Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Paul Brunton, born Hermann Hirsch, wrote under various pseudonyms including Brunton Paul, Raphael Meriden and Raphael Delmonte

British Philosopher, Mystic, Journalist, Traveler and Guru

"There is only one Duty. It is to realize the divinity within... our most sacred life purpose, the most honored ground of existence, and everything else must be made to subserve it."

"Accept the long night patiently, quietly, humbly, and resignedly as intended for your true good. It is not a punishment for sin committed but an instrument of annihilating egoism. "

"Although the pure truth has never been stated, nevertheless it has never been lost. Its existence does not depend upon human statement but upon human sensitivity. In this it is unlike all other knowledge. "

"Among the values of meditation is that it carries consciousness down to a deeper level, thus letting man live from his center, not his surface alone. The result is that the physical sense-reactions do not dominate his outlook wholly, as they do an animal's. Mind begins to rule them. This leads more and more to self-control, self-knowledge, and self-pacification. "

"Appetite has really become an artificial and abnormal thing, having taken the place of true hunger, which alone is natural. The one is a sign of bondage but the other, of freedom. "

"As his mind becomes purer and his emotions come under control, his thoughts become clearer and his instincts truer. As he learns to live more and more in harmony with his higher Self, his body's natural intuition becomes active of itself. The result is that false desires and unnatural instincts which have been imposed upon it by others or by himself will become weaker and weaker and fall away entirely in time. This may happen without any attempt to undergo an elaborate system of self-discipline on his part: yet it will affect his way of living, his diet, his habits. False cravings like the craving for smoking tobacco will vanish of their own accord; false appetites like the appetite for alcoholic liquor or flesh food will likewise vanish; but the more deep-seated the desire, the longer it will take to uproot it--except in the case of some who will hear and answer a heroic call for an abrupt change. "

"Deep down within the heart there is a stillness which is healing, a trust in the universal laws which is unwavering, and a strength which is rock-like. But because it is so deep we need both patience and perseverance when digging for it. "

"Every discussion which is made from an egoistic standpoint is corrupted from the start and cannot yield an absolutely sure conclusion. The ego puts its own interest first and twists every argument, word, even fact to suit that interest. "

"Every morning is like a new reincarnation into this world. Let us take it then for what it is and live each moment anew. "

"He is beginning to master wisdom when he tries to learn how not to try. "

"If outer events bring him to a position where he can bear them no longer and force him to cry out to the higher power in helplessness for relief or if inner feelings bring humiliation and recognition of his dependence on that power, this crushing of the ego may open the door to grace. "

"If thousands of prenatal memories were to come crowding in together, the mind's life would be horrible, crazy. Worse, one's own personal identity would be lost, merged in all the others."

"If you investigate the matter deeply enough and widely enough, you will find that happiness eludes nearly all men despite the fact that they are forever seeking it. The fortunate and successful few are those who have stopped seeking with the ego alone and allow the search to be directed inwardly by the higher self. They alone can find a happiness unblemished by defects or deficiencies, a Supreme Good which is not a further source of pain and sorrow but an endless source of satisfaction and peace. "

"In the heart's deepest place, where the burden of ego is dropped and the mystery of soul is penetrated, a man finds the consciousness there not different in any way from what all other men may find. The mutuality of the human race is thus revealed as existing only on a plane where its humanness is transcended. This is why all attempts to express it in political and economic terms, no less than the theosophic attempts to form a universal brotherhood, being premature, must be also artificial. This is why they failed. "

"It is an intuitive, self-evident, self-recognized knowledge which comes fitfully to man. It should not be confounded with the instinctive and immediate knowledge possessed by animals and used by them in their adaptations to environment. "

"It is not the objects of conscious attention which are to be allowed to trap the mind forever and divert the man from his higher duty. It is the consciousness itself which ought to engage his interest and hold his deepest concentration."

"It may be considered folly by common opinion but this refusal to destroy life unnecessarily, this reverence for it, must become a deeply implanted part of his ethical standard. "

"Just as the pendulum swings farther backwards if it has first swung farther forwards, so the human being rises to the loftiest heights of spiritual consciousness only if it has first sunk into the blackest depths of materialistic ignorance."

"Let it be stated clearly that mysticism is an a-rational type of experience, and in some degree common to all men. "

"Living in the present moment means living according to truth and principle (but not according to hard rigid dogma) flexibly applied in the particular way required by the immediate situation in which you are. Such a way of living leaves you free, not ruled tyrannically by imposed regulations which may not at all suit the particular case. "

"Man is more miserable, more restless and unsatisfied than ever before, simply because half his nature--the spiritual--is starving for true food, and the other half--the material--is fed with bad food. "

"Now an extraordinary and helpful fact is that by making Mind the object of our attention, not only does the serenity which is its nature begin to well up of its own accord but its steady unchanging character itself helps spontaneously to repel all disturbing thoughts. "

"Solitude is strength; to depend on the presence of the crowd is weakness. The man who needs a mob to nerve him is much more alone than he imagines."

