Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Insight

"The purpose of this discipline is to bring man into the habit of applying the insight that has come to him as the result of the preceding disciplines. When one is rising, standing, walking, doing something, stopping, one should constantly concentrate one’s mind on the act and the doing of it, not on one’s relation to the act, or its character or value. One should think: there is walking, there is stopping, there is realizing; not, I am walking, I am doing this, it is a good thing, it is disagreeable, I am gaining merit, it is I who am realizing how wonderful it is. Thence come vagrant thoughts, feelings of elation or of failure and unhappiness. Instead of all this, one should simply practice concentration of the mind on the act itself, understanding it to be an expedient means for attaining tranquillity of mind, realization, insight and Wisdom; and one should follow the practice in faith, willingness and gladness. After long practice the bondage of old habits become weakened and disappears, and in its place appear confidence, satisfaction, awareness and tranquillity. What is the Way of Wisdom designed to accomplish? There are three classes of conditions that hinder one from advancing along the path to Enlightenment. First, there are the allurements arising from the senses, from external conditions and from the discriminating mind. Second, there are the internal conditions of the mind, its thoughts, desires and mood. All these the earlier practices (ethical and mortificatory) are designed to eliminate. In the third class of impediments are placed the individual’s instinctive and fundamental (and therefore most insidious and persistent) urges - the will to live and to enjoy, the will to cherish one’s personality, the will to propagate, which give rise to greed and lust, fear and anger, infatuation, pride and egotism. The practice of the Wisdom Paramita is designed to control and eliminate these fundamental and instinctive hindrances." - Aśvaghoṣa NULL

"A modern commentator made the observation that there re those who seek knowledge about everything and understand nothing. It is wonder - not mere curiosity - a sense of enchantment, of respect for the mysteries of love for the other, that is essential to the difference between a knowing that is simply a gathering of information and techniques and a knowing that seeks insight and understanding. It is wonder that reveals how intimate is the relationship between knowledge of the other and knowledge of the self, between inwardness and outwardness." - Seymour Cohen, fully Seymour Jay Cohen

"The essential problem of freedom, it seems to me, is the problem of the relation of choice and unimpeded effective action to each other... There is an intrinsic connection between choice as freedom and power of action as freedom. A choice which intelligently manifests individuality enlarges the range of action, and this enlargement in turn confers upon our desires greater insight and foresight, and makes choice more intelligent." - John Dewey

"A return from the over-estimation of the property of consciousness is the indispensable preliminary to any genuine insight into the course of psychic events... The unconscious must be accepted as the general basis of the psychic life. The unconscious is the larger circle which includes the smaller circle of the conscious; everything conscious has a preliminary unconscious stage, whereas the unconscious can stop at this stage, and yet claim to be considered a full psychic function." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"A Whole combination of knowledge, insight, abilities and skills as well as moral virtue and spiritual excellence, make up the art of the wifely home-builder." - Samson Raphael Hirsch

"No one can change himself beyond his life, hereafter, beyond his Time, but only within his life. His attainment of unity is something that must belong to his life, this life, that is himself; and if we can equate unity and ‘eternal life’, it is something that cannot life in some ‘tomorrow’ or ‘hereafter’ beyond a man’s life. Its possibilities belong to us now, to something we have to do now. It is this life that must be worked upon, be made more real, by separating the false by insight." - Maurice Nicoll

"Jung said the truth of the matter is that the shadow is ninety percent gold. Whatever has been repressed holds a tremendous amount of energy, with a great positive potential. So the shadow, no matter how troublesome it may be, is not intrinsically evil. The ego, in its refusal of insight and its refusal to accept the entire personality, contributes much more to evil than the shadow." - John A. Sanford, aka Jack

"Psychotherapy is a process in which you will learn to contain your pain until the weight of it collapses into insight." - Michael Solomon

"When you see ordinary situations with extraordinary insight it is like discovering a jewel in rubbish. If work becomes part of your spiritual practice, then your regular, daily problems cease to be only problems and become a source of inspiration. Nothing is rejected as ordinary and nothing is taken as being particularly sacred, but all the substance and material available in life-situations is used." -

"Books are no substitute for living, but they can add immeasurably to its richness. When life is absorbing, books can enhance our sense of its significance. When life is difficult, they can give us momentary release from trouble or a new insight into our problems, or provide the hours of refreshment we need." - May Hill Arbuthnot

