1) Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
2) How do you find the divine power in yourself? The word enthusiasm means ‘filled with a god,’ so what makes you enthusiastic? Follow it. So I have a little word: follow your bliss. The bliss is the message of God to yourself. That’s where your life is.
3) To find your own way is to follow your bliss. This involves analysis, watching yourself and seeing where real deep bliss is — not the quick little excitement, but the real deep, life-filling bliss.
4) I have found that you have only to take that one step toward the gods, and they will then take ten steps toward you. That step, the heroic first step of the journey, is out of, or over the edge of, your boundaries, and it often must be taken before you know that you will be supported.
5) The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. Fear of the unknown is our greatest fear. Many of us would enter a tiger’s lair before we would enter a dark cave. While caution is a useful instinct, we lose many opportunities and much of the adventure of life if we fail to support the curious explorer within us.
6) The world is full of people who have stopped listening to themselves or have listened only to their neighbors to learn what they ought to do, how they ought to behave, and what the values are they should be living for.
7) There are something like 18 billion cells in the brain alone. There are no two brains alike; there are no two hands alike; there are no two human beings alike. You can take your instructions and your guidance from others, but you must find your own path.
8) Breaking out is following your bliss pattern, quitting the old place, starting your hero journey, following your bliss. You throw off yesterday as the snake sheds its skin.
9) Questing is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself. There is nothing you can do that’s more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way you will find, live, become a realization of your own personal myth.
10) You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path…Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential.
11) Following your bliss is not self-indulgent, but vital; your whole physical system knows that this is the way to be alive in this world and the way to give to the world the very best that you have to offer. There IS a track just waiting for each of us and once on it, doors will open that were not open before and would not open for anyone else.
12) What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There’s always the possibility of fiasco. But there’s also the possibility of bliss.
13) If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.
14) The achievement of the hero is one that he is ready for and it’s really a manifestation of his character. It’s amusing the way in which the landscape and conditions of the environment match the readiness of the hero. The adventure that he is ready for is the one that he gets.
15) When you are on the right path, invisible hands will come to your aid.
16) Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.
17) Follow your inner heart and the world moves in and helps.
18) When you go through life…it all seems accidental at the time it is happening. Then when you get on in your 60s or 70s and look back, your life looks like a well-planned novel with a coherent theme…Incidents that seemed accidental, pure chance, turn out to be major elements in the structuring of this novel. Schopenhauer says, ‘Who wrote this novel? You did.’
19) A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder. Fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won.
Alan Watts has had a huge impact in my life and perspective. I hope these quotes bring you the same.
I’ll begin with what I believe to be some of Alan’s best quotes in a “Top 10” Section. You will also find the top 10 quotes throughout the different sections.
The succeeding sections are:
-Meaning of Life/Self-Discovery
-Having Faith/Trusting Life/Letting Go
-Our Limiting Languages
-Living in the present
“Life as it is should be enough of a reason to laugh. It is so absurd, it is so ridiculous. It is so beautiful, it is so wonderful. It is all sorts of things together. It is a great cosmic joke.”
“And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words… As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning.”
“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.”
“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.”
“So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.”
“The only Zen you’ll find on mountain tops is the Zen you bring up there with you.”
“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”
“Faith in life, in other people, and in oneself, is the attitude of allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time.”
“Hospitals should be arranged in such a way as to make being sick an interesting experience. One learns a great deal sometimes from being sick.”
“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”
69 Quotes Below
“I had a discussion with a great master in Japan… and we were talking about the various people who are working to translate the Zen books into English, and he said, ‘That’s a waste of time. If you really understand Zen… you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because… the sound of the rain needs no translation’.”
2) “The only Zen you’ll find on mountain tops is the Zen you bring up there with you.”
3) “The enlightened fool is the one who sees the ego trips of society and can still find joy and laughter in its midst. The fool is often the enlightened one, the one with crazy wisdom, with laughter and jokes as their weapon, they cut through mundane conformity and bring to light the latent child like bliss bubbling just beneath the surface of all seriousness. The fool possesses a wisdom that is out of reach of the conformist. A playful attitude in touch with enormous amounts of creativity.”
4) “Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”
5) “A priest once quoted to me the Roman saying that a religion is dead when the priests laugh at each other across the altar. I always laugh at the altar, be it Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist, because real religion is the transformation of anxiety into laughter.”
6) “Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself.”
7) “Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and the future are abstractions without any concrete reality.”
8) “He who thinks that God is not comprehended, by him God is comprehended; but he who thinks that God is comprehended knows him not. God is unknown to those who know him, and is known to those who do not know him at all.”
9) “Life as it is should be enough of a reason to laugh. It is so absurd, it is so ridiculous. It is so beautiful, it is so wonderful. It is all sorts of things together. It is a great cosmic joke.”
10) “To travel is to be alive, but to get somewhere is to be dead, for as our own proverb says, ‘To travel well is better than to arrive.’”
11) “We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.”
Meaning of Life/Self-Discovery
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
13) “It’s better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”
14) “This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
15) “If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”
16) “And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words… As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning.”
17) “What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.”
18) “There is no formula for generating the authentic warmth of love. It cannot be copied.”
19) “What the devil is the point on surviving, going on living, when it’s a drag? But you see, that’s what people do.”
20) “What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”
Having Faith/Trusting Life/Letting Go
“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.”
22) “And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on.”
23) “But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.”
24) “Life and love generate effort, but effort will not generate them. Faith in life, in other people, and in oneself, is the attitude of allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time.”
25) “…Man’s un-happiness is rooted in the feeling of anxiety which attends his sense of being an isolated individual or ego, separate from ‘life’ or ‘reality’ as a whole. On the other hand, happiness – a sense of harmony, completion, and wholeness – comes with the realization that the feeling of isolation is an illusion.”
26) “You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate ‘you’ to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. The only real ‘you’ is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For ‘you’ is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new.”
27) “In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all.”
28) “If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen.”
29) “If you cannot trust yourself, you cannot even trust your mistrust of yourself – so that without this underlying trust in the whole system of nature you are simply paralyzed.”
30) “When we attempt to exercise power or control over someone else, we cannot avoid giving that person the very same power or control over us.”
Our Limiting Languages
“We realize–often quite suddenly–that our sense of self, which has been formed and constructed out of our ideas, beliefs and images, is not really who we are. It doesn’t define us, it has no center.”
32) “Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything.”
33) “We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.”
34) “The more we try to live in the world of words, the more we feel isolated and alone, the more all the joy and liveliness of things is exchanged for mere certainty and security. On the other hand, the more we are forced to admit that we actually live in the real world, the more we feel ignorant, uncertain, and insecure about everything.”