"Such excessive preoccupation with his faults is not a truly spiritual activity but, on the contrary, a highly egoistic one. The recognition of his own faults should make a man humbler, when it is beneficial, not prouder, which the thought that he ought to have been above these faults makes him. "

"That deep silence has a melody of its own, a sweetness unknown amid the harsh discords of the world's sounds. "

"The artist must raise the cup of his vision aloft to the gods in the high hope that they will pour into it the sweet mellow wine of inspiration. "

"The average man seldom pays enough attention to his slight mystical experiences to profit or learn from them. Yet his need for them is evidenced by his incessant seeking for the thrills, sensations, uplifts, and so on, which he organizes for himself in so many ways--the religious way being only one of them. In fact, the failure of religion--in the West, at any rate--to teach true mysticism, and its overlaying of the deeply mystic nature of its teachings with a pseudo-rationalism and an unsound historicity may be the root cause for driving people to seek for things greater than they feel their individual selves to be in the many sensation-giving activities in the world today. "

"The mysterious manner in which this growing sense of unity commingles with a sense of utter goodness is worth noting. It arises by no effort of mine; rather does it come to me out of I know not where. Harmony appears gradually and flows through my whole being like music. An infinite tenderness takes possession of me, smoothing away the harsh cynicism which a reiterated experience of human ingratitude and human treachery has driven deeply into my temperament. I feel the fundamental benignity of Nature despite the apparent manifestation of ferocity. Like the sounds of every instrument in an orchestra that is in tune, all things and all people seem to drop into the sweet relationship that subsists within the Great Mother's own heart. "

"The ordinary man is aware of his surroundings, first, by naming and labeling them; second, by linking them with past memory of them; and third, by relating them to his own personal self. The illumined egoless man is simply aware of them, without any of these other added activities. "

"The philosophic outlook rises above all sectarian controversy. It finds its own position not only by appreciating and synthesizing what is solidly based in the rival sects but also by capping them all with the keystone of nonduality. "

"The presence of evil in his life provokes him into either overcoming it or yielding to it. If the first, it has led him to work for his own improvement; if the second it has led him to acknowledge his own weakness. Sooner or later, the unpleasant consequences of such weakness will lead him to grapple with it, and develop his power of will... Immediately and directly; it may either strengthen him or weaken him. Ultimately, it can only strengthen him. "

"The seeker after stillness should be told that the stillness is always there. Indeed it is in every man. But he has to learn, first, to let it in and, second, how to do so. The first beginning of this is to remember. The second is to recognize the inward pull. For the rest, the stillness itself will guide and lead him to itself. "

"The source of wisdom and power, of love and beauty, is within ourselves, but not within our egos. It is within our consciousness. Indeed, its presence provides us with a conscious contrast which enables us to speak of the ego as if it were something different and apart: it is the true Self whereas the ego is only an illusion of the mind. "

"The succession of thoughts appears in time, but the gap between two of them is outside time. The gap itself is normally unobserved. The chance of enlightenment is missed. "

"There are little graces, such as those which produce the glimpse; but there is only one great Grace: this produces a lasting transformation, a deep radical healing and permanent enlightenment."

"This withdrawal from the day's turmoil into creative silence is not a luxury, a fad, or a futility. It is a necessity, because it tries to provide the conditions wherein we are able to yield ourselves to intuitive leadings, promptings, warnings, teachings, and counsels and also to the inspiring peace of the soul. It dissolves mental tensions and heals negative emotions. "

"When every situation which life can offer is turned to the profit of spiritual growth, no situation can really be a bad one. "

"When it seems humanly impossible to do more in a difficult situation, surrender yourself to the inner silence and thereafter wait for a sign of obvious guidance or for a renewal of inner strength. "

"When spiritual seeking becomes too complicated, its exercies too elaborated, its doctrines too esoteric, it becomes also too artificial and the resulting achievements too fabricated. It is the beginners and intermediates who carry this heavy and unnecessary burden, who involve themselves to the point of becoming neurotics. "

"Whoever wants the I to yield up its mysterious and tremendous secret must stop it from looking perpetually in the mirror, must stop the little ego's fascination with its own image. "

"Worry is spiritual short sight. Its cure is intelligent faith. "

"A man may be holy without being wise, but he cannot be wise without being holy. That is why philosophy is necessary, why religion and mysticism are not enough, although excellent as far as they go."

"A man may live on the surface of life or in the divine depths of being beneath his ego?s sub-surface. It is for him to make the effort, dive again and again until there is contact."

"A mind caught up with spiritually significant meanings, or attentively held by highly beautiful sounds, is a mind that one day will respond to Truth."

"A subtle careful analysis of the three states of consciousness will show the logical need of a fourth, which is their hidden basis."

"All humans pass through the portals of death but which of them pass through it knowingly, consciously and calmly?"

"All occult and psychic powers are either extensions of man?s human capacity or of his animal senses. They are still semi-materialistic, because connected with his ego or his body. All truly spiritual powers are on afar higher and quite different plane. They belong to his divine self."

"All occult experiences and spirit visions are mental, and not spiritual, in the sense that the mind has various latent powers which pertain to the ego, not Overself. The question of which is real can be answered differently according to standpoint. He need not trouble about the occult side, which would be a degeneration for him. His chief aim must be to realize pure B-e-i-n-g, not to see or experience outside it. Only after this has been done is it safe or wise to concern himself with anything occult."

"All scientific evidence indicates that there is a single power which presides over the whole universe, and all religious mystic experience and philosophic insight confirms it. Not only is this so, but this power also maintains the universe; its intelligence is unique, matchless, incredible. This power is what I call the World-Mind."

"All the forces of the physical world are derived from a single source ? the solar energy."