1) “You don’t need a reason to be happy. If you do that reason can be taken away.”
2) “‘What do I do then, now? Where do I go from here?’ Dan asked Socrates.
‘Who cares?’ He yelled gleefully. ‘A fool is ‘happy’ when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason. That’s what makes happiness the ultimate discipline—above all else I have taught you.’”
3) “Reality never matched their dreams; happiness was just around the corner — a corner they never turned. And the source of it all was the human mind.”
4) “There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, just be happy. You are already free!”
5) “Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness.”
6) “And so I awoke to reality, free of any meaning or any search. What could there possibly be to search for? All of Socrate’s words had come alive with my death. This was the paradox of it all, the humor of it all, and the great change. All searches, all achievements, all goals, were equally enjoyable, and equally unnecessary.”
7) “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
8) “Act happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love, and do what you will.”
“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”
Have you ever been so confident in something & then ended up wrong?
I’ve tried to put together a small table without following the directions & after failing I finally decided to use the directions.
An ignorant confidence does that to us all. Blind faith is easy.
Over the years I have learned that I know nothing for sure. I am confident in that and so I can live confidently, forever learning. Confident in trying something so many times, and failing, until I can do it with complete confidence.
Confidence is a great trait to have in all aspects of life, but HOW you gain that confidence is more important than “confidence” itself.
In a world that praises fake confidence & bravado, why and how can you use doubt to breed REAL confidence?
“The dumbest people I know are those who know it all.”
Remain humble —You stop learning when you are confident in “knowing it all:”
“Men cease to think when they think they know it all.”
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
Doubt can help you improve.
It’s a sign that there is something to learn, always.
Instead of having blind confidence in whatever it is you’re doing, question it & LEARN.
Do you follow directions when building things like tables for the first time?
I do now. Doubt guides me to follow the directions because I doubt I can build a table without directions if I’ve never done it before.
So why can’t we apply this idea to other aspects of life?
We can question things & look for answers until we learn what we need to to succeed & grow in that area.
And no matter what there’s always more to learn!
Doubt allows you to think critically and opens your mind.
“If someone can prove me wrong and show me my mistake in any thought or action, I shall gladly change. I seek the truth, which never harmed anyone: the harm is to persist in one’s own self-deception and ignorance.”
Having doubt will prepare you for anything you anticipate. Soldiers train every day to stay ready for battle, because if they had 100% confidence without training, they would fail. Doubt is a guide for them, as it is with all people.
“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”
People who doubt are preparing themselves for the future, which is today. (Yesterday the future was today…)
“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”
Some people don’t want to be wrong in the fear of looking stupid. That is stupidity in itself.
“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
“The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it.”
Ignorance is NOT bliss.
Doubt is a good thing.
It will lead you to a REAL, humble confidence.
Doubt will keep you learning and growing throughout all of your days.
“Uncertainty also relieves us of our judgment of ourselves. Then we don’t know if we’re lovable or not; we don’t know how attractive we are; we don’t know how successful we could potentially become. The only way to achieve these things is to remain uncertain of them and be open to finding them out through experience. Uncertainty is the root of all progress and all growth. As the old adage goes, the man who believes he knows everything learns nothing. We cannot learn anything without first not knowing something.”
“Always be suspicious of those who pretend to know it all, claim their way is the best way and are willing to force their way on the rest of us.”
“The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”
I can agree with Socrates in saying that I also know nothing.
You don’t need to fight doubt. It’s there for a reason.
Allow doubt to prepare you and guide you to real confidence.
I was in my senior year of high school when I was asked for the millionth time by another “adult:” “What are you going to major in?”
I had no idea. Later that evening I was talking to my dad & I asked him what he thought I should major in. I’m sure he gave me some ideas but what I vividly remember from that conversation is him telling me that it’s also okay if I don’t know right now.
“It’s okay to not know.”
That answer seemed somewhat surprising after numerous teachers & “adults” spoke of how important it was to know what you were going to major in.
This advice gave me a huge sense of relief and I still use it today in a number of situations.
I went into college with no major, undeclared, for my first 2 years, then I actually had to decide.
I chose based off of what my interests were, not off of what would make me the most money, and I am happy with my choices. I have a degree in Sport Management, a minor in Business, and a Masters of Education degree.
I wasn’t worried about the future when I entered college undeclared.
My focus was on the day at hand. My focus was to live life to the fullest while completing everything needed to graduate.
