Words

For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: "It might have been."

This is man: a writer of books, a putter-down of words, a painter of pictures, a maker of ten thousand philosophies. He grows passionate over ideas, he hurls scorn and mockery at another's work, he finds the one way, the true way, for himself, and calls all others false--yet in the billion books upon the shelves there is not one that can tell him how to draw a single fleeting breath in peace and comfort. He makes histories of the universe, he directs the destiny of the nations, but he does not know his own history, and he cannot direct his own destiny with dignity or wisdom for ten consecutive minutes.

The whole secret of remaining young in spite of years, and even of gray hairs, is to cherish enthusiasm in oneself, by poetry, by contemplation, by charity, - that is, in fewer words, the maintenance of harmony in the soul. When everything is in its right place within us, we ourselves are in its right place within us, we ourselves are in equilibrium with the whole work of God. Deep and grave enthusiasm for the eternal beauty and the eternal order, reason touched with emotion and a serene tenderness of heart - these surely are the foundations of wisdom.

Where words fail, music speaks.

You cannot take any performance (even an interior performance) as itself an act of intention; for if you describe a performance, the fact that it has taken place is not a proof of intention; words for example may occur in somebody’s mind without his meaning them. so intention is never a performance in the mind, though in some matters a performance in the mind which is seriously meant may make a difference to the correct account of the man’s action - e.g., in embracing someone. But the matters in question are necessarily ones in which outward acts are ‘significant’ in some way.

The investigation of the meaning of words is the beginning of education.

What people will say - in these words there lies the tyranny of the world, the whole destruction of our natural disposition, the oblique vision of our minds. These four words bear sway everywhere.

Words are not (except in their own little corner) facts or things: we need therefore to prise them off the world, to hold them apart from and against it, so that we can realize their inadequacies and arbitrariness, and can re-look at the world without blinkers.

No man shall be held responsible for words uttered in affliction.

Vocabulary is an index to a civilization, and ours is a disturbed one. That's why so many of the new words deal with war, violence, drugs, racism, and not so many with peace and prosperity.

How then do you pour a little bit of what you feel and think and know into another’s mind?... To help children visualize, to convince them, the teachers use maps, charts, diagrams, they write words on the board, they gesture, admonish, orate. Hence the fatigue and hence the rule that good teaching is a matter of basal metabolism. Some teachers have the facts but not the phosphorescence of learning.

How sweet the words of truth breathed from the lips of love!

We look at change but we do not see it. We speak of change, but we do not think about it. We say that change exists, that everything changes, that change is the very law of things: yes, we say it and we repeat it; but those are only words, and we reason and philosophize as though change did not exist.

Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

To be happy, drop the words if only and substitute instead the words next time.

To teach Zen means to unteach; to see life steadily and see it whole, the answer not being divided from the question; no parrying, dodging, countering, solving, changing the words; an activity which is a physical and spiritual unity with All-Activity.

If the memory is more flexible in childhood, it is more tenacious in mature age; if childhood has sometimes the memory of words, old age has that of things, which impress themselves according tot he clearness of the conception of the thought which we wish to retain.

Wit must be without effort. Wit is play, not work; a nimbleness of the fancy, not a laborious effort of the will; a license, a holiday, a carnival of thought and feeling, not a trifling with speech, a constraint upon language, a duress upon words.

Words of praise, indeed, are almost as necessary to warm a child into a congenial life as acts of kindness and affection. Judicious praise is to children what the sun is to flowers.