1) “Look into their minds, at what the wise do and what they don’t.”
2) “Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, ‘why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?’ You’ll be embarrassed to answer.”
3) “God sees all our souls freed from their fleshly containers, stripped clean of their bark, cleansed of their grime. If you learn to do the same, you can avoid a great deal of distress.”
4) “You can discard most of the junk that clutters your mind—things that exist only there—and clear out space for yourself: —By comprehending the scale of the world. —By contemplating infinite time. —By thinking of the speed with which things change—each part of everything; the narrow space between our birth and death; the infinite time before; the equally unbounded time that follows.”
5) “Nothing that goes on in anyone else’s mind can harm you. Nor can the shifts and changes in the world around you. —Then where is harm to be found? —In your capacity to see it. Stop doing that and everything will be fine. Let the part of you that makes that judgment keep quiet no matter what the body attaches itself to.”
6) “The world is nothing but change. Our life is only perception.”
7) “Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous. The object of praise remains what it was—no better and no worse.—Is an emerald suddenly flawed if no one admires it???”
8) “Pride is a master of deception: when you think you’re occupied in the weightiest business, thats when he has you in his spell.”
9) “Things are wrapped in such a veil of mystery that many good philosophers have found it impossible to make sense of them. Even the stoics have trouble. Any assessment we make is subject to alteration—just as we are ourselves.”
10) “That nothing belongs to anyone. Children, body, life itself—all of them come from the same source.”
11) “Characteristics of the rational soul: Self-perception, self-examination, and the power to make of itself whatever it wants. —It reaps its own harvest. —It reaches its intended goal, no matter where the limit of its life is set. No matter which task you pick-it has fulfilled its mission, done its work completely. So that it can say, ‘I have what I came for.’—
—It surveys the world and the empty space around it, and the way its put together. It delves into the endlessness of time to extend its grasp and comprehension of the periodic births and rebirths the world goes through. It knows that those who come after us will see nothing different, and those who came before us saw no more than we do.—Affection for its neighbors. Truthfulness. Humility. Not to place anything above itself.”
12) “Give yourself a gift: the present moment.”
13) “If you can cut yourself—your mind—free of what other people do or say, of what you’ve said or done, of the things that you’re afraid will happen, the impositions of the body that contains you and the breath within, so the mind is freed from fate, brought to clarity, and lives life on its own recognizance—doing what’s right, accepting what happens, and speaking the truth—
—If you can cut free of impressions that cling to the mind, free of the future and the past—can make yourself ‘a sphere rejoicing in its perfect stillness’ And concentrate on living what can be lived (The present moment) —-then you can spend the time you have left in tranquility. And in kindness. And at peace with the spirit within you.”
14) “Alexander and Caesar and Pompey. Compared with Diogenes, Heraclitus, Socrates?? The philosophers knew the what, the why, the how. Their minds were their own. —The others?? Nothing but anxiety and enslavement.”
15) “People ask, have you ever seen the gods you worship? How can you be sure they exist? Answers—Just look around….I’ve never seen my soul either, and yet I revere it —I Know they exist because I’ve felt their power over and over.”
16) “So keep this refuge in mind: the back roads of your self. Above all, no strain and no stress. Be straightforward. Look at things like a man, like a human, like a mortal.”
17) “External things are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.”
18) “So too a healthy mind should be prepared for anything. The one that keeps saying ‘Are my children all right?’ Or ‘everyone must approve of me’ is like eyes that can only stand pale colors, or teeth that can handle only mush.”
19) “Wash yourself clean. With simplicity, with humility, with indifference to everything but right and wrong.”
20) “Don’t be disturbed. Un-complicate yourself. Something happens to you. Good. It was meant for you by nature, woven into the pattern from the beginning.”
21) “Pray for others and pray not to feel fear, or desire, or grief… —Isn’t it better to do what’s up to you?? Like a free man! —Start praying like this and you’ll see.
—Not “some way to sleep with her” but a way to stop wanting to.
—Not “some way to get rid of him” but a way to stop trying.
—Not “some way to save my child” but a way to lose your fear.
REDIRECT your prayers like that, and watch what happens.”
