Mindfulness Quotes

Each month, one quote is added to the top of the page (from that month's graduate meeting) and as other new quotes come in, they are added to the very bottom of this page.

For most of the quotes below, clicking on the artwork above will take you to the "host" page where that quote appears and clicking the artwork again from the host page will return you to the quotes page.
Once or twice a year the abbot at the San Francisco Zen Center,
Tenshin Reb Anderson, comes to speak with the hospice volunteers.  
One night he gave a talk that included the best advice I've ever heard on caregiving.
 He said simply, "Stay close and do nothing."
 That's how we try to practice at Zen Hospice Project. 
We stay close and do nothing. We sit still and listen to the stories.
- Frank Ostaseski -
Listening is the art of entering the skin of the other
and wearing it for a time as if it were your own.
- David Spangler -
It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
- Unknown -
Hurt people hurt people.
That's how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation.
Break the chain today.
Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness.
Greet grimaces with smiles.
Forgive and forget about finding fault.
Love is the weapon of the future.
- Yehuda Berg -
Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions.
Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life
with clarity and balance.
- Tara Brach-
There is something in every one of you that waits and listens
for the sound of the genuine in yourself.
It is the only true guide you will ever have.
And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life
spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls...
- Howard Thurman -
The peace that we are looking for is not peace that crumbles as soon as there is difficulty or chaos. Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened.
- Pema Chodron -
Being on a spiritual path does not prevent you from facing times of darkness.
But it teaches you how to use the darkness as a tool to grow.
- Jack Kornfield -
Without the dark, we cannot see the light.
Without the silence, we cannot hear the music.
Without the possibility of its absence, we cannot feel the love.
- Lauren Fins -
If you know something hurtful and not true, don't say it.
If you know something hurtful and true, don't say it.
If you know something helpful but not true, don't say it.
If you know something helpful and true, find the right time to say it.
- Buddha -
Arguments always begin with an answer in mind.
Conversations begin with a question.
- unknown -
Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable.
It means to show up and be seen.
To ask for what you need.
To talk about how you’re feeling.
To have the hard conversations.
- Brené Brown -
You are whole and also part of larger and larger circles of wholeness
you many not even know about.
You are never alone.
And you already belong.
You belong to humanity.
You belong to life.
You belong to this moment, this breath.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn -
My religion is very simple.
My religion is kindness.
- Dalai Lama -
Three Marks of Existence
"Street" version by Jon Kabat-Zinn:
Sh*t happens.
Everything changes.
It's not about you, anyway.
Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different;
enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will);
being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won't).
- James Baraz -
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.
- Leonard Cohen -
One of the most satisfying feelings I know – and also one of the most growth-promoting experiences for the other person – comes from my appreciating this individual in the same way that I appreciate a sunset. People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you can let them be. In fact, perhaps the reason we can truly appreciate a sunset is that we cannot control it. When I look at a sunset as I did the other evening, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a little on the right hand corner, and put a bit more purple along the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color.” I don’t do that. I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.
- Carl Rogers -
Our true nature is like a precious jewel:
although it may be temporarily buried in mud, it remains completely brilliant and unaffected.
We simply have to uncover it.
- Pema Chodron -
If you hear the whispers,
you won’t have to hear the screams.
- Cherokee proverb -
All of you are perfect just as you are...
... and there is still room for improvement!.
- Shunryu Suzuki -
Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away
and become something better.
It's about befriending who we are already.
- Pema Chodron -
I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.
- Albert Schweitzer, to a group of schoolboys. -
The most intimate relationship we will have in our entire lifetime is with ourselves.
No one hears our hearts the way we do.
No one knows our hurts the way we do.
We are the sages of our soft spots and our edges.
Self-compassion is showing up to that relationship with honesty and with love.
- Jamie Ridler -
I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness.
It's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude.
- Brené Brown -
First, come into the present. Flash on what's happening with you right now.
Be fully aware of your body, its energetic quality. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions.