"Faith is not something that we acquire once and for all. Faith is an insight that must be acquired at every single moment." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Science will never be able to reduce the value of a sunset to arithmetic. Nor can it reduce friendship to a formula. Laughter and love, pain and loneliness, the challenge of accomplishment in living, and the depth of insight into beauty and truth: these will always surpass the scientific mastery of nature." - Louis Orr

"The majority of those who flatter themselves on their knowledge of the human heart do not separate their boasted insight from their unfavorable feeling about humanity... Nothing indeed imparts a psychological air so much as an habitual attitude of depreciation." - Paul Valéry, fully Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry

"Science is an important part of the humanities because it is based on an essential human trait: curiosity about the how and why of our environment. We must foster wonder, joy of insight." - Victor Weisskopf, fully Victor "Viki" Frederick Weisskopf

"The eye observes only what the mind, the heart, and the imagination are gifted to see; and sight must be reinforced by insight before souls can be discerned as well as manners, ideas as well as objects, realities and relations as well as appearances and accidental connections." - Edwin Percy Whipple

"Religion is devoted and loyal commitment to the best that reason and insight can discover. The liberal understands what loyalty means as the authoritarian never can." - Julius Seelye Bixler

"We may call it spirituality, enthusiasm, spontaneity, outlook, insight, - many names will do, - but what we mean by all of them is essentially the same. It is the power to see the element of eternal principles in which things live, - to see the way in which each fact and act is a true wave on the great ocean of infinity, to see all life full of the life of God, - and so to lose the sense of hardness and separateness in the things which happen and things we do." - Phillips Brooks

"The philosophical and religious West has been axial for almost 3,000 years. In the axial model, a sharp distinction was made between this world and a world beyond, and the idea arose that, although, we are in this world, we are not of this world. According to this model, human life is a journey that leads us from appearance to reality, bondage to liberation, confusion to insight, and darkness to light." - Stephen A. Erickson

"Death is a great adventure, but none need go unconvinced that there is an issue to it. The man of faith may face it as Columbus faced his first voyage from the shores of Spain. What lies across the sea he cannot tell; but his special expectations all may be mistaken; but his insight into the clear meanings of present facts may persuade him beyond doubt that the sea has another shore." -

"The perpetual danger which besets religion is that it may substitute gentility and aestheticism for prophetic insight and power." - Georgia Harkness

"Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are moving. We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it -- but sail we must and not drift, nor lie at anchor." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Without necessity nothing budges, the human personality least of all. It is tremendously conservative, not to say torpid. Only acute necessity is able to rouse it. The developing personality obeys no caprice, no command, no insight, only brute necessity." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"To eliminate the vexation of the mind, it doesn’t help to do something; this only reinforces the mind’s mechanics. Dissolving the mind is instead a matter of not-doing: simply avoid becoming attached to what you see and think. Relinquish the notion that you are separated from the all-knowing mind of the universe. then you can recover the original pure insight and see through all illusions. Knowing nothing, you will be aware of everything. Remember: because clarity and enlightenment are within your own nature, they are regained without moving an inch." - Lao Tzu, ne Li Urh, also Laotse, Lao Tse, Lao Tse, Lao Zi, Laozi, Lao Zi, La-tsze

"Religion in its true sense emphasizes the insight into our experiences and the consciousness that insists upon learning something from them." - Carol Ochs

"A study of comparative religion gives insight into the values of the various faiths, values which transcend different symbols and creeds and in transcending penetrate to the depths of the spiritual consciousness where the symbols and formulas shrink into insignificance." - Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, fully Sir or Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

"True insight is a moment of perceiving a situation before it freezes into similarity with something else." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"The existentialist insight, in part, is that meaning is something we give to life. We do not find meaning so much as throw ourselves at it. The Zen insight, in part, is that worrying about meaning may itself make life less meaningful than it might have been. Part of the virtue of the Zen attitude lies in learning to not need to be busy: learning there is joy and meaning and peace in simply being mindful, not needing to change or be changed. Let the moment mean what it will." - David Schmidtz

"If sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities, it's because they lead to the knowledge that you own your own body (and with it your own voice), and that's the most revolutionary insight of all." -

"What we gain without effort does not satisfy like what comes through the sweat of our brow or the work of self-transformation. No berries taste as sweet as those we pick. No insight changes us as deeply as what we discover ourselves. Prayer might help, but walking the endless path of practice is the only way to a deep reward. Sometimes just the path is reward enough." - Franz Metcalf