22) “I am part of a world controlled by nature. I have a relationship with other, similar parts. And with that in mind I have no right, as a part, to complain about what is assigned me by the whole. Because what benefits the whole can’t harm the parts, and the whole does nothing that doesn’t benefit it.”
23) “And why is it so hard when things go against you? If it’s imposed by nature, accept it gladly and stop fighting it. And if not, work out what your own nature requires, and aim at that, even if it brings you no glory.”
24) “That no one can say truthfully that you are not a straightforward or honest person. That anyone who thinks that believes a falsehood. The responsibility is all yours; no one can stop you from being honest or straightforward. Simply resolve not to go on living if you aren’t. It would be contrary to the logos.”
25) “Four habits of thought to watch for, and erase from your mind when you catch them. Tell yourself:
—This thought is unnecessary.
—This one is destructive to the people around you.
—This wouldn’t be what you really think.
—That the more divine part of you has been beaten and subdued by the degraded mortal part—the body and its stupid self-indulgence.”
26) “Because to be drawn toward what is wrong and self-indulgent, toward anger and fear and pain, is to revolt against nature. And for the mind to complain about anything that happens is to desert its post. It was created to show reverence-respect for the divine—no less than to act justly.”
27) “If this evil is not of my doing, nor the result of it, and the community is not endangered, why should it bother me? Where is the danger for the community?”
28) “As you move forward in the logos, people will stand in your way. They can’t keep you from doing what’s healthy; don’t let them stop you from putting up with them either. Take care on both counts. Not just sound judgments, solid actions—tolerances as well, for those who try to obstruct us or give us trouble in other ways.”
29) “It’s normal to feel stress and pain as a human, as a normal human being. And if it’s normal how can it be bad?”
30) “That it’s about how you choose to see things. That the present is all we have to live in. Or to lose.”
31) “If the problem is you’re not doing something you think you should be doing, why not just do it?”
32) “The mind in itself has no needs, except for those it creates itself. Is undisturbed, except for its own disturbances. Knows no obstructions, except those from within.”
33) “Keep in mind that when the mind detaches itself and realizes its own nature, it no longer has anything to do with ordinary life-the rough & the smooth.”
34) “Stop perceiving the pain you imagine and you’ll remain completely unaffected.”
35) “Comparing a man who people are mocking and a spring of clear water: —”A man standing by a spring of clear, sweet water and cursing it. While the fresh water keeps on bubbling up. He can shovel mud into it, or dung, and the stream will carry it away, wash itself clean, remain unstained. — To have that. NOT A CISTERN BUT A PERPETUAL SPRING. — HOW?? BY WORKING TO WIN YOUR FREEDOM. HOUR BY HOUR. THROUGH PATIENCE, HONESTY, HUMILITY.”
36) “You need to avoid certain things in your train of thought: everything random, everything irrelevant. And certainly everything self-important or malicious. Get used to winnowing your thoughts so you aren’t ashamed of what you’re thinking.”
37) “The first step: Don’t be anxious. Nature controls it all. And before long you’ll be no one, nowhere—like Hadrian, like Augustus.
The second step: Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.”
38) “People try to get away from it all—to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like….By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful-more free of interruptions- than you own soul An instants recollection and there it is: complete tranquility (think of pleasant memories). A quick visit to this mindful place will be enough to ward off all nonsense and send you back ready to fave what awaits you.”
39) “The mind without passions is a fortress. No place is more secure. Once we take refuge there we are safe forever. Not to see this is ignorance. To see it and not seek safety means misery.”
“Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique.”
And yes. They wrote a little different in the 1800’s. Many of these quotes I had to read multiple times to truly comprehend.
“Self-Reliance” is a soul touching essay. I continually felt profound connections as I engulfed myself in this essay.
After being so touched by this work I felt the need to share its most essential messages with you.
A few of the many words I would describe this text are: Insightful. Life-Changing. Thought-Provoking. Soul Touching. Truly. Incredible.
Before diving into all 30 Essential Messages, here is a brief overview of some of the things you will be hearing:
9 Overviewing Ideas
(1)-Seeking & Becoming more of your True Self
“I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you…If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions…”
“Live no longer to the expectation of these deceived and deceiving people with whom we converse.”
