Favorite quotes

The body

“Hands make the world each day.” ~ Pablo Neruda

“Menders of all times and places have taught that silencing the thoughts in our heads and opening to the experiences of the body and emotions is the basis for all healing. It’s the only means by which we can reclaim our true nature or feel the subtle cues telling us how to find our way through life.” ~ Martha Beck

“There is never a thought, feeling or emotion that does not have a corresponding body sensation. Each experience is imprinted in every cell of our body. Every thought, feeling and emotion has a location in the body, its own ‘zip code’. Sometimes it may move to a new zip code. Follow it.” ~ Contemplative Outreach 

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” ~ Martha Graham

“As we inhabit our body with increasing sensitivity, we learn its unspoken language and patterns, which gives us tremendous freedom to make choices. The practice of cutting thoughts and dispersing negative repetitive patterns can be simplified by attending to the patterns in the body first, before they begin to be spun around in the mind.” ~ Jill Satterfield

“Too often, people think that solving the world’s problems is based on conquering the earth, rather than touching the earth, touching ground.” ~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life… I think that what we’re really seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we can actually feel the rapture of being alive.” ~ Joseph Campbell

A revelation for me was a conversation I once had with a radiologist. I asked, of all the amazing things he had seen, what stood out in his memory as the most miraculous?

He said it was seeing a living spinal cord for the first time. I was surprised, as I had seen spinal cords only after dissection. They looked like a bunch of yellowish wires hanging down, like tentacles of a dead jellyfish.

I asked him what he meant. He said, “It looks like it’s dancing to the Rolling Stones.” He said in a living person the spinal cord is constantly and rhythmically moving. ~ David Lauterstein

Destiny

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

‎”I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Don’t search for the answers which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually live your way into the answer.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our literature, our music, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different than the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

“The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

“Remember this: we be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” ~ Arundhati Roy

“Oh, my God. What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65 or 75, and you never got your novel or memoir written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools or oceans because your thighs were jiggly or you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” ~ Anne Lamott

Love

“Our suffering was not caused by our parents or grandparents. It was merely passed down. We are social animals. We grow through modeling. We teach what we have learned. We act as we have been acted upon. A person who is not loving has not experienced love. It is not his fault. Realizing this gives rise to forgiveness. And in Chan we vow that suffering will stop with us. We will not pass it down.” ~ Guo Jun, “A Special Transmission”

“If a single person achieves the highest kind of love it will be sufficient to neutralize the hate of millions.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Presence

“Experiencing the worst, you look, and instead, here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see. Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings.” ~ Rumi

“The quality of my Presence depends on the relation of my thought, my feeling, and my sensation. In order to be attuned to a more subtle force, the attention of each part needs to concentrate, to become charged with a new meaning and power to relate voluntarily. In this way the thinking purifies itself, as do the feeling and the sensation. Each plays its own role and functions in concert with the others for the same goal of being attuned with a more subtle Presence. This Presence needs to shine, to animate my body. It has an intelligence, a vision that is like a light in the darkness and thickness of my sleep.” ~ Jeanne de Salzmann

“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes.” ~ Yoda

“Eternity is not a long time; rather, it is another dimension. It is that dimension to which time-thinking shuts us. And so there never was a creation. Rather, there is a continuous creating going on. This energy is pouring into every cell of our being right now, every board and brick of the buildings we sit in, every grain of sand and wisp of wind.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Truth

“One of the interesting things about success is that we think we know what it means. A lot of the time our ideas about what it would mean to live successfully are not our own. They’re sucked in from other people. And we also suck in messages from everything from the television to advertising to marketing, et cetera. These are hugely powerful forces that define what we want and how we view ourselves.” ~ unknown

“What I want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but that we should make sure that they are our own. We should focus in on our ideas and make sure that we own them, that we’re truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.” ~ Alain de Botton

“If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” ~ Charlie Parker

“Truth is best served by recognizing a viewpoint as only a viewpoint, and refraining from taking that extra step of regarding it as true to the exclusion of all other views. In other words, all views—even correct views—are best held gently, rather than grasped firmly.” ~ Andrew Olendzki

Waking up

“You will lose everything. Your money, your power, your fame, your success, perhaps even your memories. Your looks will go. Loved ones will die. Your body will fall apart. Everything that seems permanent is impermanent and will be smashed. Experience will gradually, or not so gradually, strip away everything that it can strip away. Waking up means facing this reality with open eyes and no longer turning away.

“But right now, we stand on sacred and holy ground, for that which will be lost has not yet been lost, and realising this is the key to unspeakable joy. Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you. This may sound trivial, obvious, like nothing, but really it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence. Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude.

“Loss has already transfigured your life into an altar.” ~ Jeff Foster

“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~ Alan Watts

“The most important part of the practice is for the question to remain alive and for your whole body and mind to become a question. In Zen they say that you have to ask with the pores of your skin and the marrow of your bones. A Zen saying points out: Great questioning, great awakening; little questioning, little awakening; no questioning, no awakening.” ~ Martine Batchelor

“The fundamental aim of Buddhist practice is not belief; it’s enlightenment, the awakening that takes place when illusion has been overcome. It may sound simple, but it’s probably the most difficult thing of all to achieve. It isn’t some kind of magical reward that someone can give you or that a strong belief will enable you to acquire. The true path to awakening is genuine discernment; it’s the very opposite of belief.” ~ Trinlay Tulku Rinpoche

“Since the sense of self is the embodiment of the absence of awareness, forgetting to observe is inevitable as we try harder to be aware. The problem of how to be mindful is actually resolved not through strenuous effort but by relaxing, allowing, and observing what is already here. Within the framework of relaxation, the sense of self has a diminishing power center, making space for awareness to be revealed.” ~ Rodney Smith

“Free passion is radiation without a radiator, a fluid, pervasive warmth that flows effortlessly. It is not destructive because it is a balanced state of being and highly intelligent. Self-consciousness inhibits this intelligent, balanced state of being. By opening, by dropping our self-conscious grasping, we see not only the surface of an object, but we see the whole way through. We appreciate not in terms of sensational qualities alone, but we see in terms of whole qualities, which are pure gold. ~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Wisdom

“There is grace in suffering. Suffering is part of the training program for wisdom.” ~ Ram Dass

“Maturity demands the equanimity and self-confidence to be fully engaged yet sufficiently detached to assess what’s going on. To be both actor and witness, no longer locked into the roller coaster of life’s ups and downs and shifting attachments, but now taking responsibility that things turn out as you want them to.” ~ Gabrielle Roth

“All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” ~ Helen Keller

“If you’re alone in a room and you’re suffering, eventually it will dawn on you that you’re the one who’s causing it.” ~ Byron Katie

“Remember that you don’t have to like or admire someone to feel compassion for that person. All you have to do is wish for that person to be happy.” ~ Thanissaro Bhikku

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” ~ Mark Twain

When the Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him the most, he said, “Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”

“Indeed, the ineffability of the air seems akin to the ineffability of awareness itself, and we should not be surprised that many indigenous peoples construe awareness, or ‘mind,’ not as a power that resides inside their heads, but rather as a quality that they themselves are inside of, along with the other animals and the plants, the mountains and the clouds.” ~ David Abram

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