Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Spirituality

"[Paraphrase] The most dangerous walls are not political or military boundaries but the walls that mutually divide individual people and that divide our own souls. My presidential agenda would be to bring spirituality, moral responsibility and humility into politics and, in that respect, to make clear that there is something higher above us." -

"In our time the attempts made to infuse spirituality into man through faith apart from reason, are like attempts to feed a man otherwise than through his mouth." -

"Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion. Practice good-heartedness toward all beings. Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you. What they will do will not mater so much when you see it as a dream. This is the essential point. This is true spirituality." -

"Pleasure, pride, dominion and superstition, these are the four afflictions which corrupt the spirit of a nation... The essence of nationality is the essence of a people's spirituality." -

"Science has led us from knowledge to knowledge but also from mystery to mystery. Mystery alone can lead us on to true spirituality, to accept and be filled with the mystery of life in our existence." - Albert Schweitzer

"New research suggests that the brain influences, and may, in fact, be wired to experience God or deep spirituality. Religious experience often stems from temporal-lobe and limbic system function,, and obsessions (religious and others) stem from too much activity in the anterior cingulated gyrus and basal ganglia." - Daniel Amen

"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 fact of our being able to form abstract or universal ideas is, in itself, a proof of the immateriality, or, as it is technically called, the spirituality of the soul, a proof that the soul is, in its essence, independent of matter." - Richard Downey

"Fearlessness is the first requisite of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"To glorify God is to be engaged in a concrete spirituality that refuses to draw marked distinctions between sacred and secular, contemplation and deed, theology and ethics." - John Douglas Hall

"The spirituality that flows from our actions is not fleeting, transient, or solitary in a silent cosmos. The music of refined actions, the melody of a noble soul, is woven into the tapestry of eternal music which God Himself composed." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Stories reveal a spirituality that views life not as a problem to be solved, but as a mystery to be lived." - Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

"The core paradox that underlies spirituality is the haunting sense of incompleteness, of being somehow unfinished, that comes from the reality of living on this earth as part and yet also not-part of it. For to be human is to be incomplete, yet year for completion; it is to be uncertain, yet long for certainty; to be imperfect, yet long for perfection; to be broken, yet crave wholeness. All these yearnings remain necessarily unsatisfied, for perfection, completion, certainty, and wholeness are impossible precisely because we are imperfectly human – or better, because we are perfectly human, which is to say humanly imperfect." - Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

"Therapy offers explanations; spirituality offers forgiveness." - Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

"Truth, wisdom, goodness, beauty, the fragrance of a rose – all resemble spirituality in that they are intangible, ineffable realities." - Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

"Autobiographical memories are particularly prone to inaccuracy. Traumatic events embed memories in a powerful but somewhat fragmentary way. Neurological disorders and drugs can disrupt the brain’s ability to distinguish between true and false memories and beliefs. The brain perceives reality and transforms it into an extraordinary range of personal, ethical, and creative premises that we use to build meaning, value, spirituality, and truth into our lives." - Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman

"Authentic spirituality is lived in community." -

"The surge in the interest in spirituality. The word is almost replacing religion in our times. Organized spirituality is the traction that religion needs to take hold. Spirituality has the virtue of lifting out features of religion… In our times, religion is a bad word, while spirituality frees us from the horrors of institutionalized religion." -

"If there is a time of judgment, instead of theological or institutional litmus tests, the only question asked about our life and spirituality will be "Did you love with abandonment?"" - Robert V. Taylor, aka The Very Reverend Robert V. Taylor

"Fearlessness is the first requisite of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral." -

"When you take a stand, it shapes who you are. It sets your priorities. It wakes you up in the morning, and it dresses you. It puts you to bed at night. There's deep spirituality in that way of being." - Lynne Twist

"True spirituality is not a removal or escape from life. It is an opening, a seeing of the world with a deeper vision that is less self-centered, a vision that sees through dualistic views to the underlying interconnectedness of all life. Liberation is the discovery of freedom in the very midst of our bodies and minds." - Jack Kornfield

"Mature spirituality has little to do with altered states of consciousness. Powerful meditation and visionary experiences often initiate people into spiritual life, waking them up to untapped potentials. But mental disciplines, such as meditation cannot single-handedly sustain us on our journeys. We also need to open our hearts, then embody our love in everyday acts of attentive living. This integration of wisdom, love, and embodied action, which requires years of inner and outer work, constitutes our spiritual curriculum in today's modern world." - Jack Kornfield