I knew that it was okay to not try to know exactly how my future would pan out, but to trust it would turn out well, and I took actions based on that faith, like this quote from Alan Watts:
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”
But it can be easy to get caught up in worrying about the countless tasks you need to complete. I do that sometimes, but when I know I’m worrying I remind myself to focus on what I can do to return to peace of mind.
Worry can be a motivator to get things done, but it can be a cage as well. Uncertainty lives with all of us, every single day. It’s always there, like gravity. How will you deal with it?
“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably live with.”
So it’s completely okay to not know.
“The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”
But what happens when you really want to know?
You want to know the answer.
You want to know what to do.
You want to know what will happen.
You want certainty in uncertain things and there are ways to create some certainty during uncertain times.
There are ways to create some certainty during uncertain times.
—One way is to dwell in the idea that life is working out in everyone’s best interest, even during down times. And if you’re constantly hating your job then that could be life telling you to quit & find work that you enjoy.
—The second way is to focus on making progress.
If you really want to “grab life by the horns” and take control of your life, progress is key. You might feel stuck at a job you hate or lost in what you think you should do.
How can you make progress?
—Begin by asking yourself “what does my ideal life look like?”
Think about ideals in a variety of aspects in your life: Financial, relationships, career, hobbies, environment, etc.
This is the time to let go of any limiting beliefs you have and raise your standards.
Even if you don’t believe you can have your ideal life just pretend for a moment and think about what it would look like.
—Know your “why.”
Why do you want your ideal life? Think about all your reasons. It could be for your happiness, to provide for your family, to start a charity, to buy a new car, etc.
Begin taking action toward your ideal life. Your reasons for making it happen will grow stronger from here.
Uncertainty surrounds us every day.
How will you make the most of it?
“The root of suffering is resisting the certainty that no matter what the circumstances, uncertainty is all we truly have.”
“We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and there is no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified — how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don’t know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know.”
“There are many things of which we are completely unaware—in fact, there are things of which we are so unaware, we don’t even know we are unaware of them.”
“Suspecting and knowing are not the same.”
“People don’t know that they don’t know. Remember that before you hold it against them.”
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”
“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
“Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.”
Richard Buckminster Fuller
“Beyond all sciences, philosophies, theologies, and histories, a child’s relentless inquiry is truly all it takes to remind us that we don’t know as much as we think we know.”
“Memento Mori” means to keep in mind that you will die.
2,000 years ago it was popular for Roman generals to keep this idea in mind.
As generals paraded around their cities in horse led chariots after victorious battles, they kept aides behind them to whisper into their ears, “Memento Mori.”
Generals knew the fleetingness of life and wanted to keep the reminder close by so that their egos didn’t get the best of them. It’s easy for our ego to inflate and make us believe we are bigger than death, especially after achieving success. So it is a humble reminder to remember your death. To remember that you, and everyone around you, is going to die.
Many artists, philosophers, and rulers have used “Memento Mori” to inspire them.
Instead of letting the idea of death scare them, as many do, they used it to create urgency and a deeper perspective, seeing life as a gift and not as suffering.
You’ve probably heard of people who have experienced a near death experience and came out of it with a new inspiration for living fully. You don’t need a near death experience to change your life. “Memento Mori” can be your inspiration and guide to living a full life.
Here are some famous names of the past who were inspired by the reminder of death, Memento Mori:
“Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.”
“Every third thought shall be my grave.”
“Philosophy is “about nothing else but dying and being dead.”
“To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”
Michel de Montaigne
“People who are excited by posthumous fame forget that the people who remember them will soon die too. And those after them in turn. Until their memory, passes from one to another like a candle flame, gutters and goes out.”
“So this is how a thoughtful person should await death: not with indifference, not with impatience, not with disdain, but simply viewing it as one of the things that happens to us. Now you anticipate the child’s emergence from its mother’s womb; that’s how you should await the hour when your soul will emerge from its compartment.”
“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?”
The reminder of death still inspires many modern day entrepreneurs, artists, and others:
“There’s something coming for all of us. It’s called death. Rather than fearing it, it can become one of our greatest counselors. So, if this was the last week of your life, what would you cherish most? How would you live? How would you love? What truth would you tell today?”
“It’s easy to lose track of that mortality, to forget time, to think that you’re going to live forever. The idea that you’re gonna die and that life is short is only depressing if you’re thinking about it wrong. If you’re thinking about it right it should give you a sense of priority. It should even give you a sense of meaning; it should let you know what’s important, what you’re trying to do while you’re here on this planet.”
“The reason I believe in it(death as motivation) is because it’s ultimately practical. It’s the guiding light and the fire and ambition that drives me toward legacy and living my best life.”
Will you look death in the face?
Are you ready to let death inspire you?
