Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Longing

"Our happiness depends on the fulfillment of our deepest longings. Our most fundamental longing is for something which is our essential being we already really are. Our happiness, therefore, depends on the extent to which we are able to conform to our inner destiny. But such a consummation is only possible insofar as we freely fulfill this intention in our daily life." - Karlfried Graf Von Dürckheim, fully Karl Friedrich Alfred Heinrich Ferdinand Maria Graf Eckbrecht von Dürckheim-Montmartin

"Longing after the Highest and Noblest, attachment to the Whole, soaring up to the Infinite, despite our finiteness and limitedness - this is religion." - Abraham Geiger

"The longing for certainty and repose is in every human mind. But certainty is generally illusion and repose is not the destiny of man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"To reach the depths of the beauty of our souls in our close relationships, we must be prepared to walk into the dark side of intimacy and out the other side into the light. Our most meaningful relationships are based on what we are capable of becoming, rather than on what we have been or what we are, on our longing for expansion rather than our preoccupation with comfort and security." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"We gain nothing by being with such as ourselves: we encourage each other in mediocrity. I am always longing to be with men more excellent than myself." - Charles Lamb

"Romance is an everlasting longing." - Molly Losey

"Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind... the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be." -

"Very few persons, comparatively, know how to Desire with sufficient intensity. They do not know what it is to feel and manifest that intense, eager, longing, craving, insistent, ardent, overwhelming desire of the drowning man for a breath of air; of the shipwrecked or desert-lost man for a drink of water; of the famished man for bread and meat." - Robert Collier

"God hides some ideal in every human soul. At some time in our life we feel a trembling, fearful longing to do some good thing. Life finds its noblest spring of excellence in this hidden impulse to do our best." - Robert Collyer

"Be short in all religious exercises. Better leave the people longing than loathing." - Nathaniel Emmons

"No earthly purpose satisfies man’s longing to find his eternal reason for being... Man seeks incessantly for the meaning of life until he discovers the single eternal purpose for his existence. That purpose is the same for every man and woman. God created us because He longs to enter into fellowship with us. We belong to Him by right of creation. We can never know order and harmony in this life until we choose to establish a right relationship with God... Our search for meaning to life will end only when we establish that personal relationship with God and begin our walk with Him - for time and for eternity. Then comes that glorious personal fulfillment described in holy writ as the “peace that passes all understanding.”" - Jerry Falwell

"It is impossible to conceive any contrast more entire and absolute than that which exists between a heart glowing with love to God, and a heart in which the love of money has cashiered all sense of God - His love, His presence, His glory; and which is no sooner relieved from the mockery of a tedious round of religious formalism than it reverts to the sanctuaries where its wealth is invested, with an intenseness of homage surpassing that of the most devout Israelite who ever, from a foreign land, turned his longing eyes toward Jerusalem." - Richard Fuller

"Every gain made by individuals or societies is almost instantly taken for granted. The luminous ceiling toward which we raise our longing eyes becomes, when we have climbed to the next floor, a stretch of disregarded linoleum beneath our feet." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"There is a way of being an artist that goes so deep and is so much a matter of origins and destinies that no longing seems to it sweeter and more worth knowing than longing after the bliss of the commonplace." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"The will to truth is merely the longing for a stable world." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"Every natural longing has its natural satisfaction. If we thirst, God has created liquid to gratify thirst. If we are susceptible of attachment, there are beings to gratify that love. If we thirst for life and love eternal, it is likely there are an eternal life and an eternal love to satisfy that craving." -

"We live in a biochemical, neurophysiological, resonant quantum soup. If this is true, the responsibility for what we have for our inner life is enormous, and extends far beyond one’s own personal and spiritual development. Whatever our inner experience might be in terms of love and passion, hate and greed, abundance and longing, or any other human qualities may well not be ours alone." - Jeanne Achterberg

"When there is nothing in the world that can trigger agitation, then one is free from the pain of longing." - Buddhist Discourses NULL

"Axial sensibility: the sense that we find ourselves caught up largely in appearances and are trapped in and subject to various forms of bondage, such as political, psychological, and possibly spiritual ones. Coupled with this sense is the further sense that there must be an elsewhere, or another and better way of being here in the world as it is not, one that better engages reality and gives us a sense of liberation rather than confinement. This axial sense may prove to be but an inchoate [just begun, lacking order, origin] and unrealistic longing, but it has been and continues to be experienced by many as genuine and inescapable. It has often been described as a longing for a belonging, driven in part by a sense of not belonging to the world as it is, of being displaced in it." - Stephen A. Erickson

"Prayer is not asking; it is the longing of the soul." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"A longing after sensual pleasures is a dissolution of the spirit of a man." - Jeremy Taylor

"Prayer is a spiritual sighing and longing of a finite being to return to its origin." -

"Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor, and limited, that the urge to escape and the longing to transcend themselves, if only for a few moments, is and always has been one of the principal appetites of the soul." -

"Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor, and limited, that the urge to escape and the longing to transcend themselves, if only for a few moments, is and always has been one of the principal appetites of the soul." -

"Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor, and limited, that the urge to escape and the longing to transcend themselves, if only for a few moments, is and always has been one of the principal appetites of the soul." -

