it shuts out all other considerations, but such as may promote its views. In its zeal for the attainment of its end, it is not delicate in the choice of means. As it closes the heart, so also it clouds the understanding. It cannot discern between right and wrong; it takes evil for good, and good for evil; it calls darkness light, and light darkness. Beware, then, of the beginning of covetousness, for you know not where it will end.
Since man is endowed with intelligence and determines his own ends, it is up to him to put himself in tune with the ends necessarily demanded by his nature. This means that there is, by very virtue of human nature, an order or a disposition which human reason can discover and according to which the human will must act in order to attune itself to the necessary ends of the human being. The unwritten law, or natural law, is nothing more than that.
Reverie is the groundwork of creative imagination; it is the privilege of the artist that with him is not as with other men an escape from reality, but the means by which he accedes to it.
Freedom means choosing your burden.
He who attempts to act and do things for others and for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give to others. He will communicate to them only the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, and his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas.
If honesty did not exist, we ought to invent it as the best means of getting rich.
All honorable means of safeguarding ourselves from evils are not only permitted but laudable. And constancy’s part is played principally in bearing troubles patiently where there is no remedy.
Love hates people to be attached to each other except by himself, and takes a laggard part in relations that are set up and maintained under another title, as marriage is. Connections and means have, with reason, as much weight in it as graces and beauty, or more. We do not marry for ourselves, whatever we say; we marry must as much or more for our posterity, for our family. The practice and benefit of marriage concerns our race very far beyond us. Therefore I like this fashion of arranging it rather by a third hand than by our own, and by the sense of other rather than by our own. How opposite is all this to the conventions of love!
Lying is an ugly vice... Since mutual understanding is brought about solely by way of words, he who breaks his word betrays human society. It is the only instrument by means of which our wills and thoughts communicate, it is the interpreter of our soul. If it fails us, we have no more hold on each other, no more knowledge of each other. If it deceives us, it breaks up all our relations and dissolves all the bonds of our society.