Next, feel your heart, literally placing your hand on your chest if you find that helpful.
This is a way of accepting yourself just as you are in that moment, a way of saying,
"This is my experience right now, and it's okay."
Then go into the next moment without any agenda.
- Pema Chodron -
Arguments always begin with an answer in mind.
Conversation begins with a question .
- unknown -
Impermanence is both a process of continual loss,
in which things exist and then disappear,
and it is also a process of continuous rebirth or creativity,
in which things that do not exist suddenly appear.
- Joseph Goldstein -
If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart,
it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person.
It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart...
- Pema Chodron -

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
- William Blake-

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
- Albert Einstein -
The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious,
awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
- Henry Miller -
The thing that is really hard, and really amazing,
is giving up on being perfect
and beginning the work of becoming yourself.
- Anna Quindlen-
Une difficulté est une lumière.
Une difficulté insurmontable est un soleil.
(A difficulty is a light.
An insurmountable difficulty is a sun.)
- Paul Valery -
Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens.
- Carl Jung -
Outside of a dog,
a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog,
it's too dark to read.
- Groucho Marx -
Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said;
"one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen.
"When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day.
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
- Lewis Carroll -
If I do not practice one day, I notice it.
If I do not practice a second day, the orchestra notices it.
If I do not practice a third day, the world notices it.
- Ignacy Jan Paderewski -
It’s important to be aware of physical limits and to dwell at their boundary long enough to experience them but it’s just as important not to push beyond them...
Instead we are going to be looking deeply into each moment with full acceptance
and not trying to force ourselves to be different from how we are right now.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn -
In your meditation practice and in your daily life, can you be in touch,
not only with the changing content and intensity of your thoughts and feelings,
but also with the vast unwavering reservoir of awareness itself,
residing below the surface of your mind?
The lake can teach this, remind us of the lake within ourselves.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn -
Through it all, the mountain just sits, experiencing change in each moment,
constantly changing, yet always just being itself.
It remains still as the seasons flow into one another and as the weather changes moment by moment and day by day, calmness abiding all change…
- Jon Kabat-Zinn -
These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now.
- David Whyte -
When flowing water meets with obstacles on its path,
a blockage in its journey, it pauses.
It increases in volume and strength,
filling up in front of the obstacle
and eventually spilling past it.
- I Ching -
You do not belong to you.
You belong to the universe.
The significance of you will forever remain obscure to you,
but you may assume that you are fulfilling your significance
if you apply yourself to converting all your experience to the highest advantage to others.
- Buckminster Fuller -
You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day
- unless you're too busy -
then you should sit for an hour.
- Old Zen adage -
Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives.
It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment.
We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources
for insight, transformation, and healing.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn -
Realize that this very body, with its aches and it pleasures…
is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.
- Pema Chodron -
The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice
And because we fail to notice
There is little we can do
To change
Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.
- R.D. Laing -
The practice of meditation is not really about establishing inner stillness...
The moments of stillness are one of meditation's byproducts, not the practice itself.
- Erik Walker Wikstrom -
If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently...
And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back,
though it went away every time you brought it back,
your hour would be very well employed.
- St. Francis de Sales -
Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
- Victor Frankl -
You can have compassion for yourself - which is not self-pity.
You’re simply recognizing that ‘this is tough, this hurts,’
and bringing the same warmhearted wish for suffering to lessen or end
that you would bring to any dear friend
grappling with the same pain, upset, or challenges as you.
- Rick Hanson -
It’s simply being kind to myself -
meeting myself, whatever my emotional, physical or psychological state, with loving kindness.
As simple, and difficult, as that!
- Marianne Elliot -
To listen is to lean in softly
With a willingness to be changed
By what we hear.
- Mark Nepo-
If we could read the secret history of our enemies,
we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering
enough to disarm all hostility.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow -
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves
like locked rooms and like books
that are written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
- Rainer Maria Rilke -
... circles of trust ... are a rare form of community -
one that supports rather than supplants the individual quest for integrity -
that is rooted in two basic beliefs.
First, we all have an inner teacher whose guidance is more reliable than anything we can get from a doctrine, ideology, collective belief system, institution, or leader.
Second, we all need other people to invite, amplify, and help us discern the inner teacher's voice.
- Parker Palmer -
Be yourself.
Everyone else is already taken.
- Oscar Wilde -
It takes courage to grow up
and become who you really are.
- E. E. Cummings -
For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone.
The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes.  
To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.
- Marcel Proust -
This is not an answering machine.
This is a questioning machine.
"Who are you and what do you want?"
If you think these are trivial questions,
most people go through their entire lives without answering either one.
- Peter Russell's answering machine -
You think you understand one.
You think you understand two, because one and one make two.
But, you must also understand "and".
- Sufi saying -
I am not nearly so interested in what monkey man was derived from
as I am in what kind of monkey he is to become.
- Loren Eiseley -
We ourselves cannot put any magic spell on this world.
The world is its own magic.
- Suzuki Roshi -
There is no enlightenment outside of daily life.
- Thich Nhat Hanh -
There's no problem so great it can't be solved.
If it can't be solved, it's not a problem, it's reality.
- Barbara Coloroso -
... few people actually receive big calls, in visions of flaming chariots and burning bushes. Most of the calls we receive and ignore are ... the daily calls to pay attention to our intuitions, to be authentic, to live by our own codes of honor.

