Let us cherish sympathy. By attention and exercise it may be improved in every man. It prepares the mind for receiving the impressions of virtue; and without it there can be no true politeness. Nothing is more odious than that insensibility which wraps a man up in himself and his own concerns, and prevents his being moved with either the joys or the sorrows of another.
Whoever sets out to persuade men to accept a new idea, or one which seems to be new, not just as an idea, but as a truth that is felt, should know beforehand that the human mind is not a blank sheet, on which one an write with ease, and should not therefore grieve or despair when he finds that people do not pay attention to him.
The first real mental illumination I remember to have experienced was when I saw that the universe exists in each of its individual atoms - that is, the universe is the result of a few simple processes infinitely repeated. When a drop of water has been mathematically measured, every principle will have been used which would be called form in the measurement of the heavens. All life on the globe is sustained by digestion and assimilation; when by voluntary and traumatic action these stop death follows. The history of an individual mind is the history of the race. Know one thing in its properties and relations and you will know all things.
Gentleness in the gait is what simplicity is in the dress. Violent gesture or quick movement inspires involuntary disrespect. One looks for a moment at a cascade; but one sits for hours, lost in thought, and gazing upon the still water of a lake. A deliberate gait, gentle manners, and a gracious tone of voice - all of which may be acquired - give a mediocre man an immense advantage over those vastly superior to him. To be bodily tranquil, to speak little, and to digest without effort are absolutely necessary to grandeur of mind or of presence, or to proper development of genius.
That discipline which corrects the eagerness of worldly passions, which fortifies the heart with virtuous principles, which enlightens the mind with useful knowledge, and furnishes to it matter of enjoyment from within itself, is of more consequence to real felicity than all the provisions which we can make of the goods of fortune.
He is the wisest and happiest man who, by constant attention of thought discovers the greatest opportunity of doing good, and breaks through every opposition that he may improve these opportunities.
There are two principal points of attention necessary for the preservation of this constant spirit of prayer which unites us with God; we must continually seek to cherish it, and we must avoid everything that tends to make us lose it.
Habit has great power. We can become used to almost everything. We can become so used to a life of suffering that we are no longer aware that our suffering is not the way life should be lived. This tendency to lack a feeling of suffering is the biggest obstacle to becoming elevated through suffering. Since we do not feel the suffering, we do not pay attention to it and do not hear its message.. To overcome this, we must obtain an awareness that whenever things are not as they should be it is a message that we should improve ourselves in some area.
There are usually no benefits from becoming angry at others. Your anger does not help you and the subject of your anger usually pays less attention to what you are saying than if you would have said it tactfully and patiently. Becoming angry merely causes harm to your health and makes you feel miserable.
They [trees] hang on from a past no theory can recover. They will survive us. The air makes their music. Otherwise, they live in savage silence, though mites and nematodes and spiders teem at their roots, and though the energy with which they feed on the sun and are able to draw water sometimes hundred of feet up their trunks and into their twigs and branches calls for a deafening volume of sound.
When, in our pain, we turn our attention to life’s purpose, we take up pain as a thread through the labyrinth... But when we deny pain, we are denying life itself. When we flee from pain that we cannot escape, we are fleeing from an opportunity to grow.
In the midst of hopes and cares, of apprehensions and of disquietude, regard every day that dawns upon you as if it was to be your last; then super-added hours, to the enjoyment of which you had not looked forward, will prove an acceptable boon.
One of the most useless of all things is to take a deal of trouble in providing against dangers that never come. How many toil to lay up riches which they never enjoy; to provide for exigencies that never happen; to prevent troubles that never come; sacrificing present comfort and enjoyment in guarding against the wants of a period they may never live to see.