Do it and see how your life changes for the better…
“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.
Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives
Book Written By Dan Millman
Click on Dan’s name above to go to his website & learn more about him. (Also can scroll down to go straight to the 5 life-changing takeaways if you’d like).
Growing wise through personal and spiritual experiences, this story follows a World Champion Gymnast, Dan, who seemed to “have it all” in the eyes of society. Even though he had everything he desired in the physical realm, he was still not happy.
I think many people can relate to this^. We get what we think we want and then find out that it doesn’t bring lasting fulfillment. We hear about rich & famous people committing suicide, although many people often desire that famous/rich life. Dan is still alive & well today, but he went through many struggles to be able to live life beyond his ego.
“I feel good, sometimes I don’t, ay,” said Drake in his popular song “God’s Plan.”
Everyone feels bad at times, no matter how much ‘success’ they have in this world. And it’s okay to feel bad, even though the media only portrays happy people having a good time. Remember that what you see on tv usually isn’t an accurate example of real life. You can check out an article I wrote on accepting our feelings by Clicking Here.
Anyway, one night, while Dan was still in college, he went to a gas station after waking up in the middle of the night. He met a unique old man who he named Socrates later on. (“Socrates” never told Dan his real name).
Socrates became Dan’s guru/mentor/teacher. Helping to enlighten Dan, Socrates teaches him many things throughout the book that ultimately opens Dan’s mind and allows him to awaken; to be happy now without a reason. Like many people in the World today, Dan was living through his ego before he met Socrates. He pursued worldly pleasures & accomplishments only to find out that those “fulfilling” moments don’t last. Led by his teacher, Socrates, Dan is able to experience life beyond his ego, and live in peace.
The “living in peace” phrase just created another thought through me; we always say Rest in Peace when someone dies, but why don’t we ever say Live in Peace when we are living??
Way of the Peaceful Warrior was one of the first books that had a big impact on my life. I read it for the first time when I was around the age of 19, and have continued to read it again & again.
After I finished reading this book for the first time it immediately became my favorite book, and remains my favorite to this day. It opened up my mind to new ideas & a different way of viewing & living life. Way of the Peaceful Warrior has helped me live joyfully in the present moment, to be happy now without reason, to focus on things that really matter, to take action instead of dwelling in thought, to live non-judgmentally, & to live life in love.
I do not always remain in this state of bliss, but when I accept my feelings & situations as they are, this brings me peace. I shared this earlier, but click here if you’d like to read an article on this.
The author, Dan Millan, said he wrote this book “to inspire, uplift, and to remind readers of life’s bigger picture & higher promise.” This book definitely inspired me & gave me more insight into the bigger picture of life.
“Be happy now, without reason, or you’ll never be happy.”
~I truly believe that this book should be read throughout schools all around the world. The ideas & ways of thinking this book explains could benefit the education system & our future tremendously~
In this post I will summarize some of the main points of the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. I will discuss how I have been using what I’ve learned from this book, will provide you with many of my favorite quotes from the book that relate to each takeaway & I’ve added some thought provoking quotes from the book at the end. Thank you for reading & Enjoy!
**I also want to encourage you to not just read this, but to put these ideas into practice. Ask yourself, “How can I apply this to my life?” These life-changing ideas need to be more than just read. Be patient when practicing these, & continue to remind yourself of these ideas throughout your days for them to become second nature.**
1) BE HAPPY NOW, WITHOUT REASON.
- Millman’s words helped me see that happiness lies in the journey, not in the destination. Many people are working at jobs only to make money for retirement. Retirement does not equal happiness. I have used this knowledge to do more of what I love & to practice being fully present in each moment. I am able to enjoy the ‘little things’ in life, such as a cup of coffee, a book, playing basketball, teaching, hanging out with family/friends, and the list goes on.
Why waste half your life doing things you don’t enjoy doing if you have an opportunity to do something you enjoy?
Happiness happens now, in this present moment. The future never really comes, the future only happens as another present moment.
Here are great quotes from the book that can open your eyes to being happy now, without reason:
* “‘What do I do then, now? Where do I go from here?’ Dan asked Socrates.
‘Who cares?’ He yelled gleefully. ‘A fool is ‘happy’ when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason. That’s what makes happiness the ultimate discipline—above all else I have taught you.’”
“Reality never matched their dreams; happiness was just around the corner — a corner they never turned. And the source of it all was the human mind.”
“There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, just be happy. You are already free!”
“Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness.”
“You Don’t need a reason to be happy. If you do that reason can be taken away.”
