Archive for the ‘ Quotes ’ Category

Know Thyself

Knowing others, one is learned;
Knowing thyself, one is enlightened.
Conquering others requires force;
Conquering oneself requires strength.
Knowing contentment, one is rich;
Having perseverance, one is firm;
Abiding in the center, one endures;
Even in dying, one enjoys eternal life.

-Lao Tzu
(As seen on People for Others)

Frederick Buechner

I happened randomly on this author today through a Jesuit blog. I saw a quote of his on the sidebar and had to investigate. I read through more of his quotes and I quite like them. I love it when someone sees the personal significance behind what we claim to believe, and when someone finds beauty without dismissing the bad things in life.

“Many an atheist is a believer without knowing it just as many a believer is an atheist without knowing it. You can sincerely believe there is no God and live as though there is. You can sincerely believe there is a God and live as though there isn’t.”

and

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

And then, after reading all these quotes, I found one by someone I greatly respect.

Annie Dillard (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek) says: “Frederick Buechner is one of our finest writers.”

Looks like I may have to read some of his books.

Quote

Oh God, I wish from now on
to be the first to become conscious
of all that the world loves, pursues, and suffers;

I want to be the first to seek,
to sympathize, and to suffer;
the first to unfold and sacrifice myself,

to become more widely human
and more nobly of the earth
than any of the world’s servants.

 –Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

Fyodor Dostoevsky 1812-1881

As Rosamonde pointed out, Dostoevsky was born today 197 years ago.  Here are a few quotes in remembrance of him.

 

“The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness.”

“Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others”

“So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and painfully as to find someone to worship”

“Man has such a predilection for systems and abstract deductions that he is ready to distort the truth intentionally, he is ready to deny the evidence of his senses only to justify his logic”

““There are three forces, the only three forces capable of conquering and enslaving forever the conscience of these weak rebels in the interests of their own happiness. They are: the miracle, the mystery and authority.””

Thomas Merton from Raids on the Unspeakable

“And to have the will to be saved, must one limit oneself very carefully to a few select things that are taken seriously? And must everything else be ignored? In other words, to be saved is to exclude from consideration the possibility that one might be damned?

To take that possibility of damnation seriously is, then, to be lost?

But how do anything else? How not to take it seriously?

(Think of the unspeakable triviality of popular religion which consist in not taking the possibility of damnation seriously anymore!

To be saved, is then, to be rescued from all seriousness!

To fall into the ludicrous and satanic flippancy of false piety, kitsch, Saint Suplice!–or the euphoria of busy and optimistic groups!)

So, unless you can falsify and dominate reality with will, you are lost–and if you can impose your own obsession on reality (instead of having reality impose itself as an obsession on you) then are you perhaps doubly lost?

The question of this book, the deeper question, is the very nature of reality itself.

Inexorable consistency. Is reality the same as consistency?

The world of consistency is the world of justice, but justice is not the final word.

There is, above the consistent and the logical word of justice, and inconsistent illogical world where nothing “handing together,” where justice no longer damns each man to his own darkness. This inconsistent world is the realm of mercy.

The world can only be consistent without God.

A god who is fitted into our world scheme in order to make it serious and consistent is not God.

To take him seriously is to submit to obsession, to doubt, to magic, and then to escape these, or try to escape them, by willfulness, by the determination to stake all on an arbitrary selection of “things to be taken seriousely” because they “save,” because they are “his affairs.”
(Note that even atheism takes seriously this god of consistency.)

The Cross is the sign of contradiction–destorying the seriousness of the Law, of the Empire, of the armies, of blood sacrifice, and of obsession.

But the magicians keep turning the Cross to their own purposes. Yes, it is for them too a sign of contradiction: the awful blasphemy of the religious magician who makes the Cross contradict mercy! This of course is the ultimate temptation of Christianity! To say that Christ has locked all the doors, has given one answer, settled everything and departed, leaving all life enclosed in the frightful consistency of a system outside of which there is seriousness and damnation, inside of which there is the intolerable flippancy of the saved–while nowhere is there any place left for the mystery of the freedom of divine mercy which alone is truly serious, and worthy of being taken seriously.”