Our lives are measured out ... not in the grand sweeps but in the small gestures. The great breakthroughs in our lives generally happen only as a result of the accumulation of innumerable small steps and minor achievements. We're called to reach out to someone, to pick up an odd book on the library shelf, to sign up for a class even though we're convinced we don't have the time or money, to go to our desks each day, to turn left instead of right.
These are the fire drills for our bigger calls.
- Gregg Levoy -
When I do not know who I am, I serve you.
When I know who I am, I am you.
- Indian Proverb -
Perhaps ultimately, spiritual simply means
experiencing wholeness and interconnectedness directly,
a seeing that individuality and the totality are interwoven,
that nothing is separate or extraneous.
If you see in this way, then everything becomes spiritual in its deepest sense.
Doing science is spiritual. So is washing the dishes.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn -
Hillel the sage, who was asked to relate the whole of Torah while standing on one foot:
"Do not do to others that which is hateful to you.
All the rest is commentary. Now go study."
- Talmud, Shabbat 31a -
The saints are what they are, not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others,
but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everybody else.
- Thomas Merton -
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
A cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life.
- Wu-men -
There is more to life than increasing its speed.
- Ghandi -
Today like every other day
We wake up empty and scared.
Don't open the door of your study
And begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do
There are hundreds of way to kneel
And kiss the earth.
- Rumi -
Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.
- Jose Ortega y Gasset -
I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither; then I awoke.
Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly,
or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?
- Zhuangzi -
Rabbi Zusya of Hanipol used to say,
"If they ask me in the next world, 'Why were you not Moses?'
I will know the answer.
But if they ask me, "Why were you not Zusya?'
I will have nothing to say.
- Martin Buber -
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly:
what is essential is invisible to the eye.
- Antoine de Saint Exupery -
When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that's wisdom.
When I look outside and see that I am everything, that's love.
Between these two my life turns.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj -
We are not troubled by things,
but by the opinions we have about things.
- Epictetus -
Linger longer in the unrepeatable present.
- Dorothy Harsen -
Stand still.
The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is a place called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
- David Wagoner -
Security is mostly a superstition.
It does not exist in nature,
nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
- Helen Keller -
Buckminster Fuller himself was fond of stating that what seems to be happening
at the moment is never the full story of what is really going on.
He liked to point out that for the honey bee, it is the honey that is important.
But the bee is at the same time nature's vehicle
for carrying out cross-pollination of the flowers.
Interconnectedness is a fundamental principle of nature.
Nothing is isolated. Each event connects with others.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn -
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles,
most of which never happened
- anonymous (sometimes attributed to Mark Twain) -
We see things not as they are, but as we are.
- H.M. Tomlinson -
The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.
- Li Po -
Ram Dass tells of a student who went to a Zen master.
"What can you tell me about death?" the student asked.
"Nothing," the other replied. "I'm a Zen master. Not a dead Zen master."
- Stephan Rechtschaffen -
As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth,
so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.
To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again.
To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over
the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
- Henry David Thoreau -
May you live all the days of your life.
- Jonathan Swift -
Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
- Howard Thurman -
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
- anonymous (sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein) -
First I was dying to finish high school and start college.
And then I was dying to finish college and start working.
And then I was dying to marry and have children.
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work.
And then I was dying to retire.
And now, I am dying...
And suddenly realize I forgot to live.
- Anonymous -
I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.
- Rabindranath Tagore -
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know
to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
You are already naked.
There is no reason not to follow your heart.
- Steve Jobs -
You must not lose faith in humanity.
Humanity is like an ocean;
if a few drops of the ocean are dirty,
the ocean does not become dirty.
- Mahatma Gandhi -
In my walks, I would fain return to my senses.
What business have I in the woods
if I am thinking of something out of the woods?
- Thoreau -
Our bodies know they belong,
It's our minds that make our lives so homeless.
- John O'Donahue -
Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded.
It's a relationship between equals.
Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.
Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
- Pema Chodron -
Could our minds and our hearts be big enough just to hang out in that space where we’re not entirely certain about who’s right and who’s wrong? Could we have no agenda when we walk into a room with another person, not know what to say, not make that person wrong or right? Could we see, hear, feel other people as they really are? It is powerful to practice this way, because we’ll find ourselves continually rushing around to try to feel secure again—to make ourselves or them either right or wrong. But true communication can happen only in that open space.
- Pema Chodron -
Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary.
There are burning bushes all around you.
Every tree is full of angels.
Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb.
- Macrina Wiederkehr -
Every part of our personality that we do not love
will become hostile to us.
- Robert Bly -
If you have embarked on this journey of self-reflection,