35) “When a man no longer confuses himself with the definition of himself that others have given him, he is at once universal and unique. He is universal by virtue of the inseparability of his organism from the cosmos. He is unique in that he is just this organism and not any stereotype of role, class, or identity assumed for the convenience of social communication.”
36) “It is hard indeed to notice anything for which the languages available to us have no description.”
37) “The Ego is a social institution with no physical reality. The ego is simply your symbol of yourself. Just as the word ‘water’ is a noise that symbolizes a certain liquid without being it, so too the idea of ego symbolizes the role you play, who you are, but it is not the same as your living organism.”
38) “But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.”
Living in the Present
“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”
40) “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
41) “We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”
42) “Indeed, one of the highest pleasures is to be more or less unconscious of one’s own existence, to be absorbed in interesting sights, sounds, places, and people. Conversely, one of the greatest pains is to be self-conscious, to feel unabsorbed and cut off from the community and the surrounding world.”
43) “Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries on and on, and misses everything. Not hurrying, the purposeless life misses nothing, for it is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world.”
“Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”
45) “How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.”
46) “To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”
47) “So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.”
48) “What we have to discover is that there is no safety, that seeking is painful, and that when we imagine that we have found it, we don’t like it.”
49) “Hospitals should be arranged in such a way as to make being sick an interesting experience. One learns a great deal sometimes from being sick.”
50) “Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.”
51) “We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.”
52) “I laugh when I think how I once sought paradise as a realm outside of the world of birth. It is right in the world of birth and death that the miraculous truth is revealed. But this is not the laughter of someone who suddenly acquires a great fortune; neither is it the laughter of one who has won a victory. It is, rather, the laughter of one who; after having painfully searched for something for a long time, finds it one morning in the pocket of his coat.”
53) “The clash between science and religion has not shown that religion is false and science is true. It has shown that all systems of definition are relative to various purposes, and that none of them actually ‘grasp’ reality.”
54) “In looking out upon the world, we forget that the world is looking at itself.”
55) “It must be obvious… that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.”
56) “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”
57) “Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”
58) “Since everything is but an apparition, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may as well burst out in laughter.”
59) “Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery — the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets — is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.”
60) “The state of ambiguity – that messy, greasy, mixed-up, confused, and awful situation you’re living through right now – is enlightenment itself.”
61) “I find that the sensation of myself as an ego inside a bag of skin is really a hallucination.”
62) “You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.”
“You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.”
64) “Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.”
65) “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” (On the Mind)
66) “Like too much alcohol, self-consciousness makes us see ourselves double, and we make the double image for two selves – mental and material, controlling and controlled, reflective and spontaneous. Thus instead of suffering we suffer about suffering, and suffer about suffering about suffering.”
67) “One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt.”
68) “Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”
69) “So if humor can heal, relax, unite people, undo the ego and entertain all at the same time that sounds enlightening enough for me.”
In A New Earth, author Eckhart Tolle shares his open-minded & progressing ideas to help you achieve the peace of God which surpasses understanding, as Jesus spoke of.
He helps you gain insight into the harming effects the human ego can have when unchecked, which is a core element holding you back from peace.
As you work on decreasing the ego in your life(techniques included in third section), you will grow in conscious awareness, staying present in the moment–alert, listening, less consumed with compulsive thinking, resulting in abundant peace & joy.
One of the main messages from this book is that you are not separate from life. You and life are one, you are whole, together, but our egos thrive on division; division from everything—life, others, and even yourself.
A few other fundamental concepts from the book include:
—Life to the fullest is lived Beyond Words
—The human egos current grip on humanity and what you can do about it
—Techniques & Parables to help you achieve peace
These 3 fundamental ideas and the best quotes each have their own section with the theme of being connected to life flowing through each section.
“The meek are the egoless. They are those who have awakened to their essential true nature as consciousness and recognize that essence in all “others,” all lifeforms. They live in the surrendered state and so feel their oneness with the whole and the Source. They embody the awakened consciousness that is changing all aspects of life on our planet, including nature, because life on earth is inseparable from the human consciousness that perceives and interacts with it. That is the sense in which the meek will inherit the earth.”
I have been and am still working on a longer summary of each section(which I may or may not finish), but here are the shortened versions of each section!
You can be part of the shift toward this new consciousness, this New Earth.
Take your time & enjoy!
—Life to the fullest is lived Beyond Words
We live in a world overrun by words and thinking.
Do you ever reminisce about childhood and wish to feel that joy & aliveness once again?
That joy is found when you don’t have a stream of endless thoughts, when you are in the present moment, acting “in the zone” or “flow” with no thought in mind.
“Some of those people who, through creative action, enrich the lives of many others simply do what they enjoy doing most without wanting to achieve or become anything through that activity.”
“You are present when what you are doing is not primarily a means to an end (money, prestige, winning) but fulfilling in itself, when there is joy and aliveness in what you do.”
Thoughts come in different forms but their main form is through words.
Here are some related insights from Tolle:
“We often believe that words are facts, but in the end, words are just another thing created by humans!”
“When you look at it(anything) or hold it and let it be without imposing a word or mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you.It’s essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you…
…This is what great artists sense and succeed in conveying in their art…
…When you don’t cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life that was lost a long time ago when humanity, instead of using thought, became possessed by thought. A depth returns to your life. Things regain their newness, their freshness.”
“And the greatest miracle is the experiencing of your essential self as prior to any words, thoughts, mental labels, and images.”
On that note—TELEVISION!
“So does TV watching create inner space? Does it cause you to be present? Unfortunately, it does not…
…Your mind is inactive only in the sense that it is not producing thoughts. It is, however, continuously absorbing thoughts and images that come through the TV screen. This induces a trancelike passive state of heightened susceptibility, not unlike hypnosis…
…That is why it lends itself to manipulation of “public opinion,” as politicians and special-interest groups as well as advertisers know and will pay millions of dollars to catch you in that state of receptive unawareness. They want their thoughts to become your thoughts, and usually they succeed…
…Television has this in common with alcohol and certain other drugs. While it provides some relief from your mind, you again pay a high price: loss of consciousness. Like those drugs, it too has a strong addictive quality.”
Another thing your thoughts influence is your idea of who you are.
“Nobody can tell you who you are.”
You will learn more about this idea in the next section on the ego—that a current belief is that you are defined by your accomplishments, relationships, career, race, height, skills, etc, but this is NOT who you are. What you are is much more than these transient identities.