"Throughout history, individuals have solved apparently impossible problems during moments of intense inner clarity. Variously called inspiration, peak performance, creative insight, and higher creativity, such moments produce illuminated understanding, which can then be shaped, revised, and carried forward by skill alone." - Helen Palmer

"We should not expect the natural sciences to give us direct insight into the nature of the spirit." - Erwin Schrödinger, fully Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger

"In the highest love between man and woman, or parent and child, as the person reaches the ultimates of strength, self-esteem, or individuality, so also does he simultaneously merge with the other, lose self-consciousness, and more or less transcend selfishness. The same can happen in the creative moment, in the profound aesthetic experience, in the insight experience…and others which I have generalized as peak experiences." - Abraham Harold Maslow

"Humor brings insight and tolerance. Irony brings a deeper and less friendly understanding." - Agnes Repplier

"Humor brings insight and tolerance. Irony brings a deeper and less friendly understanding." -

"Humor brings insight and tolerance. Irony brings a deeper and less friendly understanding." -

"It is the historical function of civilizations to serve, by their downfalls, as stepping stones to the progressive process of the revelation of always deeper religious insight, and the gift of ever more grace to act on this insight." - Arnold J. Toynbee, fully Arnold Joseph Toynbee

"Nothing in life is more exciting and rewarding than the sudden flash of insight that leaves you a changed person - not only changed, but for the better." - Arthur Gordon

"To the man who studies to gain a thorough insight into science, books and study are merely the steps of the ladder by which he climbs to the summit; as soon as a step has been advanced he leaves it behind. The majority of mankind, however, who study to fill their memory with facts do not use the steps of the ladder to mount upward, but take them off and lay them on their shoulders in order that they may take them along, delighting in the weight of the burden they are carrying. They ever remain below because they carry what should carry them." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"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." - Arthur W Osborn

"You grieve for those beyond grief and you speak words of insight; but learned men do not grieve for the dead or the living." - Bhagavad Gītā, simply known as Gita NULL

"If we can, at least occasionally, sever the chains that bind us to our material world and turn inward, we are rewarded by an expansion of our consciousness and a corresponding insight into the realities beyond this three-dimensional world. We will then become aware of our true spiritual potential, of what has been called the “divine spark” that dwells in every one of us." - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"[Zen] is not a kind of “self-actualization,” an expansion of the limited, isolated Me, of the empirical ego. Neither is it a regression, a return into that vegetative ooze of Oneness, before we became aware of our differentiation as separate egos. On the contrary, the Zen experience is the overcoming of the hallucination that the Me is the valid center of observation of the universe. It is a momentary, radical turnabout, a direct perception of and insight into the presence, into the transiency, the finitude that I share with all beings." - Frederick Franck

"Age generally makes men more tolerant; youth is always discontented. The tolerance of age is the result of the ripeness of a judgment which, not merely as the result of indifference, is satisfied even with what is inferior, but, more deeply taught by the grave experience of life, has been led to perceive the substantial, sold worth of the object in question. The insight then to which - in contradistinction fro those ideals - philosophy is to lead us, is, that the real world is as it ought to be, that the truly good, the universal divine reason, is not a mere abstraction, but a vital principle capable of realizing itself." - Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"This is the worst pain a person can suffer: to have insight into much and power over nothing." - Herodotus NULL

"The visible world is nothing but the Mind. They are still in the realm of individuation; their insight is not yet pure." - Lankavatara Sutra NULL

"The soul takes flight to the world that is invisible but there arriving she is sure of bliss and forever dwells in paradise. " - Plato NULL

"The intuition of the moral sentiment is an insight of the perfection of the laws of the soul. These laws execute themselves. They are out of time, out of space, and not subject to circumstance. Thus in the soul of man there is a justice whose retributions are instant and entire. He who does a good deed is instantly ennobled. He who does a mean deed is by the action itself contracted. He who puts off impurity, thereby puts on purity. If a man is at heart just, then in so far is he God." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the sacred in the profane, sounds appealing in theory... Everyday spirituality requires mindfulness, an alert quality of mind that nonjudgmentally observes what happens in each moment. When mindfulness is present, a deep, penetrating awareness develops that gives insight into the world and ourselves. This penetrating quality of mind enables us to respond to the present with greater spontaneity and freedom." - Ronald S. Miller

"Too soon did the doctors of the church forget that the heart - the moral nature - was the beginning and the end and that truth, knowledge, and insight were comprehended in its expansion." -