Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Arthur W Osborn

Australian Poet, Editor, Author On Metaphysics and Parapsychology

"[Man’s] self-conscious existence as man forces on him a choice of uses for his faculties... This choice is what is called free will. Free will, therefore, not only a prerogative but an obligation for man. Free will thus understood, has nothing to do with destiny. It is a power which man is compelled by his own nature to use, whether the use he makes of it is predestined or not... the responsibility of deciding rests with me just the same whether the outcome is predetermined or not. If it is predetermined, it is my own past habit-forming and character-forming decisions in this and previous lifetimes which have predetermined it; and this decision in its turn will help to condition my mind, thus determining future ones."

"A touchstone that has been widely used in assessing moral behavior is, “What would happen if everyone did that?”"

"Constant alertness is needed. “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom” - freedom from the ego-mind: wordlings have made a catch-phrase out of what is a truth."

"I am an infinitesimal and evanescent fragment in this vast universe. True, but it is no less true that this vast universe is an infinitesimal and evanescent appearance within me. What-is is just the same whether manifested in a universe or not. The pure sense of being that I feel just is; it is the same as what-is. To say that there is no “I” is the same as saying that there is nothing else."

"In the heart - pure being: “Isness alone is.” Outwardly - flow of events: “A dance, a rhythm.” Between - an evil ghost: “The impostor me,” who seems the very hub and first of things, but, scrutinized, dissolves and is not there. Pure being in the heart - be this, be still; flow of events without - cognize, accept; the evil ghost - be vigilant, expel; this is the path and all the wisdom of it."

"If there is no ego who can feel anger or desire, resentment or frustration? This means that enquiry is not merely a cold investigation but a battle; every path is, in every religion."

"Many have declared the ultimate truth openly: that only the self is, that you are nothing other than the Self, that the universe is a mere manifestation of the Self, without inherent reality, existing only in the Self. This can be understood by the analogy of a dream. The whole dream-world with all its people and events exist only in the mind of the dreamer. Its creation or emergence takes nothing away from him, and its dissolution or reabsorption adds nothing to him; he remains the same before, during, and after. God, the conscious Dreamer of the cosmic dream, is the Self, and no person in the dream has any reality apart from the Self of which he is an expression. By discarding the illusion of otherness, you can realize that identity with the Self which always was, is, and will be, beyond the conditions of life and time. Then, since you are One with the Dreamer, the whole universe, including your life and all others, is your dream and none of the events in it have more than a dream reality. You are set free from hope and desire, fear and frustration, and established in the unchanging Bliss of Pure Being."

"On realizing one’s true Self one does not change into a different being but simply realizes that one is not a being at all but simply “Being”; one attains freedom from identification with this or any other body-mind complex. The speeding arrow of karma may hit the body, but one is not the body. The body is subject to karma but the pure being of one’s Self is not... A Realized Man sees repercussions that could be called destiny overtaking the body that he occupies, but it does not occur to him that they concern him, and therefore he feels no emotion towards them. His body is subject to destiny, but he is not."

"Life is a process, a seamless garment, and there is a universal nexus connecting all phenomena so that every part pulsates sensitively to every other part. The truth is inexpressibly deeper than a harmony-between-parts relationship, but this can only be experienced mystically. Pragmatically, on the plane of our sensory experiencing, love is the witness of the unseen yet ever potent law of unity. The root of all sins is to be blind to this fundamental fact regarding the inner nature of the universe. If love rules us, no sins can be committed. En passant we may say that the doctrine of karma is a phenomenal expression of the organic unity of the universe. The individual cannot gain at the cost of the whole. Pain and suffering check us when harmony is disturbed. Love restores harmony and registers through us a deep compassion which dissolves our separative carapaces and releases our energies for impersonal service."

"One does not have to induce the divine Grace to flow, only to refrain from obstructing. There are two kinds of obstruction which prevent this and make the path long and arduous. They are distraction and attachment. Therefore, their opposites have to be cultivated; that is concentration and detachment."

"The alternative to the illusion of an ego is the Reality of inexhaustible, radiant Being. So long as the appearance of an ego remains, so long does the appearance of free will; in fact they are mutually dependent."

"Others. What will they think of this? What will they say to that? So others arise. When there are others there’s I. In truth there just IS. Isness alone is; no others, no I, only a dance, a rhythm, only a being."

"The heart’s reply. One thing only is required of you: just to be still; nothing to say or do."

"The purpose of all spiritual teaching is to guide and encourage us to seek liberation from the ego and realization of the Self. The two are the same."

"In the vast tapestry of manifestation, the entire universe issues forth into form. Alternatively, it is re-absorbed into formlessness. Each individual life can be likened to a thread in a tapestry. So, if a person could see the whole chain of his incarnations, some of which, from the point of where he stands, would appear to be causally past and others causally future... There is a two-fold pattern of manifestation. The pure being, which in essence you are, is manifested horizontally and vertically through space and time: horizontally it takes form as all the other beings of your present world, vertically as all the past and future incarnations of your present person. You stand at the intersection of the two patterns."