(2)-Following paths that brings you joy in life, trusting it & continuing regardless of numerous failures
“…A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls…
…He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not `studying a profession,’ for he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances…”
(3)-Experiencing Genuine Peace, which does not come from anything outside of you, but begins within
“A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it…
…Nothing can bring you peace but yourself…”
(4)-Recognizing the facade of societal ways
“…It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it…”
“…This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars.Their every truth is not quite true…”
(5)-The people in power hate nonconformity & encourage the general population to oppose those people
“For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure.”
“Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
(6)-Understanding the connectedness & importance of everything; that all things are of equal importance
“…Is the acorn better than the oak which is its fulness and completion? Is the parent better than the child into whom he has cast his ripened being?”
(7)-Wherever you go there you are
“The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home still.”
“Henceforward I am the truth’s. Be it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the eternal law…
…if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.– But so you may give these friends pain. Yes, but I cannot sell my liberty and my power, to save their sensibility…”
(9)-Life(Your Ego) is Fleeting
“This one fact the world hates, that the soul becomes; for that for ever degrades the past, turns all riches to poverty, all reputation to a shame, confounds the saint with the rogue, shoves Jesus and Judas equally aside.”
30 Essential Messages
The following 30 messages are all significant but I highlighted the elemental concepts in Blue and Bolded succeeding elements. Each message holds high value but I also ordered them beginning with what I believe to be the most moving.
“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think…
…This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness…
…It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it…
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
“Phocion, Socrates, Anaxagoras, Diogenes, are great men, but they leave no class. He who is really of their class will not be called by their name, but will be his own man, and, in his turn, the founder of a sect.”
“A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it…
…Nothing can bring you peace but yourself….
…Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
“Well, most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion…
…This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars.Their every truth is not quite true…
…Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four; so that every word they say chagrins us, and we know not where to begin to set them right.”
“But do your work, and I shall know you. Do you work, and you shall reinforce yourself. A man must consider what a blindman’s-buff is this game of conformity”
“At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door, and say,–‘Come out unto us.’ But keep thy state; come not into their confusion…
…The power men possess to annoy me, I give them by a weak curiosity. No man can come near me but through my act. What we love that we have, but by desire we bereave ourselves of the love.”
“And truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity, and has ventured to trust himself for a taskmaster. High be his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that he may in good earnest be doctrine, society, law, to himself, that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others!”
“Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say ‘I think,’ ‘I am,’ but quotes some saint or sage…
…He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them.There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less. Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike…
…But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future…
…He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.”
“The soul raised over passion beholds identity and eternal causation, perceives the self-existence of Truth and Right, and calms itself with knowing that all things go well.”
“If we live truly, we shall see truly. It is as easy for the strong man to be strong, as it is for the weak to be weak…
…When we have new perception, we shall gladly disburden the memory of its hoarded treasures as old rubbish…
…When a man lives with God, his voice shall be as sweet as the murmur of the brook and the rustle of the corn.”
“For nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure. And therefore a man must know how to estimate a sour face.”
This youtube talk, titled Don’t Take Life Too Seriously, by Alan Watts reminded me of the quote above.
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day…
…—‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’—Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
“I hope in these days we have heard the last of conformity and consistency…
…That a true man belongs to no other time or place, but is the centre of things. Where he is, there is nature. He measures you, and all men, and all events…
…The man must be so much, that he must make all circumstances indifferent. Every true man is a cause, a country, and an age; requires infinite spaces and numbers and time fully to accomplish his design;–and posterity seem to follow his steps as a train of clients.”
“We pass for what we are. Character teaches above our wills…
…Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment.”
“Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. Act singly, and what you have already done singly will justify you now.”
“Insist on yourself; never imitate…
…Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession…
…That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him…
…No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it…
*Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique.*
The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow…
…Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare…
…Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. There is at this moment for you an utterance brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of the Egyptians, or the pen of Moses, or Dante, but different from all these. Not possibly will the soul all rich, all eloquent, with thousand-cloven tongue, deign to repeat itself; but if you can hear what these patriarchs say, surely you can reply to them in the same pitch of voice; for the ear and the tongue are two organs of one nature. Abide in the simple and noble regions of thy life, obey thy heart, and thou shalt reproduce the Foreworld again.”