you may be at a place that everyone, sooner or later, experiences on the spiritual path.
After a while it seems like almost every moment of your life you’re there,
where you realize you have a choice.
You have a choice whether to open or close, whether to hold on or let go,
whether to harden or soften, whether to hold your seat or strike out.
That choice is presented to you again and again and again.
- Pema Chodron -
I sought my soul, But my soul I could not see.
I sought my God, But my God eluded me.
I sought my brother, And found all three.
- Anonymous -
If I were called upon to state in a few words the essence of everything
I was trying to say, it would be something like this:  Listen to your life.
See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.
In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness:
touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it
because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.
- Frederick Buechner-
Is there anything I can do to make myself Enlightened?
As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.
Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?
To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.
- Anthony de Mello -
There is nothing you can do to improve your soul.
There is nothing you can do to stain your soul.
- Inyat Khan -
I believe that the only true religion consists of having a good heart.
- The Dalai Lama -
The further I wake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere
and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary.
Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is in both the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe.
Yes, God is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain,
and joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are.
- Mark Nepo -
We can stop struggling with what occurs and see its true face without calling it the enemy.
It helps to remember that our spiritual practice is not about accomplishing anything
- not about winning or losing - but about ceasing to struggle and relaxing as it is.
That is what we are doing when we sit down to meditate.
That attitude spreads into the rest of our lives.
- Pema Chodron -
Most of us need to be reminded that we are good, that we are lovable, that we belong.
If we knew just how powerfully our thoughts, words, and actions affected
the hearts of those around us, we’d reach out and join hands again and again.
Our relationships have the potential to be a sacred refuge, a place of healing and awakening.
With each person we meet, we can learn to look behind the mask
and see the one who longs to love and be loved.
- Tara Brach -
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts,
the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach,
the core of their reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the Divine.
If only they could all see themselves as they really are.
If only we could see each other that way all the time.
There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. …
I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.
- Thomas Merton -
Enlightenment does exist. It is possible to awaken. Unbounded freedom and joy, oneness with the Divine, awakening into a state of timeless grace - these experiences are more common than you know, and not far away. There is one further truth, however: They don't last.
Our realizations and awakenings show us the reality of the world, and they bring transformation,
but they pass. ...
We all know that after the honeymoon comes the marriage.
After the election comes the hard task of governance.
In spiritual life it is the same: After the ecstasy comes the laundry.
- Jack Kornfield -
When we think that something is going to bring us pleasure, we really don't know what's going to happen. When we think something is going to give us misery, we don't know. Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. We try to do what we think is going to help. But we don't know.
We never know if we're going to fall flat or sit up tall. When there's a big disappointment,
we don't know if that's the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.
...Life is like that.
We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don't know.
- Pema Chodron -
With spiritual maturity ... comes a sense of the sacred that is integrated and personal. ... Integrated and personal spiritual practice includes our work, our love, our families, and our creativity. It understands that the personal and the universal are inextricably connected, that the universal truths of spiritual life can come alive only in each particular and personal circumstance. How we live is our spiritual life. As one wise student remarked,
'If you really want to know about a Zen master, talk to their spouse.'
- Jack Kornfield -
Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood...
Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers.
Let me keep company always with those who say
'Look!' and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.
- Mary Oliver -
Your generosity toward others is key to your positive experiences in the world.
Know that there's enough room for everyone to be passionate, creative, and successful.
In fact, there's more than room for everyone; there's a need for everyone.
- Marianne Williamson -
Don't think the purpose of meditation is to go deep into consciousness,
wrap a blanket around yourself, and say,
'How cozy! I'm going to curl up in here by myself; let the world burn.'
Not at all.
We go deep into meditation so that we can reach out further and further to the world outside.
- Eknath Easwaran -
You are not a drop in the ocean,
You are the entire ocean in a drop.
- Rumi -
Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through.
Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it.
This is a kind of death.
- Anais Nin -
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a
Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry.
He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,
'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'
- Martin Luther King -
Paradise is thus not so much a place,
as liberation into the fullness and bounty
of everyday experience.
- Ian Baker -
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.
- Alan Watts -
Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation
can that which is indestructible be found in us.
- Pema Chodron -
One day I asked Kassie [Temple] the question that had been vexing me:
"How do you keep doing this hard, heart-wrenching work when you know you'll wake up tomorrow to problems that are as bad or worse than the ones you're dealing with today?"
I've never forgotten Kassie's answer:
"What you need to understand is this —
just because something's impossible doesn't mean you shouldn't do it!