"Supreme Being is as impartial as the sun. If one flower bud opens when the run arise and another does not, it is due to its own preparedness and not to any partiality of the sun. Similarly, Divine Grace flows everywhere, always; it is only man’s willingness and ability to respond to it that varies. Supreme Being cannot be propitiated. Being all benevolence, it can not be induced to become more benevolent to one than to another or in one instance than in another. All things manifest Supreme Being in its innumerable aspects; all things issue forth from it and return to it."

"Essentially religion is not in history. The essence of religion is pure, timeless awareness; and since this is participation in the Immutable, it is by its very nature immune to history. Mentally and doctrinally, however, the awareness is explained differently indifferent religions. However, religion as an institution controlling life in every domain - philosophy, art, literature, social life, etc. - is subject to history. As an institution every religion changes, and the change is always a decline... a decline arrested by periodical restitutions."

"The human mind turned downwards takes cognizance of the world reported to it by the senses; turned upwards it receives intuitional knowledge and directions from pure intelligence, which is its source and essence... The mind finds itself not merely cognizing and arranging the world reported by the senses but striving to rule it and in fact ruled by it. This is a cruel paradox, for by desiring one thing and fearing another the pseudo-self or ego subordinates itself to the senses and the world they report. Thus it comes to be torn between conflicting passions and subject to the tyranny of events."

"The one thing that a man is absolutely certain about is his own existence. He may come to believe that the world outside him is real or unreal, that he is sitting at a solid table, as his senses tell him, or at a cluster of whirling electrons, as the nuclear scientists tell him, that there is or is not a God, that other people really exists or that they are imagined by him, like equally real-seeming people he saw in last night’s dream; but what he knows from personal, first-hand experience is his own existence."

"The way of exoteric religion is to progressively replace egoism by submission to the will of God. Its four cardinal demands are faith, love, humility, and good deeds. In so far as they are complied with, they effectively bring a man towards Self-realization, even though he does not consciously envisage this. True, the Goal is not likely to be attained in this lifetime, but in God’s patience a lifetime is very little. Faith strengthens the intuitional conviction of the reality of God or the Self. Humility, its counterpart, weakens the belief in the ego and lessens the importance attached to it. Love strives to surrender the ego to God and its welfare to others. Good deeds deny egoism in practice and are alike the fruit and proof of love and humility."

"Thou art/ - I am? - why argue? - Being is. Keep still and be. Death will not still the mind. Nor argument, nor hopes of after-death. This world the battle-ground, yourself the foe yourself must master. Eager the mind to seek. Yet oft astray, causing its own distress then crying for relief, as though some God barred from it jealously the Bliss it sought but would not face. Till in the end, all battles fought, all earthly loves abjured, dawn in the East, there is no other way but to be still. In stillness then to find the giants all were windmills, all the strife self-made, unreal; even he that strove a fancied being, as when that good knight woke from delirium and with a loud cry rendered his soul to God. Mind, then, or soul? Break free from subtle words. Only be still, lay down the mid, submit, and Being then is Bliss, Bliss Consciousness: and That you are."

"The widespread modern rejection of ritual in religion is depriving people of powerful aids for spiritual development and for defense against evil... Action cannot lead beyond action, and therefore no ritual can produce Liberation... But there are many who do not specifically seek Liberation but simply greater purity, greater devotion, general spiritual betterment, or who seek Liberation as the still unseen goal of a winding path; and it is for such as these that the appropriate ritual would be a powerful armament for progress and defense."

"It is impossible to live without thinking but it is possible to avoid thinking about God. Does it matter?"

"All sequences in time must be related to the ultimate timeless Source, the wholeness in which we live and have our being."

"Life is a process, a seamless garment, and there is a universal nexus connecting all phenomena so that every part pulsates sensitively to every other part. The truth is inexpressibly deeper than a harmony-between-parts relationship, but this can only be experienced mystically. Pragmatically, on the plane of our sensory experiencing, love is the witness of the unseen yet ever potent law of unity. The root of all sins is to be blind to this fundamental fact regarding the inner nature of the universe. IF love rules us, no sins can be committed. En passant we may say that the doctrine of karma is a phenomenal expression of the organic unity of the universe. The individual cannot gain at the cost of the whole. Pain and suffering check us when harmony is disturbed. Love restores harmony and registers through us a deep compassion which dissolves our separative carapaces and releases our energies for impersonal service."