“It’s okay to try and figure out about yourself, but don’t confuse knowing about yourself with knowing yourself…
…The psychoanalysis tells you about yourself, they tell you about how your past has conditioned your behavior and thoughts but it is not you Tolle says. It is content, not essence. Going beyond ego is stepping out of content. Knowing yourself is being yourself, and being yourself is ceasing to identify with content.”
“Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind.”
“You are not the ego, so when you become aware of the ego in you, it does not mean you know who you are – it means you know who you are not. But it is through knowing who you are not that the greatest obstacle to truly knowing yourself is removed.”
“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem.”
Tolle discusses how there are no absolute truths, although people often define themselves and others in an egoic way that they believe is true. It’s not.
“We need to bear in mind here that nothing we say about the nature of the universe should be taken as an absolute truth…
…Neither concepts nor mathematical formulae can explain the infinite. No thought can encapsulate the vastness of the totality. Reality is a unified whole, but thought cuts it up into fragments. This gives rise to fundamental misperceptions, for example, that there are separate things and events, or that this is the cause of that…
…Only the whole is true, but the whole cannot be spoken or thought. Seen from beyond the limitations of thinking and therefore incomprehensible to the human mind, everything is happening now…
…As an illustration of relative and absolute truth, consider the sunrise and sunset. When we say the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, that is true but only relatively. In absolute terms, it is false…
…Only from the limited perspective of an observer on or near the planet’s surface does the sun rise and set. If you were far out in space, you would see that the sun neither rises nor sets, but that it shines continuously. And yet, even after realizing that, we can continue to speak of the sunrise or sunset, still see its beauty paint it, write poems about it, even though we now know that it is a relative rather than an absolute truth…
…So let us continue to speak for a moment of another relative truth: the coming into form of the universe and its return to the formless, which implies the limited perspective of time, and see what relevance this has to your own life…
…The notion of “my own life” is, of course, another limited perspective created by thought, another relative truth. There is ultimately no such thing as “your” life, since you and life are not two, but one.”
I love the above message from Tolle even though it took me multiple times of reading it to get a good understanding of what he meant. To really realize that you are not the ego/labels/etc that you thought you were. That you are not separate from life, you are completely connected.
As you begin to understand that who you thought you were isn’t who you are, you may experience some insecurity and uncertainty.
“There may be a period of insecurity and uncertainty. What should I do? As the ego is no longer running your life, the psychological need for external security, which is illusory anyway, lessens…
…You are able to live with uncertainty, even enjoy it. When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change…
…The Roman philosopher Tacitus rightly observed that ‘the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise…’
…If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity…
…Many years ago, as a result of a strong inner impulse, I walked out of an academic career that the world would have called ‘promising,’ stepping into complete uncertainty; and out of that, after several years, emerged my new incarnation as a spiritual teacher.”
“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment. And what is that? There is a sense of quality in what you do, even the most simple action. Quality implies care and attention, which comes with awareness. Quality requires your Presence.”
You are so much more than how you or anyone else has defined you.
There is beauty beyond words. The joy you once felt as a child you can feel again.
—The human egos current grip on humanity and what you can do about it
“The ego could be defined simply in this way: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment.”
Our egos are sculpted from the day we are born. We are given labels of who we are and people have an idea of how our future will be. These thoughts, which are expectations, have huge impacts on how each human life unfolds. The reinforcements of people telling us who we are become an obsession until we are constantly thinking that “this is who I am,” and defining ourselves with specific words.
These thoughts get reinforced into the child until they are living completely through their ego, labels & judgments of who they think they are, and this grows stronger throughout life when it is unchecked.
“Many people don’t realize until they are on their deathbed and everything external falls away that no thing ever had anything to do with who they are…
…In the proximity of death, the whole concept of ownership stands revealed as ultimately meaningless…
…They also realize that while they were looking throughout their lives for a more complete sense of self, what they were really looking for, their Being, had actually always already been there, but had been largely obscured by their identification with things, which ultimately means identification with their mind…
…‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven.’
Poor in spirit means no inner baggage, no identifications. Not with things, nor with any mental concepts that have a sense of self in them…
…The kingdom of heaven can be the profound joy of Being that is there when you let go of identifications and so become ‘poor in spirit…’
…This is why renouncing all possessions has been an ancient spiritual practice in both East and West. Although this will not automatically free you of the ego…
…The EGO will attempt to ensure its survival by finding something else to identify with, for example, a mental image of yourself as someone who has transcended all interest in material possessions and is therefore superior, is more spiritual than others.”
“Ego is no more than this: identification with form, which primarily means thought forms.”
“The more people identify with their minds, the more they suffer…
…If the sufferer could look at her body without the interfering judgments of her mind or even recognize those judgments for what they are instead of believing in them—or if she could feel her body from within—this would initiate her healing…
…Those who identify with their good looks, strength, or abilities experience suffering when those attributes begin to fade and disappear, as of course they will.”
“‘I’ always leads to suffering sooner or later. To refrain from identifying with the body doesn’t mean that you neglect, despise, or no longer care for it. Enjoy and appreciate its attributes while they last. Right nutrition and exercise too.”
“The ego isn’t wrong; it’s just unconscious.
When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it.
Don’t take the ego too seriously.
When you detect ego behavior in yourself, smile. At times you may even laugh.”
One area the ego can be unconscious and bring suffering upon itself is in relationships.
The ego is constantly on guard, defending itself to maintain the identity it has been giving itself.
Tolle gives these words:
“The ego is always on guard against any kind of perceived diminishment. Automatic ego-repair mechanisms come into effect to restore the mental form of ‘me’….
…When someone blames or criticizes me, that to the ego is a diminishment of self, and it will immediately attempt to repair its diminished sense of self through self-justification, defense, or blaming. Whether the other person is right or wrong is irrelevant to the ego. It is much more interested in self-preservation than in the truth. This is the preservation of the psychological form of ‘me.’ Even such a normal thing as shouting something back when another driver calls you ‘idiot’ is an automatic and unconscious ego-repair mechanism. One of the most common ego-repair mechanisms is anger, which causes a temporary but huge ego inflation. All repair mechanisms make perfect sense to the ego but are actually dysfunctional. Those that are most extreme in their dysfunction are physical violence and self-delusion in the form of grandiose fantasies.”