The Purest Wine

God has given us a dark wine so potent that,
drinking it, we leave the two worlds.

God has put into the form of hashish a power
to deliver the taster from self-consciousness.

God has made sleep so
that it erases every thought.

God made Majnun love Layla so much that
just her dog would cause confusion in him.

There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.

Don’t think all ecstacies
are the same!

Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.

Drink from the presence of saints,
not from those other jars.

Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.

Be a conoisseur,
and taste with caution.

Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,

the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about “what’s needed.”

Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it’s been untied,

and is just ambling about.

-Rumi

Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi

On this day, 802 years ago, one of the greatest poets and mystics to ever live was born.  To celebrate, here are some of his powerful quotes:

“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.”

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

“Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.”

“Something opens our wings. Something makes boredom and hurt disappear. Someone fills the cup in front of us: We taste only sacredness.”

“Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it. Whoever has polished it more sees more – more unseen forms become manifest to him.”

“You are quaffing drink from a hundred fountains: whenever any of these hundred yields less, your pleasure is diminished. But when the sublime fountain gushes from within you, no longer need you steal from the other fountains.”

“Reason is like an officer when the king appears. The officer then loses his power and hides himself. Reason is the shadow cast by God; God is the sun.”

“Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation.”

And a poem:

I’ve said before that every craftsman
searches for what’s not there
to practice his craft.

A builder looks for the rotten hole
where the roof caved in. A water-carrier
picks the empty pot. A carpenter
stops at the house with no door.

Workers rush toward some hint
of emptiness, which they then
start to fill. Their hope, though,
is for emptiness, so don’t think
you must avoid it. It contains
what you need!
Dear soul, if you were not friends
with the vast nothing inside,
why would you always be casting you net
into it, and waiting so patiently?

This invisible ocean has given you such abundance,
but still you call it “death”,
that which provides you sustenance and work.

God has allowed some magical reversal to occur,
so that you see the scorpion pit
as an object of desire,
and all the beautiful expanse around it,
as dangerous and swarming with snakes.

This is how strange your fear of death
and emptiness is, and how perverse
the attachment to what you want.

Now that you’ve heard me
on your misapprehensions, dear friend,
listen to Attar’s story on the same subject.

He strung the pearls of this
about King Mahmud, how among the spoils
of his Indian campaign there was a Hindu boy,
whom he adopted as a son. He educated
and provided royally for the boy
and later made him vice-regent, seated
on a gold throne beside himself.

One day he found the young man weeping..
“Why are you crying? You’re the companion
of an emperor! The entire nation is ranged out
before you like stars that you can command!”

The young man replied, “I am remembering
my mother and father, and how they
scared me as a child with threats of you!
‘Uh-oh, he’s headed for King Mahmud’s court!
Nothing could be more hellish!’ Where are they now
when they should see me sitting here?”

This incident is about your fear of changing.
You are the Hindu boy. Mahmud, which means
Praise to the End, is the spirit’s
poverty or emptiness.

The mother and father are your attachment
to beliefs and blood ties
and desires and comforting habits.
Don’t listen to them!
They seem to protect
but they imprison.

They are your worst enemies.
They make you afraid
of living in emptiness.

Some day you’ll weep tears of delight in that court,
remembering your mistaken parents!

Know that your body nurtures the spirit,
helps it grow, and gives it wrong advise.

The body becomes, eventually, like a vest
of chain mail in peaceful years,
too hot in summer and too cold in winter.

But the body’s desires, in another way, are like
an unpredictable associate, whom you must be
patient with. And that companion is helpful,
because patience expands your capacity
to love and feel peace.
The patience of a rose close to a thorn
keeps it fragrant. It’s patience that gives milk
to the male camel still nursing in its third year,
and patience is what the prophets show to us.

The beauty of careful sewing on a shirt
is the patience it contains.

Friendship and loyalty have patience
as the strength of their connection.

Feeling lonely and ignoble indicates
that you haven’t been patient.

Be with those who mix with God
as honey blends with milk, and say,

“Anything that comes and goes,
rises and sets, is not
what I love.” else you’ll be like a caravan fire left
to flare itself out alone beside the road.