"Lines converging from the base of a pyramid start from infinite points of diversity. The nearer the apex the closer they come to one another until at the summit they reach the point of unity. So it is that religions at the base exhibit irreconcilable differences and conflicts. But as they approach sight of the spiritual light of their origin, they, like converging lines within a pyramid, draw close to one another until the supernal vision at the apex submerges all differences into unity."

"How much happier would the religious history of the world been if the different religions and sects had seen their role as contributors to a common stream of seeking for the Ultimate, which always escapes the conceptual net, yet perennially inspires the search. Actually many in the modern world are becoming tolerant toward religion in the wrong way. Their tolerance is not a product of understanding but is bred of indifference. They see the conventional forms in which religion is practiced as empty shells although they excite in their defense belligerent intolerance."

"Manifestation is an adventure in consciousness in which we and all creatures participate. It is a cyclic process within the orbit of Eternal Essence."

"Mind cannot be reduced to body, nor can mind be expressed without some form we call body. We are faced with a primal duality at the root of manifestation."

"Minds have forms because, although they are changing streams of consciousness, they exhibit the paradox of unity in diversity which is the characteristic of all wholes. Forms are aspects of consciousness and precede tangible and so-called substantial expression. The universe as a totality, comprising forms and their integration into wholes in infinite diversity, is an expression of Life universal in graded series on various levels. Every particular form-expression “creates” its own time-space. Substance and tangibility have no reality apart from sensory apprehension."

"Mind is no more dependent on the brain that is light on the lens through which it is focused."

"Normal experience at the sensory level is that of dualism; but the deeper our insight penetrates the terms, pantheism or monism lose their significance; for Ultimate Reality embraces everything in a nameless undifferentiated continuum."

"Normal perception is completely controlled by the unconscious mind which obeys suggestions implicitly."

"Of all “evils” death is the most feared although it is the fate of all creatures. It is so natural that reason tells us it must be good. Death is not lifelessness, but life in motion. Our essential being cannot die because it was never born. Only its representations appear and disappear in the chronological sequences we call incarnations. If death is the prelude to life in other forms it ceases to be “evil” but becomes the means for releasing consciousness is that it may express itself in other and more diverse fields."

"Nothing exists in isolation. The very concept of isolation is a philosophical abstraction. It does not exist in nature any more than does a wave without water. The universe exhibits a duality of concreteness and fluidity. Neither is ultimately real; each is the condition of the manifestation of all that exists. Every particular is embraced within a whole, and every whole extends beyond itself to other wholes, circles within circles and so on ad infinitum."

"Nothing can be added to the Infinite."

"Our eyes see only by permission of the mind... Truly our minds can be barriers, not because of the knowledge they acquire, but because of the intellectual habit of interpreting the unknown in terms of the known. The spiritual transcendent and the mind not only suffers defeat in trying to interpret it, but also blocks reception of the formless Real"

"Our whole society is permeated with the influence of status symbols"

"Our task is that of right living which requires detachment and unconcern for anything except the diligent performance of the tasks for which we are equipped. This is the path of peace."

"Perhaps the simplest expression of true detachment is to say that the power of love dissolves self-centerdness and brings the wisdom to act effectively in all situations."

"Reality is the transcendent and immanent Ground of all being. Man’s only aim in living is to experience the eternal in the midst of time; as Spinoza expresses it, to know all existences under the form of eternity."

"Reason cannot make us experience love, but it can give us intellectual assurance that love is good."

"The essential aim of all disciplines is to free us from the bonds of egoism so that Infinite Life may be unimpeded as it flows through us."

"Spiritual realization involves unfoldment from within and takes little account of our conscious educational activities. The aim is not to change our nature but to realize deeply who we really are."

"The most potent force in the world is an idea which, when organized into a body of concepts, becomes a culture and way of life. Concepts are psychological lenses focusing our experiences. Our physical eyes bring their reports but our conceptual lenses interpret them. If we would “know ourselves” it is a paramount necessity that we should examine critically and impartially our conceptual heritage and endeavor to discover why we accept or reject it."

"There is an ecclesiastical cliché used in connection with candidates for the ministry. The candidates do not speak of seeking a job but of receiving a “call,” which in their language is from God. It is a euphemistic pleasantry which deceives no one. Nevertheless the conventional phraseology of being “called” is sometimes a psychological reality and represents an inner transformation and the prelude to a life of dedication. It is a pity that the same spirit is not more evident in the field of medicine. The phenomenon of inner urgency which draws us in one direction against rival interests stems from something deeper than a line of reasoning. Rather it is due to the type of person we are. This prompts us to inquire whether there is any purpose or pattern behind our having been born at all."

"There is no death in a living universe, but only changes of form. The so-called problem of survival is whether or not the ensouling life persists after the dissolution of its form."

"There is no religion higher than Truth."

"Understanding comes through reflection. It escapes many who only read."

"To realize self as universal is the equivalent of immortality - a timeless state. The empirical ego then ceases like a ripple on the ocean."