“Live no longer to the expectation of these deceived and deceiving people with whom we converse.”
“And so the reliance on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance.
Men have looked away from themselves and at things so long, that they have come to esteem the religious, learned, and civil institutions as guards of property, and they deprecate assaults on these, because they feel them to be assaults on property.
…They measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is…
…But a cultivated man becomes ashamed of his property, out of new respect for his nature Especially he hates what he has, if he see that it is accidental, — came to him by inheritance, or gift, or crime; then he feels that it is not having; it does not belong to him, has no root in him, and merely lies there, because no revolution or no robber takes it away.”
“If our young men miscarry in their first enterprises, they lose all heart. If the young merchant fails, men say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life…
…A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls…
…He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not `studying a profession,’ for he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances…
…Let a Stoic open the resources of man, and tell men they are not leaning willows, but can and must detach themselves; that with the exercise of self-trust, new powers shall appear; that a man is the word made flesh, born to shed healing to the nations, that he should be ashamed of our compassion, and that the moment he acts from himself, tossing the laws, the books, idolatries, and customs out of the window, we pity him no more, but thank and revere him,–and that teacher shall restore the life of man to splendor, and make his name dear to all history.”
“Another sort of false prayers are our regrets. Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. Regret calamities, if you can thereby help the sufferer; if not, attend your own work, and already the evil begins to be repaired. Our sympathy is just as base. We come to them who weep foolishly, and sit down and cry for company, instead of imparting to them truth and health in rough electric shocks, putting them once more in communication with their own reason…
…The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man. For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire. Our love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it. We solicitously and apologetically caress and celebrate him, because he held on his way and scorned our disapprobation. The gods love him because men hated him. “To the persevering mortal,” said Zoroaster, “the blessed Immortals are swift.”
“Henceforward I am the truth’s. Be it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the eternal law. I will have no covenants but proximities. I shall endeavour to nourish my parents, to support my family, to be the chaste husband of one wife,–but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way. I appeal from your customs…
…I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions…
…I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me, and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. I do this not selfishly, but humbly and truly…
…It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men’s, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth. Does this sound harsh to-day? You will soon love what is dictated by your nature as well as mine, and, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.– But so you may give these friends pain. Yes, but I cannot sell my liberty and my power, to save their sensibility…
…Besides, all persons have their moments of reason, when they look out into the region of absolute truth; then will they justify me, and do the same thing.”
“The magnetism which all original action exerts is explained when we inquire the reason of self-trust. Who is the Trustee?
…What is the aboriginal Self on which a universal reliance may be grounded? What is the nature and power of that science-baffling star, without parallax, without calculable elements, which shoots a ray of beauty even into trivial and impure actions, if the least mark of independence appear?
…The inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call Spontaneity or Instinct.We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition, whilst all later teachings are tuitions. In that deep force, the last fact behind which analysis cannot go, all things find their common origin…
…For, the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them, and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life and being also proceed…
…We first share the life by which things exist, and afterwards see them as appearances in nature, and forget that we have shared their cause. Here is the fountain of action and of thought. Here are the lungs of that inspiration which giveth man wisdom, and which cannot be denied without impiety and atheism…
…We lie in the lap of immense intelligence, which makes us receivers of its truth and organs of its activity. When we discern justice, when we discern truth, we do nothing of ourselves, but allow a passage to its beams. If we ask whence this comes, if we seek to pry into the soul that causes, all philosophy is at fault. Its presence or its absence is all we can affirm. Every man discriminates between the voluntary acts of his mind, and his involuntary perceptions, and knows that to his involuntary perceptions a perfect faith is due. He may err in the expression of them, but he knows that these things are so, like day and night, not to be disputed. My wilful actions and acquisitions are but roving;–the idlest reverie, the faintest native emotion, command my curiosity and respect…
…Thoughtless people contradict as readily the statement of perceptions as of opinions, or rather much more readily; for, they do not distinguish between perception and notion…
…They fancy that I choose to see this or that thing. But perception is not whimsical, but fatal. If I see a trait, my children will see it after me, and in course of time, all mankind,–although it may chance that no one has seen it before me. For my perception of it is as much a fact as the sun.”