"The true measure of spirituality lies not in having visions of angels, but in the ability to make that unpleasant phone call." - Joan Borysenko

"Spirituality is best manifested on the ground, not in the air. Rapturous day-dreams, flights of heavenly fancy, longings to see the Invisible, are less expensive and less expressive than the plain doing of duty... Spirituality is seeing God in common things, and showing God in common tasks." - Maltbie Babcock, fully Maltbie Davenport Babcock

"What we need is soul, in the middle, holding together mind and body, ideas and life, spirituality and the world." - Marsilio Ficino

"Addictive spirituality creates dependence in the practitioner (frequently to authoritarian leaders and their communities), an avoidance of personal responsibility, and loss of individuality through social controls, such as fear, guilt, or greed for power or bliss. It also tends to suppress rational inquiry into the teachings. Healthy spirituality, on the other hand, supports the practitioner's freedom, autonomy, self-esteem, and social responsibility. It is based on experience, rather than belief or dogma; it does not create idols out of spiritual teachers; and it empowers students by emphasizing democratic forms of learning and teaching, rather than the authoritarian model that has dominated spiritual life for millennia." - Ronald S. Miller

"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

"No matter how idealistic our hopes... we eventually learn that spirituality is not about leaving life's problems behind, but about continually confronting them with honesty and courage. It is about ending our feeling of separation from others by healing our relationships with parents, co-workers, and friends. it is about bringing heightened awareness and compassion to our family life, careers, and community service." - Ronald S. Miller

"A soul-oriented spirituality begins in a reevaluation of the qualities of soul: subtlety, complexity, ripening, worldliness, incompleteness, ambiguity, wonder." - Thomas Moore

"Sometimes people get the mistaken notion that spirituality is a separate department of life, the penthouse of existence. But rightly understood, it is a vital awareness that pervades all realms of our being... Wherever we may come alive, that is the area in which we are spiritual." - David Steindl-Rast

"In our times, religion is a bad word, while spirituality frees us from the horrors of institutionalized religion. " - Huston Smith, fully Huston Cummings Smith

"Spirituality is not a question of morality, it is a question of vision. Spirituality is not the practising of virtues -- because if you practise a virtue it is no longer a virtue. A practised virtue is a dead thing, a dead weight. Virtue is virtue only when it is spontaneous; virtue is virtue only when it is natural, unpractised -- when it comes out of your vision, out of your awareness, out of your understanding." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"Spirituality is rebellion; religiousness is orthodoxy. Spirituality is individuality; religiousness is just remaining part of the crowd psychology. Religiousness keeps you a sheep, and spirituality is a lion's roar." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"Ours was the first society openly to define itself in terms of both spirituality and of human liberty. It is that unique self-definition which has given us an exceptional appeal, but it also imposes on us a special obligation, to take on those moral duties which, when assumed, seem invariably to be in our own best interests." - Jimmy Carter, fully James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.

"In the life of the mass-order, the culture of the generality tends to conform to the demands of the average human being. Spirituality decays through being diffused among the masses when knowledge is impoverished in every possible way by rationalisation until it becomes accessible to the crude understanding of all." - Karl Jaspers, fully Karl Theodor Jaspers

"Integral spirituality — as the very name "integral" implies — transcends and includes science, it does not exclude, repress, or deny science. To say that the spiritual currents of the cosmos cannot be captured by empirical science is not to say that they deny science, only that they show their face to other methods of seeking knowledge, of which the world has an abundance." - Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

"Flatland accepts no interior domain whatsoever, and reintroducing Spirit is the least of our worries. 'Thus our task is not specifically to reintroduce spirituality and somehow attempt to show that modern science is becoming compatible with God. That approach, which is taken by most of the integrative attempts, does not go nearly deep enough in diagnosing the disease, and thus, in my opinion, never really addresses the crucial issues. 'Rather, it is the rehabilitation of the interior in general that opens the possibility of reconciling science and religion.' " - Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

"There is more spirituality in reason's denial of God than there is in myth's affirmation of God, precisely because there is more depth... even an "atheist" acting from rational-universal compassion is more spiritual than a fundamentalist acting to convert the universe in the name of a mythic-membership god." - Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

"It … came as a shock to us to discover that there are no less than six virtues that are endorsed across every major religious and cultural tradition. … Wisdom and knowledge, Courage, Love and humanity, Justice, Temperance, and Spirituality and Transcendence. " - Martin Seligman, Martin E. P. "Marty" Seligman