- Parker Palmer -
What if our religion was each other?
If our practice was our life? If prayer was our words?
What if the Temple was the Earth?
If forests were our church?
If holy water - the river, lakes and oceans?
What if meditation was our relationships? If the Teacher was life?
If wisdom was self-knowledge? If love was the center of our being?
- Ganga White -
As often happens on the spiritual journey, we have arrived at the heart of a paradox:
each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens up.
All we need to do is stop pounding on the door that has just closed, turn around
- which puts the door behind us -
and welcome the largeness of life that now lies open to our souls.
The door that closed kept us from entering a room,
but what now lies before us is the rest of reality.
- Parker Palmer -
In the end, these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you learn to let go?
- Jack Kornfield -
You and I appear to be separate. We differ in color, size, and shape ...
in ideas, tastes, and prejudices ...
Beneath this apparent division, however, hidden deep within each of us
is the one Self - eternal, infinite, ever-perfect.
This is the closely guarded secret of life: that we are all caught up in a divine masquerade,
and all we are trying to do is take off our masks to reveal the pure, perfect Self within.
- Eknath Easwaran -
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
- William Arthur Ward -
When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter.
As you see him you will see yourself.
As you treat him you will treat yourself.
As you think of him you will think of yourself.
Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.
- A Course in Miracles -
As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom,
I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind,
I'd still be in prison.
- Nelson Mandela -
Let us encourage one another with spiritual friendship,
conversations that are uplifting, and remembrance of our sacred purpose in life.
- Ellen Grace O'Brian -
Go and love someone exactly as they are and watch how quickly
they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves.
When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered.
- Wes Angelozzi -
It has a lot to do with developing patience, not with the check-out person so much,
but with your own pain that arises, the rawness and the vulnerability,
and sending some kind of warmth and love to that rawness and soreness.
I think that's how we have to practice.
- Pema Chodron -
There ain't no answer.
There ain't ever going to be an answer.
There never was an answer.
That's the answer.
- Gertrude Stein -
If we learn to open our hearts, anyone,
including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.
- Pema Chodron -
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned
so as to have the one that is waiting for us.
- E.M. Forster -
When is the last time that you had a great conversation, a conversation that wasn't just two intersecting monologues, which is what passes for conversation a lot in this culture?
But ... a great conversation, in which you overheard yourself saying things that you never knew you knew? That you heard yourself receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you that you thought you had lost ... a conversation that brought the two of you on to a different plane? ... a conversation that continued to sing in your mind for weeks afterwards ...
I've had some of them recently ... they are food and drink for the soul.
- John O'Donohue -
Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings.
The beauty of listening is that those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their true selves.
Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to be friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.
- Henri J.M. Nouwen -
During my life I have met some of the kindest people who don't consider themselves spiritual at all. Yet their approach to life comes from a deep caring and concern for all human beings.
It comes from a basic kindness.
That is what spirituality is about. It is about our deep connections.
It isn't about what gender we think God is,
or whether we even think God exists
or what rituals we perform or the creeds we profess.
It is experiencing and acting from our deep connections.
It is often done quietly, with no fanfare. ... It is a friendliness to all life.
- Diane Mariechild -
My beloved child, break your heart no longer.
Each time you judge yourself, you break your heart.
You pull away from the love that is the well-spring of your vitality.
But now the time has come, your time, to live and to trust the goodness that you are.
- Bapuji as shared by Kirpal Venanji and Tara Brach -
... at its deepest levels life is not a problem but a mystery. The distinction...
is fundamental: problems are to be solved, true mysteries are not.
... And what does mystery ask of us?
Only that we be in its presence,
that we fully, consciously hand ourselves over.
That is all, and that is everything.
- Phil Simmons -
Over the years I have seen the power of taking an unconditional relationship to life …,
a willingness to show up for whatever life may offer and meet with it
rather than wishing to edit and change the inevitable….
Perhaps the wisdom lies in engaging the life you have been given as fully and courageously as possible and not letting go until you find the unknown blessing that is in everything..
I think that's how we have to practice.
- Rachel Naomi Remen -
People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life.
I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking.
I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive,
so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane
will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality,
so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
That’s what it’s all finally about.
- Joseph Campbell -
Often in meditative language we speak of letting go of things:
let go of thoughts, let go of emotions, let go of pain.
Sometimes that is not exactly the right phrase,
because letting go suggests that you need to do something.
A better phrase to work with is “Let it be.” Let it be.
Everything comes and goes by itself.
We do not have to do anything to make it come, or make it go, or to let it go.
We just have to let it be.
- Joseph Goldstein -
Each one of us, I believe, is a gift the earth is giving to itself now, a unique gift. …
You don’t need to be extraordinary. If the world is to be healed through human effort,
I am convinced it will be by ordinary people,
people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear.
People who can open to the web of life that called us into being,
and who can rest in the vitality of that larger body.
- Joanna Macy -

Practice is often described as the willingness to simply be with our life as it is. But this is a difficult concept to get: that practice is not about having a particular state of mind, such as calmness. Nor is it about being completely free of anxiety. This is not to deny that we will, in fact, experience more equanimity, and that our fears will substantially diminish.

But, ironically, it’s the very demand that life be a particular way that almost guarantees a continuing state of anxiety, unease, and dissatisfaction.
- Ezra Bayda -

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe,"
a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings,
as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of a prison to us, restricting us to our personal desires
and to affection for only the few people nearest us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison
by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures
and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Nobody is able to achieve this completely,
but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation
and a foundation for inner security.
- Einstein -
I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love.
- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross -
If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others. We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.
- Thich Nhat Hanh -
Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it.
This makes it hard to plan the day. But if we forget to savor the world,
what possible reason do we have for saving it?
In a way, the savoring must come first.
- E.B. White -
Leave your front door and your back door open.
Allow your thoughts to come and go.
Just don't serve them tea.
- Shunryu Suzuki -

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth,
dwelling deeply in the present moment, feeling fully alive.
- Thich Nhat Hanh -

Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.
- unknown -
Don't meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people's lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love.
How endlessly delightful and encouraging.
- Bob Sharples -
Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are and listen to the wind that is singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing, and the fear in your bones.
Open your heart to who you are, right now, not who you would like to be.
Not the saint you're striving to become.
But the being right here before you, inside you, around you.
All of you is holy.
You're already more and less than whatever you can know.
Breathe out, look in, let go.
- John Welwood -
Sometimes people talk about how we need to do things to connect.
And on the one hand that’s right, but on the other hand, it understates what is.
We are connected.
What we need to do is to become aware of it, to live it, to express it.
- John A. Powell -
Want what you have.
Do what you can.
Be who you are.
- Forrest Church -
You do not have to leave the room. Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait. Be quiet, still, and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked.
It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
- Franz Kafka -

nature photos on this site courtesy of
Will Simpson