“But the rage of travelling is a symptom of a deeper unsoundness affecting the whole intellectual action. The intellect is vagabond, and our system of education fosters restlessness. Our minds travel when our bodies are forced to stay at home…
…We imitate; and what is imitation but the travelling of the mind?
Our houses are built with foreign taste; our shelves are garnished with foreign ornaments; our opinions, our tastes, our faculties, lean, and follow the Past and the Distant. The soul created the arts wherever they have flourished…
…It was in his own mind that the artist sought his model. It was an application of his own thought to the thing to be done and the conditions to be observed. And why need we copy the Doric or the Gothic model? Beauty, convenience, grandeur of thought, and quaint expression are as near to us as to any, and if the American artist will study with hope and love the precise thing to be done by him, considering the climate, the soil, the length of the day, the wants of the people, the habit and form of the government, he will create a house in which all these will find themselves fitted, and taste and sentiment will be satisfied also.”
“In manly hours, we feel that duty is our place. The soul is no traveller; the wise man stays at home, and when his necessities, his duties, on any occasion call him from his house, or into foreign lands, he is at home still, and shall make men sensible by the expression of his countenance, that he goes the missionary of wisdom and virtue, and visits cities and men like a sovereign, and not like an interloper or a valet.”
(Although I still love traveling, I think there’s wisdom in this quote below & reminds me of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Wherever You Go, There You Are)
“Travelling is a fool’s paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.”
“The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure, that it is profane to seek to interpose helps. It must be that when God speaketh he should communicate, not one thing, but all things; should fill the world with his voice; should scatter forth light, nature, time, souls, from the centre of the present thought; and new date and new create the whole…
…Whenever a mind is simple, and receives a divine wisdom, old things pass away,—means, teachers, texts, temples fall; it lives now, and absorbs past and future into the present hour. All things are made sacred by relation to it,–one as much as another…
…All things are dissolved to their centre by their cause, and, in the universal miracle, petty and particular miracles disappear. If, therefore, a man claims to know and speak of God, and carries you backward to the phraseology of some old mouldered nation in another country, in another world, believe him not…
…Is the acorn better than the oak which is its fulness and completion? Is the parent better than the child into whom he has cast his ripened being? Whence, then, this worship of the past? The centuries are conspirators against the sanity and authority of the soul. Time and space are but physiological colors which the eye makes, but the soul is light; where it is, is day; where it was, is night; and history is an impertinence and an injury, if it be any thing more than a cheerful apologue or parable of my being and becoming.”
“In what prayers do men allow themselves! That which they call a holy office is not so much as brave and manly. Prayer looks abroad and asks for some foreign addition to come through some foreign virtue, and loses itself in endless mazes of natural and supernatural, and mediatorial and miraculous…
…Prayer that craves a particular commodity,–any thing less than all good,–is vicious. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg…
…He will then see prayer in all action.The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends. Caratach, in Fletcher’s Bonduca, when admonished to inquire the mind of the god Audate, replies, — “His hidden meaning lies in our endeavours; Our valors are our best gods.”
“The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loathe to disappoint them.”
“As great a stake depends on your private act to-day, as followed their public and renowned steps. When private men shall act with original views, the lustre will be transferred from the actions of kings to those of gentlemen.
“Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of the gulf, in the darting to an aim. This one fact the world hates, that the soul becomes; for that for ever degrades the past, turns all riches to poverty, all reputation to a shame, confounds the saint with the rogue, shoves Jesus and Judas equally aside.”
Here are some considerable(still super incredible) quotes:
“His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance-office increases the number of accidents.”
“Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not. The same particle does not rise from the valley to the ridge. Its unity is only phenomenal. The persons who make up a nation to-day, next year die, and their experience with them.”
“These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.”
“It is only as a man puts off all foreign support, and stands alone, that I see him to be strong and to prevail. He who knows that power is inborn, that he is weak because he has looked for good out of him and elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought, instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs, works miracles; just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man who stands on his head.”
For more relative quotes, here are some quotes from Thoreau to ponder.