"Compassion is the essence of Jesus' teaching, and indeed of the teaching of all great spiritual figures from Mohammed to Isaiah, from Lao Tzu to Chief Seattle. Yet compassion has been sentimentalized and severed from its relationship to justice-making and celebration. Creation Spirituality links the struggle for justice with the yearning for mysticism." - Matthew Fox

"Remember that the first step in spirituality is not to speak ill of others. All human beings have weaknesses and faults. Yet they are all God in their being. Until they become Realized, they have their imperfections. Therefore, before trying to find faults in others and speaking ill of them, try to find your own weaknesses and correct those." - Meher Baba, born Merwan Sheriar Irani

"Any such negation of life would make man inhuman. Divinity is not devoid of humanity. Spirituality must make man more human. It is a positive attitude of releasing all that is good, noble, and beautiful in man. It also contributes to all that is gracious and lovely in the environment. Spirituality does not require the external renunciation of worldly activities or the avoiding of duties and responsibilities. It only requires that, while performing the worldly activities or discharging the responsibilities arising from the specific place and position of the individual, the inner spirit should remain free from the burden of desires." - Meher Baba, born Merwan Sheriar Irani

"My notion of spirituality was different than it is now, but even if I'd been the most fundamentalist of believers, I would have assumed that God had better things to do than arbitrarily smite me with shaking palsy." - Michael J. Fox

"Over the years my religion has changed and my spirituality has evolved. Religion and spirituality are very different, but people often confuse the two. Some things cannot be taught, but they can be awakened in the heart. Spirituality is recognizing the divine light that is within us all. It doesn't belong to any particular religion; it belongs to everyone." - Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.

"That’s what spirituality is really all about: to live death intensely, to live life intensely; to live both so passionately that nothing is left behind unlived, not even death. If you live life and death totally, you transcend. In that tremendous passion and intensity of life and death, you transcend duality, you transcend the dichotomy, you come to the One. That One is really the truth. You can call it God, you can call it life, you can call it truth, samadhi, ecstasy, or whatsoever you choose." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"Sensate culture, has these features: The defining cultural principle is that true reality is sensory – only the material world is real. There is no other reality or source of values. This becomes the ubiquitous organizing principle of society. It permeates every aspect of culture and defines the basic mentality. People are unable to think in any other terms. Sensate culture pursues science and technology, but dedicates little creative thought to spirituality or religion. Dominant values are wealth, health, bodily comfort, sensual pleasures, power and fame. Ethics, politics, and economics are utilitarian and hedonistic. All ethical and legal precepts are considered mere man-made conventions, relative and changeable. Art and entertainment emphasize sensory stimulation. In the decadent stages of Sensate culture there is a frenzied emphasis on the new and the shocking (literally, sensationalism). Religious institutions are mere relics of previous epochs, stripped of their original substance, and tending to fundamentalism and exaggerated fideism (the view that faith is not compatible with reason)." - Pitirim A. Sorokin, fully Pitirim Alexandrovich (Alexander) Sorokin

"There is neither spirit nor matter in the world; the stuff of the universe is spirit-matter. No other substance but this could produce the human molecule. I know very well that this idea of spirit-matter is regarded as a hybrid monster, a verbal exorcism of a duality which remains unresolved in its terms. But I remain convinced that the objections made to it arise from the mere fact that few people can make up their minds to abandon an old point of view and take the risk of a new idea. ... Biologists or philosophers cannot conceive a biosphere or noosphere because they are unwilling to abandon a certain narrow conception of individuality. Nevertheless, the step must be taken. For in fact, pure spirituality is as unconceivable as pure materiality. Just as, in a sense, there is no geometrical point, but as many structurally different points as there are methods of deriving them from different figures, so every spirit derives its reality and nature from a particular type of universal synthesis." - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"Since the evil forces see that the Jewish people are very, very close to the end (to the messiah), and there are Jews nowadays who have tremendous yearning and passion for spirituality and godliness, such a thing that has never occurred in past generations, so the evil forces enter arguments between the tzaddikim, and they establish in the world many false leaders, and even between true tzaddikim the evil forces cause great arguments, until no one knows where truth can be found. Therefore, a person needs to plead very much from Hashem to merit to recognize and come close to the true Tzaddik. " - Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav or Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Nachman from Uman NULL

"Do your worldly duties with a part of your mind and direct most of it to God. A sadhu should think of God with three quarters of his mind and with one quarter should do his other duties. He should be very alert about spiritual things. The snake is very sensitive in its tail. Its whole body reacts when it is hurt there. Similarly, the whole life of a sadhu is affected when his spirituality is touched." - Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL