Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"The key to the art of prayer is thought. As we think so we pray. The highest level of prayer is to think God’s thoughts after Him, to attune our lives to love, hope, faith, justice, kindness; to become open channels for the goodness of God. Prayer is quiet meditation about eternal values. It is the mind adventuring in the universe. Prayer moves with the instantaneous speed of thought, through infinite space, to the four corners of the earth, to the depth of the human heart, to the mountaintop of inspiration." - Wilferd Peterson, fully Wilferd Arlan Peterson

"You become spiritually rich when you discover the riches of the kingdom within: when you have a consciousness of the oneness of all life; when you experience kinship with nature; when you are open to the buoyant spiritual life of being in tune with the Infinite; when you know the power of meditation and prayer." - Wilferd Peterson, fully Wilferd Arlan Peterson

"A free man thinks of death least of all things; and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life." -

"Meditation needs no results. Meditation can have itself as an end, I meditate without words and on nothingness. What tangles my life is writing." - Hélène Cixous

"Never under any circumstances say that meditation and wisdom are different; they are one unity, not two things. Meditation itself is the substance of wisdom; wisdom itself is the function of meditation." - Dajian Hui-neng or Huineng

"The meditator is different from meditation. As long as there is a meditator, there is no meditation. You understand all this? Because the meditator is concerned about himself - how he is progressing, what he is doing, 'I hope I will be better tomorrow', anxiety, in meditation there is no meditator. Once you have seen this, sir, for yourself, the beauty, the depth, the subtleties of it." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Meditation is not something that you practise for an hour or ten minutes and the rest of the day do your mischief. Meditation is the whole of life and that is the beauty of meditation, it is not something set aside, it covers and enters into all our activities and to all our thoughts and feelings. So it is not something that you practise or give attention to once a day or three times a day or ten times a day and the rest of the day live a life that is shoddy, neurotic, mischievous, violent" - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Meditation is the understanding of the whole structure of the 'me', the self, the ego, and whether it is possible to be totally free of the self, not seek some super-self. The super-self is still the self. So meditation is something which is not a cultivated, determined, activity." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"If you observe your own mind in what you call meditation, you will see that there is always a division, a contradiction between the thinker and the thought. As long as there is a thinker apart from thought, meditation is merely a ceaseless effort to overcome this contradiction." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"What is understanding? -- understanding is pure intelligence. That pure intelligence is originally yours; you are born with it. Nobody can give you intelligence. Knowledge can be given to you, not intelligence. Intelligence is your own sharpened being. Through deep meditation one sharpens one's being; through meditation one drops borrowed thoughts, reclaims one's own being, reclaims one's originality, redaims one's childhood, innocence, freshness. Out of that freshness, when you act, you act out of understanding. And then the response is total, here-now; and the response is because of the challenge, not because of the past." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"More than anything else I have come to see meditation as a radical act of love, an inward gesture of benevolence and kindness toward ourselves and toward others, a gesture of the heart that recognizes our perfection even in our obvious imperfection, with all our shortcomings, our wounds, our attachments, our vexations, and our persistent habits of unawareness." - Jon Kabat-Zinn

"There are four major stages of spiritual unfolding: belief, faith, direct experience, and permanent adaptation: you can believe in Spirit, you can have faith in Spirit, you can directly experience Spirit, you can become Spirit… Meditation is not primarily uncovering the repressed unconscious, but allowing the emergence of higher domains--which usually leaves the lower, repressed domains still lower, and still repressed… Well, the point, of course, is to take up integral practice as the only sound and balanced way to proceed…If you are interested in genuine transformative spirituality, find an authentic spiritual teacher and begin practice. Without practice, you will never move beyond the phases of belief, faith, and random peak experiences. You will never evolve into plateau experiences, nor from there into permanent adaptation. You will remain, at best, a brief visitor in the territory of your own higher estate, a tourist of you own true Self." - Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

"The human mind loves the bondage of words and is apt, when freed from one form of their tyranny, to set up another more oppressive than the last. The highest function of philosophy is to enforce the attitude of meditation and therewithall restrain the excessive volubility of the tongue. To us it seems that the reflective thinker wins his greatest victories when by what he says he compels us to recognise the relative insignificance of anything he can say. His task is not to capture Reality, but to free it from captivity. " - L. P. Jacks, fully Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

"When you contemplate the body by being within the body, you should not engage in all sorts of ideas about it; the same when you contemplate feelings by being within feelings, you should enter in without ideas; the same applies to contemplating the mind by being within the mind and contemplating thoughts by being within thoughts. The thoughts should be just the objects of mind and you should not apply yourself to any train of ideas connected with them. In this way, by putting ideas aside, your mind will become tranquil and fixed on one point. It will then enter into a meditation that is without discursive thought and is rapturous and joyful." - Majjhima Nikāya

"With meditation I found a ledge above the waterfall of my thoughts." - Mary Pipher, aka Mary Elizabeth Pipher or Mary Bray Pipher

"No amount of prayer or meditation can do what helping others can do." - Meher Baba, born Merwan Sheriar Irani

"By two ways one may go to God, the first by Meditation and Discourse or Reasoning; the second by pure Faith and Contemplation. There are two ways of going to God, the one by Consideration and Mental Discourse, and the other by the Purity of Faith, an indistinct, general and confused knowledge. The first is called Meditation, the second Internal Recollection, or acquir’d Contemplation. The first is of Beginners, the second of Proficients. The first is sensible and material, the second more naked, pure and internal" - Miguel de Molinos

"The meditation of time resting in the eternity, of our life flowing over God’s eternal life, is something to shake the roots of our soul." - Miguel de Unamuno, fully Miguel de Unamuno y Jogo

"These examples suggest what one needs to learn to control attention. In principle any skill or discipline one can master on one’s own will serve: meditation and prayer if one is so inclined; exercise, aerobics, martial arts for those who prefer concentrating on physical skills. Any specialization or expertise that one finds enjoyable and where one can improve one’s knowledge over time. The important thing, however, is the attitude toward these disciplines. If one prays in order to be holy, or exercises to develop strong pectoral muscles, or learns to be knowledgeable, then a great deal of the benefit is lost. The important thing is to enjoy the activity for its own sake, and to know that what matters is not the result, but the control one is acquiring over one’s attention." - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, native form is Csíkszentmihályi Mihály

"Your own body is a sanctuary and celestial mansion... in the monastery of your heart and body, you have a temple where all buddhas unite... the very basis of his [marpa's] teaching is that this meditation be practiced in solitude... for a life that leads to enlightenment is more precious than a billion worlds filled with gold... having embraced the spirit rather than the letter, I forgot how to play with words... measuring the infinitude of non-duality, he will loose his arrows throughout the world. Those whom he will strike are the faithful ones. that which he will kill is their clinging to self." - Milarepa, fully Jetsun Milarepa NULL

"Life is purposeless. Don’t be shocked. The whole idea of purpose is wrong — it comes out of greed. Life is a sheer joy, a playfulness, a fun, a laughter, to no purpose at all. Life is its own end, it has no other end. The moment you understand it you have understood what meditation is all about. It is living your life joyously, playfully, totally, and with no purpose at the end, with no purpose in view, no purpose there at all. Just like small children playing on the sea beach, collecting seashells and coloured stones — for what purpose? There is no purpose at all." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"The art of life begins with meditation. And by meditation I mean silence of the mind, silence of the heart, reaching to the very center of your being and finding the treasure that is your reality. Once you have known it, you can radiate love, you can radiate life, you can radiate creativity. Your words will become poetic, your gestures will have grace; even your silence will have a song to it. Even if you are sitting unmoving, you will be in a dance. Each breath coming in, going out, will be a joy, each heartbeat so precious because it is the heart beat of the universe itself — you are part of it." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"If one can attain enlightenment through love it is one of the most beautiful experiences, far more beautiful than to attain enlightenment through meditation because meditation is a single note, solo, there is no orchestra in it. Love is an orchestra, two beings playing together. It is far richer." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"The idea of enlightenment is to remain in the present moment. I call it meditation — not to go into the past, which is no more, not to go into the future, which is not yet — because if you go into past and future, you are going to miss the present moment, which is the only reality. Just be here, now. And if you are here and now, enlightenment comes of its own accord. It is not a goal that you have to reach. It is not somewhere far away, so that you have to travel a path to it. It comes to you, you never go to it. It is not your doing, it is a happening." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"Death is the point at which knowledge fails, and when knowledge fails, mind fails. And when mind fails, there is a possibility of truth penetrating you. But people don’t know. When somebody dies you don’t know what to do, you are very embarrassed. When somebody dies it is a great moment to meditate. I always think that each city needs a Death Center. When somebody is dying and his death is very, very imminent he should be moved to the Death Center. It should be a small temple where people who can go deep in meditation should sit around him, should help him to die, and should participate in his being when he disappears into nothing. If you are identified with anything, you will suffer death. Life has to be a joy, a dance, a celebration. And when death comes, it has to be welcomed with silence, with serenity — wholeheartedly, not holding anything back. This is a way to kill death itself." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"The foundation behind the practice of Yoga, or meditation proper, is the resolution of conflicts and fulfilment of all longings to the utmost extent until one reaches infinity itself. What a grand thing is Yoga! Now we realise! We will be surprised that our very life is there only for that goal. Now we will be able to appreciate that Yoga is not a religion. It is not Hinduism. It is not Buddhism. It is not Christian mysticism. It is not anything of that sort." - Pandit Usharbudh Arya