“In addition, gossiping often carries an element of malicious criticism and judgment of others, and so it also strengthens the ego through the implied but imagined moral superiority that is there whenever you apply a negative judgment to anyone…
…If someone has more, knows more, or can do more than I, the ego feels threatened because the feeling of ‘less’ diminishes its imagined sense of self relative to the other. It may then try to restore itself by somehow diminishing, criticizing, or belittling the value of the other person’s possessions, knowledge, or abilities. Or the ego may shift its strategy, and instead of competing with the other person, it will enhance itself by association with that person, if he or she is important in the eyes of others.”
Tolle says to do nothing when someone criticizes or blames you.
—Check out the parable in section 3 “Is that so?”
“Making yourself right and others wrong is one of the principal egos mind patterns, one of the main forms of unconsciousness.”
“All you need to know and observe in yourself is this: whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that’s the ego in you.”
“The stronger the ego in you, the more likely it is that in your perception other people are the main source of problems in your life. It is also more than likely that you will make life difficult for others. But, of course, you won’t be able to see that. It is always others who seem to be doing it to you…
…The more the sufferer sees himself persecuted, spied on, or threatened by others, the more pronounced becomes his sense of being the center of the universe around whom everything revolves, and the more special and important he feels as the imagined focal point of so many people’s attention. His sense of being a victim, of being wronged by so many people, makes him feel very special. In the story that forms the basis of his delusional system, he often assigns to himself the role of both victim and potential hero who is going to save the world or defeat the forces of evil.”
“Each person is so identified with the thoughts that make up their opinion, that those thoughts harden into mental positions which are invested with a sense of self. In other words: Identity and thought merge. Once this has happened, when I defend my opinions (thoughts), I feel and act as if I were defending my very self. Unconsciously, I feel and act as if I were fighting for survival and so my emotions will reflect this unconscious belief. They become turbulent. I am upset, angry, defensive, or aggressive. I need to win at all costs lest I become annihilated. That’s the illusion. The ego doesn’t know that mind and mental positions have nothing to do with who you are because the ego is the unobserved mind itself.”
“An emotion is the body’s response to a thought…
…Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.”
“In Zen they say: ‘Don’t seek the truth. Just cease to cherish opinions.’ What does that mean? Let go of identification with your mind. Who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself.”
Now that you seen some of the toxicity of the ego it’s time to look at what can happen when you live without ego.
“It comes as no surprise that those people who work without ego are extraordinarily successful at what they do. Anybody who is one with what he or she does is building the new earth.”
“All truly successful action comes out of that field of alert attention, rather than from ego and conditioned, unconscious thinking.”
Living awakened, without ego, includes modalities of acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm, Tolle discusses:
“Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. You need to be vigilant to make sure that one of them operates whenever you are engaged in doing anything at all – from the most simple task to the most complex. If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others.”
“To sum up: Enjoyment of what you are doing, combined with a goal or vision that you work toward, becomes enthusiasm. Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment needs to remain the focal point of your attention; otherwise, you will fall out of alignment with universal purpose…
…Make sure your vision or goal is not an inflated image of yourself and therefore a concealed form of ego, such as wanting to become a movie star, a famous writer, or a wealthy entrepreneur. Also make sure your goal is not focused on having this or that, such as a mansion by the sea, your own company, or ten million dollars in the bank. An enlarged image of yourself or a vision of yourself having this or that are all static goals and therefore don’t empower you…
…Instead, make sure your goals are dynamic, that is to say, point toward an activity that you are engaged in and through which you are connected to other human beings as well as to the whole. Instead of seeing yourself as a famous actor and writer and so on, see yourself inspiring countless people with your work and enriching their lives. Feel how that activity enriches or deepens not only your life but that of countless others. Feel yourself being an opening through which energy flows form the unmanifested Source of all life through you for the benefit of all.”
But the ego is tricky and tries to find other ways to make it focus on itself, such as dwelling in the past or worrying about the future.
“Your personality, which is conditioned by the past, then becomes your prison. Your memories are invested with a sense of self, and your story becomes who you perceive yourself to be. This “little me” is an illusion that obscures your true identity as timeless and formless Presence.”
“Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, who were walking along a country road that had become extremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side…
…The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the lodging temple, Ekido couldn’t restrain himself any longer. ‘Why did you carry that girl across the road?’ he asked. ‘We monks are not supposed to do things like that.’
‘I put the girl down hours ago,’ said Tanzan. ‘Are you still carrying her?’
…Now imagine what life would be like for someone who lived like Ekido all the time, unable or unwilling to let go internally of situations, accumulating more and more “stuff’ inside, and you get a sense of what life is like for the majority of people on our planet. What a heavy burden of past they carry around with them in their minds.”
“When you make the present moment, instead of past and future, the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do – and with it the quality of your life – increases dramatically.”
“Your Being then does not shine through form anymore – or only barely. Through nonresistance to form, that in you which is beyond form emerges as an all-encompassing Presence, a silent power far greater than your short-lived form identity, the person. It is more deeply who you are than anything in the world of form.”
—Techniques & Parables to help you achieve peace
Parable–Not Minding What Happens
“J. Krishnamurti, the great Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher, spoke and traveled almost continuously all over the world for more than fifty years attempting to convey through words which are content – that which is beyond words, beyond content…
…At one of his talks in the later part of his life, he surprised his audience by asking, ‘Do you want to know my secret?’ Everyone became very alert. Many people in the audience had been coming to listen to him for twenty or thirty years and still failed to grasp the essence of his teaching. Finally, after all these years, the master would give them the key to understanding.
‘This is my secret,’ he said. ‘I don’t mind what happens.’
…Does this mean you can no longer take action to bring abut change in your life? On the contrary. when the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.”
How to be at peace now?
“By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else. Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.”
Don’t seek happiness
“If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of wellbeing and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”
How to live a life of abundance in all aspects of life
“Try this for a couple of weeks and see how it changes your reality: Whatever you think people are withholding from you— praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on – give it to them.
You don’t have it? Just act as if you had it, and it will come.
Then, soon after you start giving, you will start receiving. You cannot receive what you don’t give. Outflow determines inflow. Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you already have, but unless you allow it to flow out, you won’t even know that you have it. This includes abundance. The law that outflow determines inflow is expressed by Jesus in this powerful image: “Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.”
How to be enthusiastic
“Enjoyment of what you are doing, combined with a goal or vision that you work toward, becomes enthusiasm. Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment needs to remain the focal point of your attention; otherwise, you will fall out of alignment with universal purpose.”
How to recognize when ego begins acting in your life & what to do
“SEE if you can catch your voice in the head, perhaps in the moment it complains about something, and recognize it for what it is: The voice of the ego, no more than a conditioned mind-pattern, a thought.
…Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it. You are the awareness that is aware of the voice.
In the background, there is awareness. In the foreground, there Is the voice, the thinker.
…In this way you are becoming free of the ego, free of the unobserved mind.
The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern.
Ego implies unawareness.
Awareness and ego cannot coexist.
Every time the ego is recognized, it is weakened.”
Parable on accepting everything without taking any of it personally
IS THAT SO?
“The Zen Master Hakuin lived in a town in Japan. He was held in high regard and many people came to him for spiritual teaching. Then it happened that the teenage daughter of his nextdoor neighbor became pregnant. When being questioned by her angry and scolding parents as to the identity of the father, she finally told them that he was Hakuin, the Zen Master. In great anger the parents rushed over to Hakuin and told him with much shouting and accusing that their daughter had confessed that he was the father. All he replied was, ‘Is that so?’
News of the scandal spread throughout the town and beyond. The Master lost his reputation. This did not trouble him. Nobody came to see him anymore. He remained unmoved. When the child was born, the parents brought the baby to Hakuin. ‘You are the father, so you look after him.’ The Master took loving care of the child. A year later, the mother remorsefully confessed to her parents that the real father of the child was the young man who worked at the butcher shop. In great distress they went to see Hakuin to apologize and ask for forgiveness. ‘We are really sorry. We have come to take the baby back. Our daughter confessed that you are not the father.’ ‘Is that so?’ is all he would may as he handed the baby over to them.
The Master responds to falsehood and truth, bad news and good news, in exactly the same way: ‘Is that so?’ He allows the form of the moment, good or bad, to be as it is and so does not become a participant in human drama. To him there is only this moment, and this moment is as it is.
Events are not personalized. He is nobody’s victim. He is so completely at one with what happens that what happens has no power over him anymore. Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.
The baby is looked after with loving care. Bad turns into good through the power of nonresistance. Always responding to what the present moment requires, he lets go of the baby when it is time to do so.
Imagine briefly how the ego would have reacted during the various stages of the unfolding of these events.”
“Non reaction is not weakness but strength. Another word for nonreactor is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence.”
“In Zen they say: ‘Don’t seek the truth. Just cease to cherish opinions.’ What does that mean? Let go of identification with your mind. Who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself.”
A Parable on Peace: “This too will pass”
According to an ancient Sufi story, there lived a king in some Middle Eastern land who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency. The slightest thing would cause him great upset or provoke an intense reaction, and his happiness would quickly turn into disappointment and despair. A time came when the king finally got tired of himself and of life, and he began to seek a way out. He sent for a wise man who lived in his kingdom and who was reputed to be enlightened. When the wise man came, the king said to him, “I want to be like you. Can you give me something that will bring balance, serenity, and wisdom into my life? I will pay back any price you ask.”
The wise man said, “I may be able to help you. But the price is so great that your entire kingdom would not be sufficient to pay for it. Therefore it will be a gift to you if you honor it.” The king gave his assurances and the wise man left.
A few weeks later, he returned and handed the king an ornate box carved in jade. The king opened the box and found a simple gold ring inside. Some letters were inscribed on the ring. The inscription read. This too will pass. “What is the meaning of this?” asked the king. The wise man said, “Wear this ring always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription. That way you will always be at peace.”
This too will pass. What is it about this simple words that makes them so powerful? Looking at it superficially, it would seem while those words may provide some comfort in a bad situation, they would also diminish the enjoyment of the good things in life.
“Don’t be too happy, because it won’t last.” This seems to be what they are saying when applied in a situation that is perceived as good.
…this story points to the fact of impermanence which, when recognized, leads to non-attachment. Non-resistance are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.
Those words inscribed on the ring are not telling you that you should not enjoy the good in your life, nor are they merely meant to provide some comfort in times of suffering. They have a deeper purpose: to make you aware of the fleetingness of every situation, which is due to the transience of all forms- good or bad. When you become aware of the transience of all forms, your attachment to them lessens, and you dis-identify with them to some extent. Being detached does not mean you cannot enjoy the good that the world has to offer. In fact, you enjoy it more. Once you see the transience of all things and the inevitability of change, you can enjoy the pleasures about the future. When you are detached, you gain a higher vantage point from which to view the events in your life instead of being trapped inside them.
What to do when you’re with people
“When you meet with people, at work or wherever it my be, give them your fullest attention…
…The human Being becomes more important than the things of this world. It does not mean you neglect whatever needs to be done on a practical level. In fact, the doing unfolds no only more easily, but more powerfully when the dimension of Being is acknowledged and so becomes primary.”
How do you measure true success?
“The world will tell you that success is achieving what you set out to do. It will tell you that success is winning, that finding recognition and/or prosperity are essential ingredients in any success. All or some of the above are usually byproducts of success, but they are not success…
…The conventional notion of success is concerned with the outcome of what you do. Some say that success is the result of a combination of hard work and luck, or determination and talent, or being in the right place at the right time. While any of these may be determinants of success, they are not its essence. What the world doesn’t tell you – because it doesn’t know – is that you cannot become successful. You can only be successful…
…Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment. And what is that? There is a sense of quality in what you do, even the most simple action. Quality implies care and attention, which comes with awareness. Quality requires your Presence.”
How to love yourself
“To love is to recognize yourself in another.”
How to feel the peace that surpasses understanding
-Realize what the ego is and how it works.
-Allow forms/labels that you once identified with collapse and that will lead to the ego collapsing since ego is identification with form.
“When there is nothing to identify with anymore, who are you?”
Tolle goes on to say:
“When forms around you die or death approaches, your sense of Beingness, of I Am, is freed from its entanglement with form: Spirit is released from its imprisonment in matter.
You realize your essential identity as formless, as an all-pervasive Presence, of Being prior to all forms, all identifications.
You realize your true identity as consciousness itself, rather than what consciousness had identified with.
That’s the peace of God.
The ultimate truth of who you are is not in I am this or I am that, but I Am.
Circumstances and people then become helpful, cooperative. Coincidences happen.
When you yield internally; if action is possible or necessary, your action will be in alignment with the whole and supported by create intelligence, the unconditioned consciousness which in a state of inner openness you become one with. You rest in God.”
Parable on Entering Zen
Can You Hear The Mountain Stream?
“A Zen Master was walking in silence with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple, a young monk who had not yet found the key to the mystery of Zen, broke the silence by asking the Master, ‘Master, how do I enter Zen?’
He was, of course, inquiring how to enter the state of consciousness which is Zen.
The Master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the Master suddenly spoke. ‘Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?’
The disciple had not been aware of any mountain stream. He had been too busy thinking about the meaning of Zen. Now as he began to listen for the sound, his noisy mind subsided. At first he heard nothing. Then, his thinking gave way to heightened alertness, and suddenly he did hear the hardly perceptible murmur of a small stream in the far distance.
‘Yes, I can hear it now,’ he said.
The master raised his finger and, with a look in his eyes that in some way was both fierce and gentle, said, ‘Enter Zen from there.’
The disciple was stunned. It was his first satori – a flash of enlightenment. He knew what Zen was without knowing what it was that he knew!
They continued on their journey in silence. The disciple was amazed at the aliveness of the world around him. He experienced everything as if for the first time. Gradually, however, he started thinking again. The alert stillness became covered up again by mental noise, and before long he had another question. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I have been thinking. What would you have said if I hadn’t been able to hear the mountain stream?’ The master stopped, looked at him, raised his finger and said, ‘Enter Zen from there.’”
“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem.”
“The sapling doesn’t want anything because it is at one with the totality, and the totality acts through it. ‘Look at the lilies of the field, how they grow’ said Jesus, ‘They toil not, neither do they spin. Yet even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.’ We could say that the totality – Life – wants the sapling to become a tree, but the sapling doesn’t see itself as separate from life and so wants nothing for itself. It is one with what Life wants. That’s why it isn’t worried or stressed. And if it has to die prematurely, it dies with ease. It is as surrendered in death as it is in life. It senses, no matter how obscurely, its rootedness in Being, the formless and eternal one Life…
…Doesn’t the existence of any goal imply that there is a temporary disruption in that harmony with the present moment and perhaps a reestablishment of harmony at a higher or more complex level once the goal has been attained? I imagine that the sapling that pushes its way through the soil can’t be in total harmony with the present moment either because it has a goal: It wants to become a big tree. Maybe once it has reached maturity it will lie in harmony with the present moment.”
“Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance. The fact is: Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”
“Those who do not attempt to appear more than they are but are simply themselves, stand out as remarkable and are the only ones who truly make a difference in this world…
…They are the bringers of the new consciousness. Whatever they do becomes empowered because it is in alignment with the purpose of the whole…
…Their influence, however, goes far beyond what they do, far beyond their function. Their mere presence – simple, natural, unassuming – has a transformational effect on whoever they come into contact with.”
“Many poets and sages throughout the ages have observed that true happiness – I call it the joy of Being – is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things.”
“True happiness is not caused by the thing or event, although this is how it first appears”
“There are two reasons why we don’t see this unity, why we see things as separate. One is perception, which reduces reality to what is accessible to us through the small range of our senses: what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. But when we perceive without interpreting or mental labeling, which means without adding thought to our perceptions, we can actually still sense the deeper connectedness underneath our perception of seemingly separate things.
……The other more serious reason for the illusion of separateness is compulsive thinking. It is when we are trapped in incessant streams of compulsive thinking that the universe really disintegrates for us, and we lose the ability to sense the interconnectedness of all that exists. Thinking cuts reality up into lifeless fragments. Extremely unintelligent and destructive action arises out of such a fragmented view of reality.”
“The notion of ‘my own life’ is, of course, another limited perspective created by thought, another relative truth. There is ultimately no such thing as ‘your’ life, since you and life are not two, but one.”
“The meek are the egoless. They are those who have awakened to their essential true nature as consciousness and recognize that essence in all “others,” all lifeforms. They live in the surrendered state and so feel their oneness with the whole and the Source. They embody the awakened consciousness that is changing all aspects of life on our planet, including nature, because life on earth is inseparable from the human consciousness that perceives and interacts with it. That is the sense in which the meek will inherit the earth…
…A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it!”
“If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”
“The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego. The ego can never be in alignment with the present moment, which is to say, aligned with life, since its very nature compels it to ignore, resist, or devalue the Now. Time is what the ego lives on. The stronger the ego, the more time takes over your life. Almost every thought you think is then concerned with past or future, and you sense of self depends on the past for your identity and on the future for its fulfillment. Fear, anxiety, expectation, regret, guilt, anger are the dysfunctions of the timebound state of consciousness.”
“Not what you do, but how you do what you do determines whether you are fulfilling your destiny. And how you do what you do is determined by your state of consciousness.”
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed the book A New Earth!
You might also like one of my most viewed posts: 5 Life-Changing Takeaways from the Book, “Way Of The Peaceful Warrior”
Share this message and ask how you can be part of the New Earth!
“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.
1) “Pretend that your life was a movie and it started now, what would the hero do? What would the person that you respect do? What would the person that you admire, and inspires you do? Do that. Live your life like you’re the hero in your own movie.”
2) “We define ourselves far too often by our past failures. That’s not you. You are this person right now. You’re the person who has learned from those failures. Build confidence and momentum with each good decision you make from here on out and choose to be inspired.”
3) “If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe.”
4) “Not knowing the truth doesn’t make you ignorant. Not wanting to know the truth is what makes you ignorant.”
5) “It’s very important to help people figure out how to manage life, to help people figure out how to think, help inspire them, help show them what can be gained from setting goals and achieving them and that excellent feeling – and that becomes contagious.”
6) “Treat everyone as if they were you. If we really are one, then I am you and you are me.”
7) “The time you spend hating on someone robs you of your own time. You are literally hating on yourself and you don’t even realize it.”
8) “Haters are all failures. It’s 100% across the board. No one who is truly brilliant at anything is a hater.”
9) “My act is so completely and totally uncensored that the only way I could really pull it off is if I treat the audience like they’re my best friends.”
10) “Your attitude has a giant effect not just on your life, but on other peoples lives around you.”
11) “There’s a direct correlation between positive energy and positive results in the physical form.”
12) “Life is strange. You keep moving and keep moving. Before you know it, you look back and think, ‘What was that?’”
13) “In all my travelings, all my life adventures; I have to say I still don’t know what life is, absolutely no clue, and it is a subject that is constantly on my mind. One thing I do know for a fact is that the nicer we are to our fellow human beings, the nicer the universe is to us.”
14)“There really are no grown-ups, just kids that got old and had kids of their own.”
15) “That’s my only goal. Surround myself with funny people, and make sure everyone has a good time and works hard.”
16) “We got sidetracked and diverted into these boxes, that they call ‘companies’ and ‘corporations.’ And we got stuck in these containers that they call ‘cubicles’ or ‘offices.’ So our time, instead of it being invested in making pottery or fixing cars or doing something where you have a passion or some sort of connection to. Instead of that, you’ve sold your life to sit in a box and work for a machine; an uncaring machine that demands productivity. It doesn’t understand you. It doesn’t want to understand you. No natural behavior. Everyone is wearing clothes they don’t want to wear. Everybody is showing up and doing something they don’t want to do. They have no connection to it. That’s the problem with our society. And then what’s the reward? Go home and get a big TV.”
17) “Get better at whatever you’re doing. So what if you suck at it now. Everybody sucks at everything when they start. But if you love it, and don’t lie to yourself, then get better at it.”
18) “No matter how civilized we are and how much society has curbed violent behavior. Human beings still have the same genes they had 10,000 years ago. Our bodies are designed to have a certain amount of physical stress and violence in them. We’re designed to run from jaguars and fight to defend our territory.”
19) “Here’s the craziest thing about life, this is the thing that nobody really considers; you know as much about what life is all about as anybody who’s ever lived, ever. That’s the craziest thing about us. We’re all just kinda wandering through this going “‘You know what you’re doing?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Oh, I do too. I know what I’m doing.’ ‘Okay. Good, then.’” But really no one has a clue.”
20) “Reality really is a theatre. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s all so nonsensical, ridiculous and chaotic.”
21) “The quicker we all realize that we’ve been taught how to live life by the people that were operating on the momentum of an ignorant past the quicker we can move to a global ethic of community that doesn’t value invented borders or the monopolization of natural resources, but rather the goal of a happier more loving humanity.”
22) “I realized a long time ago that instead of being jealous you can be inspired and appreciative. It carries more energy to you. That can be an awesome and motivating force that can improve your life if you choose to be inspired and not jealous. One has no benefit whatsoever, the other is an incredible resource for creating momentum and improvement.”
23) “The key to happiness doesn’t lay in numbers in a bank account but in the way we make others feel and the way they make us feel.”
24) “Very few people actually look up at night and go wow, that literally is infinite. We are floating in infinity. It is easier to see infinity than it is to see the ground. I have more view of the infinity.”
25) “To really appreciate life you got to know you’re going to die.”
26) “When someone comes along and expresses him or herself as freely as they think, people flock to it. They enjoy it.”
27) “The universe rewards calculated risk and passion.”
28) “The audience changes every night. You’re the same person. You have to speak your mind and do the stuff that you think is funny and makes you laugh…I never want to compromise my act just to get a laugh.”
29) “Work for that feeling that you have accomplished something…Don’t waste your time on this earth without making a mark.”
30) “Discomfort is your friend. It doesn’t matter if you’re sick, if you have kids… if you’re a pro, you go to work…The worst choice that a man can make is to become comfortable.”
31) “Bad breaks are an opportunity for you to reboot, to reassess, get better, figure out another way through your challenges. The people that look at those challenges and say ‘Well why do I have those challenges?’ – They’re cancer. They are dangerous people to be around. They will rob you of your enthusiasm and won’t give you any fuel.”
32) “All the time that you spend complaining, you could instead be hustling. You could be chasing your dream. You could be figuring out what you’re doing wrong and improving your life.”
33) “The people I know that have the hardest time keeping it together emotionally are people that don’t work out.”
34) “Do things that are difficult. It’s very important to struggle. You don’t get to know yourself without struggle. You don’t know who you are until you get tested.”
35) “In order to be truly great at something you have to give into a certain amount of madness.”
36) “One of the most fascinating lessons I’ve absorbed about life is that the struggle is good.”
37) “90% of success is just showing up. Get there and start working. You’re not going to feel perfect everyday. There’s gotta be those days you push through.”
38) “If things aren’t going the way you want them to go, then do something about it! Quit talking about your problems and go out and do something to fix them!”
39) “The brain is the general and the troops are the body. Write down your goals and get stuff done.”
40) “Fuel people are the ones out there hustling and always getting things done. My friend Jocko works out at 4:30 in the morning every day. Why? Because he doesn’t want to. That’s how you do it. You go and get after it and don’t make any excuses.”
41) “Resistance is the key battle that you’re going to fight for the rest of your life, but the key to overcoming that resistance is to fight it. Every day you do so, you have won the battle for that day.”
42)“There’s levels to dedication, to discipline, to drive to focus to obsession. There’s levels to it – and if you’re sitting on the sidelines saying “It must be nice”, you just don’t get it.”
43)“Greatness and madness are next door neighbors and they often borrow each other’s sugar.”
44) “100% of all haters in the world are unrealized potential.”
45) “I want to make sure that everything that I’m creating, I’m creating it so other people get enjoyment out of it. And that’s the reward that you get for that.”
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.
Disclaimer—This might change your perspective on life. Hopefully for the better.
The choice is yours.
The 4 philosophy ideas I discuss stem from a philosophy called stoicism.
I wanted to title this post: “Stoicism 101; an old philosophy that can liberate you,” but I’m not sure if many people have heard about stoicism, and I know most people have heard of philosophy.
So what is stoicism? (scroll down to ‘4 Main Points‘ section for just the main points if you’d like).
Stoicism is defined as: “The endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.”
It is being okay with everything that happens & accepting how you feel. It is focusing on what you can control, and letting go of the rest.
Stoicism is liberating.
Stoicism can help you:
- Become a better person & friend
- Deal with people & external events appropriately
- Deal with adversity
- Maintain a level head through praise & criticism
- Come to peace with death
- Overcome destructive emotions, and many more.
Stoicism is also defined as: “An ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium. The school taught that virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge, and that the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.”
Stoicism helps us accept life as it is. It helps us get past our labels of “good” & “bad.” Stoicism helps put us in a mindful state of awareness, getting us out of our constantly judging mind, enabling us to experience life fully, non-judgmentally.
In relation to living non-judgmentally, I’ve heard this quote: “What is chaos to the fly is normal to the spider.”
Shakespeare also said, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
We know what is good or bad in human terms, but there is a lot more going on in the universe than what we think.
There is so much happening beyond us.
We know that murder is a bad thing, yet cows, chickens and other animal life are murdered daily in our world. I eat meat so I am not complaining, I am just trying to get us all to think.
Do you think eating dog is bad?
Multiple countries eat dog today, and other countries think that this is very wrong…Here is an article that came out April 3, 2018 that discusses how over 5 million dogs are eaten in Vietnam every year—Click Here For Article.
Is it wrong to kill animals for food? I don’t have that answer.
Maybe hundreds or thousands of years from now, if the human race is still around, they will wonder how we could have eaten the meat of other animals.
