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Easy is the descent into the lower world.
Night and day the door of glowing dis stands open.
But to recall thy steps and pass out to the upper air
This is the task, this is the work.
Publius Vergilius Maro, "Virgil" (70 B.C.E.)
And yet again
In the cracked
And sooty retort
Of my own unwilling
In your cruel,
Bone and brain
All vain desires,
Vanity and inward blight
Refine. Reform me
Free of what obscures your
Make this vessel be
So to embrace,
Transmit and focus
Your life-searing energy
That so careless flows
To and through
Anchorite's Prayer (250)
God is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction. Meister Eckhart (1260)
The very discovery of these hidden things is in itself a purifying experience! The soul needs to discover what is inside. The self nature needs to see what it really is, and what it is like -- right to the very bottom. Jeanne Guyon (1647)
There is nothing worse
than thinking you are well enough.
More than anything, self-complacency
blocks the workmanship.
Put your vileness up to a mirror and weep.
Get that self-satisfaction flowing out of you!
Jalal Al Din Rumi (1207)
The beast you ride is your various appetites,
change your wantings. When you prune
weak branches, the remaining fruit
get tastier. Lust can be redirected,
so that even when it takes you backward,
it goes toward shelter.
A strong intention can make 'two oceans wide'
be the size of a blanket, or "seven hundred years"
the time it takes to walk to someone you love.
Jalal Al Din Rumi (1207)
An empty mirror and your worst destructive habits,
when they are held up to each other,
that's when the real making begins.
That's what art and crafting are.
A tailor needs a torn garment to practice his expertise.
The trunks of trees must be cut and cut again
so they can be used for fine carpentry.
Jalal Al Din Rumi (1207)
When someone whose mind is but partially developed sees something clothed in some semblance of beauty, he believes that this thing is beautiful in its own nature . . . but someone who has purified the eyes of his soul and is trained to see beautiful things . . . makes use of the visible as a springboard to rise to the contemplation of the spiritual. Gregory Of Nissa (395 B.C.E.)
That nature alone is good that refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself. Zoroastrian Prayer (1600)
The Almighty created the angels and conferred reason upon them, and He created the beasts and conferred passion upon them, and He created man and conferred reason and passion both upon him. He whose reason prevails over his passion is higher than the angels, and he whose passion prevails over his reason is lower than the beasts. Muhammed (570)
It is not 'man' in the abstract who recognizes anything. It is always a certain principle, having become active in him, that recognizes its own counterpart in external nature, when it comes in contact with it. Only he in whom is light can see the light; only the element of love can feel love; only the divinity in man can know God in and through man. Jacob Boehme (1575)
There are plenty to follow our Lord half-way, but not the other half. They will give up possessions, friends and honors, but it touches them to closely to disown themselves. Meister Eckhart (1260)
Nature suffers nothing to remain in her kingdoms which cannot help itself. The genesis and maturation of a planet, its poise and orbit, the bended tree recovering itself from the strong wind, the vital resources of every animal and vegetable, are demonstrations of the self-sufficing, and therefore self-relying soul. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803)
It is very rare to find ground which produces nothing. -- If it is not covered with flowers, fruit trees, and grains, it produces briars and pines. -- It is the same with man; if he is not virtuous, he becomes vicious. Jean De La Bruy're (1645)
Self-government is indeed, the noblest rule on earth; the object of a loftier ambition than the possession of crowns or sceptres. The truest conquest is where the soul is bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. The monarch of his own mind is the only real potentate. Edward Caird (1835)
The waters know their own, and draw
The brook that springs in yonder heights;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delights.
The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave comes to the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.
John Burroughs (1837)
The aim of education should be to convert the mind into a living fountain, and not a reservoir. That which is filled by merely pumping in, will be emptied by pumping out. John M. Mason (1770)
I imagined that unity of being could be reached within the customary state of consciousness. I believed, in other words, that a radical change of being could take place as one was, merely through some adjustments. This is probably what most of us think, for we do not realize that in order to change anything in ourselves everything else must change, lest by trying to change one thing we create wrong results in other directions. Change of being is not a patchwork process. All sorts of minor modifications are no doubt possible in people without necessarily harmful results. Dr. Maurice Nicoll (1884)
The effect of this scheme is to make the world a complex system of degrees of reality, within which every single thing is from one point of view, real and existent, and from another, unreal and non-existent. . . The lower existence is unreal in comparison with the higher right through the universe. . . Unless the whole of things is a disconnected mass of particulars and therefore not a universe at all, it is impossible to think of every single thing as on the same plane of reality. . . . We secure the relative reality of every single fact and at the same time the absolute reality of the universe is a rational system when we hold the manifold appearances of the world to belong to successive orders of reality.' Joannes Scotus Erigena (1265)
If you understand, you can make use of it on the road, like a dragon reaching the water, like a tiger in the mountains. If you don't understand, then the worldly truth will prevail, and you will be like a ram caught in a fence, like a fool watching over a stump waiting for a rabbit. Yuan-Wu (1063)
Those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep. Brother Lawrence (1611)
He knows that intelligent contact with cosmic conscious minds assists self conscious individuals in the ascent to the higher plane. He therefore hopes, by bringing about, or at least facilitating this contact, to aid men and women in making the almost infinitely important step in question. Richard Maurice Bucke (1837)
In society as it is now constituted, all the established rules have so many mechanical duties, while real duty consists in obeying the laws of our own being. Victor Cherbuliez (1829)
A thinker erects an immense building, a system, a system which embraces the whole of existence and world-history etc. -- and if we contemplate his personal life, we discover to our astonishment this terrible and ludicrous fact, that he himself personally does not live in this immense high-vaulted palace, but in a barn alongside of it, or in a dog kennel, or at the most in the porter's lodge. If one were to take the liberty of calling his attention to this by a single word, he would be offended. For he has no fear of being under a delusion, if only he can get the system completed . . . . . by means of the delusion. Soren Kierkegaard (1813)
For pride, which is the inordinate attribution of goods and values and glories to one's own contingent self, cannot exist where there is no contingent self to which anything can be attributed. Thomas Merton (1915)
"For a humble man is not afraid of failure. In fact he is not afraid of anything, even of himself, since perfect humility implies perfect confidence in the power of God, before Whom no other power has any meaning and for Whom there is no such thing as an obstacle. "- Thomas Merton
"[God to Catherine of Siena:] "Do you know, daughter, who you are and who I am? If you know these two things you will have beatitude within your grasp. You are she who is not, and I AM HE WHO IS." "- Raymond Of Capua
"Above all, avoid falsehood, every kind of falsehood, especially falseness to yourself. Watch over your own deceitfulness and look into it every hour, every minute. "- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
"Man is a mystery: if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time. I occupy myself with this mystery, because I want to be a man. "- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
"Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. "- American Indian
""Is there anything that I can do to make myself enlightened?" "As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning." "Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?" "To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise." "- Anthony De Mello
"If you persist in trying to attain what is never attained (It is Tao's Gift!), If you persist in making effort to obtain what effort cannot get, If you persist in reasoning about what cannot be understood, You will be destroyed by the very thing you seek. To know when to stop, To know when you can get no further by your own action, This is the right beginning! "- Lao Tse
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