“And so I awoke to reality, free of any meaning or any search. What could there possibly be to search for? All of Socrate’s words had come alive with my death. This was the paradox of it all, the humor of it all, and the great change. All searches, all achievements, all goals, were equally enjoyable, and equally unnecessary.”
“Act happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love, and do what you will.”
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
2) You are much more than what you think
Live in the Present.
- Our thoughts limit our experience. When you can let go of your thoughts, you can be fully alive in the present moment. The answers you seek lie beyond thought.
“My name doesn’t matter; neither does yours. What is important is what lies beyond names and beyond questions.”
“The birth of the mind is the death of the senses”
^^ I’ve been realizing this more & more lately that we are most alive when we are not dwelling in thoughts. We can take time to have rational thoughts, but take some time to meditate in nothingness. Let go of your thoughts by focusing on your external environment. Tap into your senses. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Feel? Try to do this for at least a few minutes.
When you are only in your mind, thinking, you are never fully in the present moment. Practice focusing your attention to things outside of you.
* “Satori is the warrior’s state of being; it occurs at the moment when the mind is free of thought, pure awareness; the body is active, sensitive, relaxed; and the emotions are open and free.”
“Remember, every-moment satori.”
“The warrior is Here, Now.”
“You have to ‘lose your mind’ before you can come to your senses.”
“Stay in the present. You can do nothing to change the past, and the future will never come exactly as you plan or hope for. The warrior is here, now. Your sorrow, your fear & anger, regret & guilt, your envy and plans and cravings live only in the past, or in the future.”
“Your business is not to ‘get somewhere’ — it is to be here.
“You have been immortal since before you were born and will be long after the body dissolves. The body is Consciousness; never born; never dies; only changes. The mind — your ego, personal beliefs, history, and identity — is all that ends at death.”
^^This quote reminds me of the philosophy stoicism. I wrote a post about it that you can check out by Clicking Here.
3) Life is much more than what you can think.
- This book helped me view the external environment without judging it. Instead of looking outside & thinking “Ooo I love or hate this weather. There is a bird & a tree, and wow that car is going really fast,” I practice just looking outside & dwelling on what is, letting thoughts come & then go like passing clouds. I practice not judging things around me, seeing them just as they are, with no thinking needed. I am not like this all the time, but it is good to practice this technique!
“You now see everything through a veil of associations about things, projected over a direct, simple awareness. You’ve ‘seen it all before’; it’s like watching a movie for the twentieth time. You see only memories of things, so you become bored. Boredom, you see, is fundamental non-awareness of life; boredom is awareness, trapped in the mind. You’ll have to lose your mind before you can come to your senses.”
“You’ve become bored to things because they exist only as names to you. The dry concepts of mind obscure your direct perception.”
“Like most people, you’ve been taught to gather information from outside yourself; from books, magazines, experts. Like this car, you open up and let the facts pour in. Sometimes the information is premium and sometimes it’s low octane. You buy your knowledge at the current market rates, much like you buy gasoline. Like this gas tank, you are overflowing with preconceptions; full of useless knowledge. You hold many facts and opinions, yet know little of yourself. Before you can learn, you’ll have to first empty your tank.”
4) Actions are more important than thoughts.
“Your thoughts are like wild monkeys stung by a scorpion.”
Don’t believe everything you think; I have heard this phrase many times & it relates to this idea.
We can’t always control what we think, but we do have control of our actions.
Yes, try to think positive & focus on the best, but don’t try to force thoughts away. Embrace them; let it come & then let them go like clouds passing by.
“You don’t need to control emotion,” Socrates said. “Emotions are natural, like passing weather. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes sorrow or anger. Emotions are not the problem. The key is to transform the energy of emotion into constructive action.”
“Old urges continue to arise, but urges do not matter; only actions do. A warrior is as a warrior does.”
“. . Action always happens in the present, because it is an expression of the body, which can only exist in the here and now. But the mind is like a phantom that lives only in the past or future. It’s only power over you is to draw your attention out of the present.”
Paying attention is also an action, and one of the most important actions:
“A Zen student asked his roshi the most important element of Zen. The roshi replied, ‘Attention.’
‘Yes, thank you,’ the student replied. ‘But can you tell me the second most important element?’ And the roshi replied, ‘Attention.’”
Practice paying attention.
“Ultimately you will learn to meditate your every action.”
“Use whatever knowledge you have but see its limitations. Knowledge alone does not suffice; it has no heart. No amount of knowledge will nourish or sustain your spirit; it can never bring you ultimate happiness or peace. Life requires more than knowledge; it requires intense feeling and constant energy. Life demands right action if knowledge is to come alive.”