"Since things that are found in the soul are of three kinds - passions, faculties, states of character, virtue must be one of these. By passions I mean appetite, anger, fear, confidence, envy, joy, friendly feeling, hatred, longing, emulation, pity, and in general the feelings that are accompanied by pleasure or pain; by faculties the things in virtue of which we are said to be capable of feeling these, for example, of becoming angry or being pained or feeling pity; by states of character the things in virtue of which we stand well or badly with reference to the passions, for example, with reference to anger we stand badly if we feel it violently or too weakly, and well if we feel it moderately; and similarly with reference to the other passions. Now neither the virtues nor the vices are passions, because we are not called good or bad on the ground of our virtues and our vices, and because we are neither praised nor blamed for our passions (for the man who feels fear or anger is not praised, nor is the man who simply feels anger blamed, but the man who feels it in a certain way), but for our virtues and our vices we are praised or blamed." - Aristotle NULL

"A crisis does not always appear to a policy-maker as a series of dramatic events. Usually it imposes itself as an exhausting agenda of petty chores demanding both concentration and endurance. One is forced to react to scraps of information in very limited spans of time; longing for full knowledge, one must chart a route through the murk of unknowing." - Henry Kissinger, fully Henry Alfred Kissinger

"This longing after immortality? Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror, of falling into nought? Why shrinks the soul back on herself, and startles at destruction. ‘Tis the divinity that stirs within us; ‘tis heaven itself, that points out an hereafter, and intimates eternity to man." - Joseph Addison

"Strife in Nature is but disorder longing for order." - Kahlil Gibran

"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and through they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth." - Kahlil Gibran

"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself." - Kahlil Gibran

"The orgasm has replaced the Cross as the focus of longing and the image of fulfillment." - Malcolm Muggeridge

"To live is to think... Nature has planted in our minds an insatiable longing to see the truth." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"To say that everything is God, and that when we die we return to God, or more accurately, continue in Him avails our longing nothing; for if this indeed be so, then we were in God before we were born, and if when we die we return to where we were before being born, then the human soul, the individual consciousness, is perishable." -

"Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone, and the only one who seeks out another. His nature -if that word can be used in reference to man, who has ‘invented’ himself by saying ‘no’ to nature- consists in his longing to realize himself in another. Man is nostalgia and a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude." - Octavio Paz, born Octavio Paz Lozano

"The want of necessaries is always... accompanied by the envious longing for superfluities." - Solon NULL

"Wisdom is the marriage of intellect's longing for truth and soul's acceptance of the labryinthine nature of the human condition." - Thomas Moore

"Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor, and limited, that the urge to escape and the longing to transcend themselves, if only for a few moments, is and always has been one of the principal appetites of the soul." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind... the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. " - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"The act of longing for something will always be more intense than the requiting of it." - Gail Godwin, fully Gail Kathleen Godwin

"All that produces longing in the heart deprives the heart of freedom." - Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan

"Poetic experience is distinct in nature from mystical experience. Because poetry emanates from the free creativity of the spirit, it is from the very start oriented toward expression, and terminates in a word proffered, it wants to speak; whereas mystical because it emanates from the deepest longing of the spirit bent on knowing, tends of itself toward silence and internal fruition. Poetic experience is busy with the created world and the enigmatic and innumerable relations of existents with one another, not with the Principle of Being." - Jacques Maritain

"There is a third dimension to traveling, the longing for what is beyond." - Jan Myrdal

"The distant soul can shake the distant friend's soul and make the longing felt, over untold miles." - John Masefield

"The deepest human longing is to be a thought in God’s mind, to be the object of His attention." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"By contrition we are made clean, by compassion we are made ready, and by true longing toward God we are made worthy. These are three means, as I understand, whereby that all souls come to heaven: that is to say, that have been sinners in earth and shall be saved: for by these three medicines it behoveth that every soul be healed." - Julian of Norwich NULL

"It is a simple truth that the human mind can face better the most oppressive government, the most rigid restrictions, than the awful prospect of a lawless, frontierless world. Freedom is a dangerous intoxicant and very few people can tolerate it in any quantity; it brings out the old raiding, oppressing, murderous instincts; the rage for revenge, for power, the lust for bloodshed. The longing for freedom takes the form of crushing the enemy- there is always the enemy!- into the earth; and where and who is the enemy if there is no visible establishment to attack, to destroy with blood and fire? Remember all that oratory when freedom is threatened again. Freedom, remember, is not the same as liberty." - Katherine Anne Porter, born Callie Russell Porter

"We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes." -

"Annihilation has no terrors for me, because I have already tried it before I was born /a hundred million years /and I have suffered more in an hour, in this life, than I remember to have suffered in the whole hundred million years put together. There was a peace, a serenity, an absence of all sense of responsibility, an absence of worry, an absence of care, grief, perplexity; and the presence of a deep content and unbroken satisfaction in that hundred million years of holiday which I look back upon with a tender longing and with a grateful desire to resume, when the opportunity comes." - Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens

"No purpose intervenes between I and You, no greed and no anticipation; and longing itself is changed as it plunges from the dream into appearance. Every means is an obstacle. Only where all means have disintegrated encounters occur." - Martin Buber