"In deep meditation the flow of concentration is continuous like the flow of oil. " - Patañjali NULL

"Peace can be reached through meditation on the knowledge which dreams give. Peace can also be reached through concentration upon that which is dearest to the heart." - Patañjali NULL

"Progress in meditation comes swiftly for those who try their hardest." - Patañjali NULL

"The eight means of yoga are self-restraint, faithful observance, right posture, intentional breathing, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and awareness." - Patañjali NULL

"Those who have died, entered the paradise between births, are in a condition resembling meditation without an external object. But in the fullness of time, the seeds of desire in them will spring up, and they will be born again into this world. " - Patañjali NULL

"First practice the presence of God in daily life by making your meditation very deep. It is better to meditate a little bit with depth than to mediate long with the mind running here and there. If you do not make an effort to control the mind it will go on doing as it pleases, no matter how long you sit to meditate." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"God has not be earned. He has only to be sought. Meditation is the only way. Beliefs, reading books — these cannot give you realization. ... Meditation brings proof of the existence of God. ... The more you meditate the more you will feel the endless joy of God." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"Ignorant devotees who have visions of lesser deities in meditation do not know that all those forms are merely temporary, meager manifestations of the essentially unmanifested Spirit. They concentrate on the finite forms of the Infinite God and thus, in their minds, limit Him... He who worships God merely as a finite form will not attain the transcendental divine union with His infinite nature." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"The wise do not expect to reap everlasting happiness from friends, beloved family, or dear possessions! The forms of loved ones are snatched away by death. Material objects turn out to be meaningless when one becomes used to them; or when, in old age, the senses grow unappreciative, powerless. Concentrate on the immortal Spirit through meditation and find there a harvest of eternal, ever new peace!" - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

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

"It is only when we begin to relax with ourselves that meditation becomes a transformative process. Only when we relate with ourselves without moralizing, without harshness, without deception, can we let go of harmful patterns. " - Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

"Well, it starts with being willing to feel what we are going through. It starts with being willing to have a compassionate relationship with the parts of ourselves that we feel are not worthy of existing on the planet. If we are willing through meditation to be mindful not only of what feels comfortable, but also of what pain feels like, if we even aspire to stay awake and open to what we're feeling, to recognize and acknowledge it as best we can in each moment, then something begins to change." - Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

"What's encouraging about meditation is that even if we shut down, we can no longer shut down in ignorance. We see very clearly that we're closing off. That in itself begins to illuminate the darkness of ignorance." - Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

"Some people think that meditation takes time away from physical accomplishment. Taken to extremes, of course, that's true. Most people, however, find that meditation creates more time than it takes." - Peter McWilliams, fully Peter Alexander McWilliams

"We tend to think of meditation in only one way. But life itself is a meditation." - Raúl Juliá, aka Raul Rafael Carlos Julia y Arceley

"Love is seeing God in the person next to us, and meditation is seeing God within us. " - Ravi Shankar, born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury, aka Pandit

"You give up not meditating. It's called meditation action. There's no way out of it. Meditation means to be constantly extricating yourself from the clinging of mind." - Ram Dass, aka Baba Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert

"My breast I am smiting, My own sins indicting. How then canst Thou draw me To strife and thus awe me, And bring Me to judgment? My branch hangeth ailing, My eyelid is failing, My aims to derision Are turned by the vision Of Thee bringing judgment. The creditor calleth, The dread decree falleth, The awful day breaking God’s creatures sets quaking In fear of His judgment. Through Thy attributes preaching, Almighty, and teaching, O weigh aberration In the scale of salvation, Nor bring us to judgment. In Thy merciful fashion Award us compassion, That man who but dust is May handle with justice The haters of judgment. Like a vapour evanished, Man is melted and banished, His birth is coëval With a harvest of evil, ’Tis Thou must bring judgment. We await—O behold us— Thy love to enfold us. Did Thy warning not hasten Our impulse to chasten? For the Lord loveth judgment." - Salomon ibn Gabirol, aka Solomon ben Judah or Avicebron

"In the Talmud (some 1800 years ago) it is said that the holy men of old would sit for an hour before prayer. We don’t have an exact idea of what they were doing, but it was probably a kind of contemplative practice. In the Prophets, Elijah says God doesn’t appear in a thundering storm cloud but in a still, small voice. The primary unpronounced name of God in Hebrew is made up of vowel letters that are sounds of the breath itself. The name denotes Being itself. The very rejection of idol worship is akin to liberation from attachment. Hasidism was a popularization of Jewish mysticism or kabbalah. It originated in eastern Europe in the 18th century and drew on a long and complex history of Jewish meditative literature and practice. Hasidism emphasized practicing with intentionality. It taught a notion of dissolution of ego, expanding consciousness, through ecstatic practices but also through contemplative practices. We are not Hasidim, but we are inspired by their teachings. I work with a colleague, Rabbi Jonathan Slater, who teaches a weekly course unpacking Hasidism as a mindfulness practice. Was what we think of as mindfulness meditation exactly what they were doing? Probably not. We integrate other contemporary influences into our worldview such as pluralism, egalitarianism, feminism. But we are in their lineage. The Zohar, the classic mystical text, says that there is no place devoid of God’s presence. The Hasidim say: the whole world is filled with glory. If one is able to come to awareness, one is able to realize one is in God’s presence." - Sheila Peltz Weinberg

"God created one human being, who was male and female. That means ultimately all of us are interconnected. That there is one God means we are all connected. Individual well-being depends on the greater well-being of everyone. There is no separation. This is a call for inclusion. Jews see it as including the weaker, the marginal, the orphans, the stranger. We were slaves in Egypt. Our task is not to replicate Egyptian power. We are free so we can operate differently, and not replicate slavery. Judaism is a complex, ongoing civilization, in which there is more than one view. Judaism is a religion of interpretation. We believe interpretation is part of the unfolding of creation and Divine creativity. Our interpretive tradition draws a connection between spirituality and social justice." - Sheila Peltz Weinberg

"The kinds of spiritual practices we can undertake are limitless. However, ultimately the form is less important than these factors: the commitment to practice, the ability to keep returning to the intention, the attitude one brings to the uncontrollable and the ability to transfer the benefits of the practice into how we live our lives, how we relate to ourselves and others, how free we become to embody the values and ideals we embrace in our minds, how we deal with temptations of all sorts. In other words we practice to live with the wisdom and compassion, which we already possess. We practice to actualize the pure soul, which God has planted with us." - Sheila Peltz Weinberg

"As God sets the soul in this dark night… He allows it not to find attraction or sweetness in anything whatsoever. God transfers to the spirit the good things and the strength of the senses… if it is not immediately conscious of spiritual sweetness and delight, but only of aridity and lack of sweetness, the reason for this is the strangeness of the exchange. #6. If those souls to whom this comes to pass knew how to be quiet at this time… then they would delicately experience this inward refreshment in that ease and freedom from care… it is like the air which, if one would close one’s hand upon it, escapes. In this state of contemplation… it is God Who is now working in the soul. He binds its interior faculties, and allows it not to cling to the understanding, nor to have delight in the will, nor to reason with the memory. God communicates… by pure spirit. From this time forward imagination and fancy can find no support in any meditation." - Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez NULL

"If the memory is annihilated, the devil is powerless, and it liberates us from a lot of sorrow, affliction and sadness." - Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez NULL

"All the good we do, we do for love of God, and the evil we avoid, we avoid for love of God." - Saint Francis de Sales NULL