“Full attention to every moment is my desire and my pleasure. Attention costs no money; your only investment is training.”
5) On Life & Death.
* “Experts devote their life to training. Masters devote their training to life.”
“I’ve tried to show you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is the warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.”
* “Everyone tells you what’s good for you. they don’t want you to find your own answers. they want you to believe theirs.”
* “‘Why worry? Better to live until you die. I am a warrior; my way is action,’ Socrates said. ‘I am a teacher, I teach by example. Someday you too may teach others as I have shown you—then you’ll understand that words are not enough; you too must teach by example, and only what you’ve realized through your own experience.’”
“The World out there, is a school, Dan. Life is the only real teacher. It offers many experiences, and if experience alone brought wisdom and fulfillment, then elderly people would all be happy, enlightened masters…
..But the lessons of experience are hidden. I can help you learn from experience to see the world clearly, and clarity is something you desperately need right now. Your intuition knows this is true, but your mind rebels; you’ve experienced much, but you’ve learned little.”
“Think of death as a transformation — a bit more radical than puberty, but nothing to get particularly upset about.”
“Death is not sad; the sad thing is that most people don’t really live at all.”
“Where are you? Here. What time is it? Now. What are you? This moment.”
“You fear death and crave survival. You want Forever, you desire Eternity. In your deluded belief that you are this ‘mind’ or ‘spirit’ or ‘soul,’ you find the escape clause in your contract with mortality.”
“Wake up! If you knew for certain that you had a terminal illness – if you had precious little time left to make use of your life and consider who you are, you’d not waste time on self-indulgence or fear, lethargy or ambition. You do have a terminal illness – it is death. Be happy now, without reason – or you never will be at all.”
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed these book notes as much as I enjoyed the book. I think many people can relate to this incredible story.
Let us be happy now, without reason, and we will live our best life.
You can purchase The Way of the Peaceful Warrior book from Amazon by clicking here if you’d like.
More thought provoking quotes from the book:
* “So I’m a fool, huh?” Says Millman. Socrates responds with, “We’re all fools together. It’s just that a few people know it; others don’t.”
“Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change, free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is a law, and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”
“Enlightenment is not an attainment, it is a realization. And when you wake up, everything changes and nothing changes.”
“How do you know you haven’t been asleep your whole life? How do you know you’re not asleep right now?”
“Understanding is the one-dimensional comprehension of the intellect. It leads to knowledge. Realization is three-dimensional — a simultaneous comprehension of head, heart, and instinct. It comes only from direct experience.”
“Focus all your energy not on struggling with the old, but on building the new.”
“Embody what you teach, and teach only what you have embodied.”
“Stress happens when the mind resists what is.”
“There are no ordinary moments!”
*Story about a younger traveler, Milarepa who has been seeking enlightenment everywhere. He eventually sees an old man carrying a heavy sack down a mountain & thinks the man knows the answer to his question…
Milarepa says, “‘Old man, please tell me what you know. What is enlightenment?’ The old man smiled at him for a moment, and swung the heavy burden off his shoulders, and stood straight.
‘Yes, I see!’ Cried Milarepa. ‘My everlasting gratitude. But please, one question more. What is after enlightenment?’
Smiling again, the old man picked up the sack once again, slung it over his shoulders, steadied his burden, and continued on his way.”
I had to read this story^ a few times before I understood it. I hope you can see it.
“Life is not suffering; it’s just that you will suffer it, rather than enjoy it, until you let go of your mind’s attachments and just go for the ride freely, no matter what happens.”
“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever.”
“Reading the future is based on a realistic perception of the present. Don’t be concerned about seeing the future until you can clearly see the present.”
“Meditating an action is different from doing it. To do, there must be a doer, a self-conscious someone performing. But when you meditate an action, you’ve already released all thoughts, even the thought of, ‘I.’ There’s no ‘you’ left to do it. In forgetting yourself, you become what you do, so your action is free, spontaneous, without ambition, inhibition, or fear.’”
“The journey is what brings us happiness not the destination.”
I hope you enjoyed the quotes as well as the summary! Now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice! Start today, ask “How can I apply these ideas to my daily life?” Let these ideas sink in to who you are.
I also recommend reading Dan’s second & third books in the Peaceful Warrior trilogy. (Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior & The Hidden School) which you can purchase from Amazon if you’d like by clicking on their title.
Get the books from a library or buy them; either way it will be worth your while! I read both & thoroughly enjoyed them.
Happy Reading! I wish you well on your journey toward becoming a Peaceful Warrior.