Maybe not though as well.
Look back to a few examples from recent centuries, the 1900’s & beyond, to things we look back on in disgust: Open racism, public hangings & no womens’ rights.
These injustices are still happening today in some places.
So this is what philosophy is; thinking. Thinking, learning & then living out the best life from what we know. Philosophy is about questions & perspectives.
Stoicism is not pessimistic, it is optimistic, you just need to see it in the right light.
Before I get to the main points of stoicism, I would like your feedback via email. I am considering writing a short ebook that will discuss stoicism in more detail. I have about 70 pages of solid notes on the subject, & have read multiple books regarding stoicism, so if you would be interested in reading a short ebook(condensed to about 20 pages) please let me know!
For now, here is a summary of a few main points that stoicism offers & how we can apply them to our lives.
4 Main Points
•Which translates to a love of one’s fate•
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was a big fan of amor fati.
He is quoted saying, “my formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it, but love it.”
The stoics also had another way of looking at this. They believed in a universal guiding force of the universe. They thought we are like a dog tied to a moving cart, and we have two options: We can try to dig our hind legs in, struggling to control everything, getting dragged & being challenged. Or we can enjoy the ride & live our best lives.
Last quote on Amor Fati:
“Demand not that things happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do, and you will go on well.” Epictetus (Philosopher & former slave)
Are you loving your fate? If not, you can with practice, and it will help you live your best life.
2~Focus on what you can control and let go of the rest
Most of us have heard this quote: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr
We have heard it, and might think, “yea that’s good, I should do that.” But we often don’t follow through with this quote.
We need to follow through with action. Make a list of things you can control, and a list of things you can’t control. Then stop wasting any time on things you cannot control. This takes time & practice, as I am practicing this myself and am not perfect at it.
I love this idea from Philip Ghezelbash that relates to focusing on the things we can control:
“Do you have a problem in your life?
No? ► Then don’t worry.
Yes? ► Can you do something about it?…
Yes? ► Then don’t worry.
No? ► Then don’t worry.”
I have been practicing this lately when I am stuck in traffic. There is no reason to get upset in uncontrollable traffic, but many people do & I have too at times. I’ve been reminding myself that I have no control over the traffic, and this reminder has been bringing me peace of mind.
3~Practice poverty & misfortune
This may sound counterproductive but it can actually help a person grow tremendously.
When we intentionally practice poverty & misfortune a few days each month, we will be more prepared and accepting for when it does come.
“We must learn to disappoint ourselves at leisure before the world ever has a chance to slap us by surprise at a time of its own choosing.” Alain de Botton
Alain goes on to say: “One of the goals of civilization is to instruct us in how to be sad rather than angry. Sadness may not sound very appealing. But it carries – in this context – a huge advantage. It is what allows us to detach our emotional energies from fruitless fury around things that (however bad) we cannot change and that are the fault of no-one in particular and – after a period of mourning – to refocus our efforts in places where our few remaining legitimate hopes and expectations have a realistic chance of success.”
Entrepreneur, practicer of stoicism, and author of a New York Times Best Selling Book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss, practices this each month. See him talk about it by clicking here…
Ferriss talks about how the philosopher Cato, would practice poverty & misfortune:
During Cato’s age, over 2000 years ago, every now and then he would wear clothes that society viewed as humiliating.
Cato did this to train himself to be ashamed of only those things truly worth being ashamed about.
Deep down we know that clothes are nothing to be ashamed of, but many people spend a lot of money to buy brand clothing to impress people they don’t even like.
The philosopher Seneca also practiced this. In one of his writings he wrote: “Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?’”
We undervalue what we have, because most likely we’ve always had it…
“Many of your fears are based on undervaluing the things that are easily obtainable.” Tim Ferriss
Ferriss also practices this by doing fasts, not eating anything for days, & also doing fasts that include only eating rice, or only drinking water. (If you plan on doing a fast, research it as much as possible beforehand).
This year I have done two 30 hour fasts, and multiple 16-20 hour fasts.
There has been a lot of research done on fasting, and it has many benefits. This Harvard study explains how fasting can lead to a longer and healthier life: Click Here for the study.
I’ve been practicing this another way without even knowing it: When I need clothes, I first go to Goodwill or other thrift stores, where I buy great clothes for a cheap price. I am very glad my mother took us to thrift shops growing up; they really have some amazing gems. And when I buy clothes that society might think is “poor,” that doesn’t bother me & I’ll still wear it.
Macklemore agrees here in his song Thrift shop(clean version).
He says, “I’m like, ‘yo, that’s 50 dollars for a t-shirt.’ Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition. 50 dollars for a t-shirt, that’s just some ignorant _____.
I call that getting tricked by the business.”
Do we care that much about the opinions of others that we will spend enormous amounts of money to impress them?
2000 years ago, former Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius said, “it never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”
Think about what your life would be like without the things you have. It could happen. Better to have practiced misfortune so that if it comes to you, you won’t be bothered by it.
Are you practicing poverty & misfortune? If not, do you think you will?
4~None of what you do lasts
Again, this may sound pessimistic, but it is liberating, and if you are still reading you can sense that practicing stoicism can be liberating.
Marcus Aurelius reminded himself of all the people who have died, whether they had a “great” occupation or a “lowly” one. He said: “Run down the list of those who felt intense anger at something: the most famous, the most unfortunate, the most hated, the most whatever: Where is all that now? Smoke, dust, legend…or not even a legend. Think of all the examples. And how trivial the things we want so passionately are.”
“No matter how clever or brilliant, none of what we do lasts…It’s good to remember that.” Ryan Holiday
“If everything is ephemeral, what does matter? Right now matters. Being a good person and doing the right thing right now, thats what matters and that’s what was important to the Stoics. Be humble and honest and aware.” Ryan Holiday
If you want to really live your best life, it is important to frequently think of your own mortality. This will help you appreciate each and every moment, and not have such an intense fear of death that most people refuse to think about.
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” Marcus Aurelius
I hope you enjoyed learning about, or learning more about the wonderful philosophy of stoicism. There are many more practices involved with stoicism; these were a few key starting points I believe are good to begin with, & they are ones that I am practicing.
If you want to learn more about stoicism, I recommend reading the book “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius. I recently read it & it is now one of my top 3 all-time favorite books.
And as I said, I have many notes on stoicism and am considering writing a short ebook on the subject to discuss it in more details (the ebook would be around 20 pages). If this is something you’d be interested in reading please let me know 🙂
I look forward to hearing from you, & hope you have gained a new perspective through reading this.