Depths Of Life Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Depths Of Life. Here they are! All 200 of them:

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
It is not the length of life, but the depth.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean, Tears from the depths of some devine despair Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, In looking on the happy autumn fields, And thinking of the days that are no more.
Alfred Tennyson
Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That's its balance.
Osho (Everyday Osho: 365 Daily Meditations for the Here and Now)
When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him. In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
Albert Camus
It scares me how hard it is to remember life before you. I can't even make the comparisons anymore, because my memories of that time have all the depth of a photograph. It seems foolish to play games of better and worse. It's simply a matter of is and is no longer.
David Levithan (The Lover's Dictionary)
You are not too old and it is not too late to dive into your increasing depths where life calmly gives out its own secret.
Rainer Maria Rilke
It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
The thought was this: that all my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it.
Madeline Miller (Circe)
Your heart is the size of an ocean. Go find yourself in its hidden depths.
Rumi
The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.
Katherine Mansfield
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Sonnets from the Portuguese)
The level of success you achieve will be in direct proportion to the depth of your commitment.
Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.
John O'Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)
If there be light, then there is darkness; if cold, heat; if height, depth; if solid, fluid; if hard, soft; if rough, smooth; if calm, tempest; if prosperity, adversity; if life, death.
Pythagoras
There are not enough days in forever to allow me to fully express the depth of my love for you.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.
H.L. Mencken
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.
Carl Sagan
We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
Disappointments in love, even betrayals and losses, serve the soul at the very moment they seem in life to be tragedies. The soul is partly in time and partly in eternity. We might remember the part that resides in eternity when we feel despair over the part that is in life.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose... ...Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty - describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. - And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.
Rainer Maria Rilke
The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain… Music expresses only the quintessence of life and its events, never these themselves.
Arthur Schopenhauer
It may help us, in those times of trouble, to remember that love is not only about relationship, it is also an affair of the soul.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
We look into each other's eyes as we shake. His are still full of death and horror, but in them I see my face reflected, and inside my tiny eyes inside his, I think I see some hope.
Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story)
It is precisely because we resist the darkness in ourselves that we miss the depths of the loveliness, beauty, brilliance, creativity, and joy that lie at our core.
Thomas Moore (Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ordeals)
From childhood's hour I have not been As others were; I have not seen As others saw; I could not bring My passions from a common spring. From the same source I have not taken My sorrow; I could not awaken My heart to joy at the same tone; And all I loved, I loved alone. Then- in my childhood, in the dawn Of a most stormy life- was drawn From every depth of good and ill The mystery which binds me still: From the torrent, or the fountain, From the red cliff of the mountain, From the sun that round me rolled In its autumn tint of gold, From the lightning in the sky As it passed me flying by, From the thunder and the storm, And the cloud that took the form (When the rest of Heaven was blue) Of a demon in my view.
Edgar Allan Poe (Alone)
I believe everything happens for a reason. Whether it is decided by the Mother, or the Cauldron, or some sort of tapestry of Fate, I don't know. I don't really care. But I am grateful for it, whatever it is. Grateful that it brought you all into my life. If it hadn't... I might have become as awful as that prick we're going to face today. If I had not met an Illyrian warrior-in-training," he said to Cassian, "I would not have known the true depths of strength, of resilience, of honor and loyalty." Cassian's eyes gleamed bright. Rhys said to Azriel, "If I had not met a shadowsinger, I would not have known that it is the family you make, not the one you are born into, that matters. I would not have known what it is to truly hope, even when the world tells you to despair." Azriel bowed his head in thanks. Mor was already crying when Rhys spoke to her. "If I had not met my cousin, I would neer have learned that light can be found in even the darkest of hells. That kidness can thrive even amongst cruelty." She wiped away her teas as she nodded. I waited for Amren to offer a retort. But she was only waiting. Rhys bowed his head to her. "If I had not met a tiny monster who hoards jewels more fiercely than a firedrake..." A quite laugh from all of us at that. Rhys smiled softly. "My own power would have consumed me long ago." Rhys squeezed my hand as he looked to me at last. "And if I had not met my mate..." His words failed him as silver lined his eyes. He said down the bond, I would have waited five hundred more years for you. A thousand years. And if this was all the time we were allowed to have... The wait was worth it. He wiped away the tears sliding down my face. "I believe that everything happened, exactly the way it had to... so I could find you." He kissed another tear away.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3))
Such was a poet and shall be and is -who'll solve the depths of horror to defend a sunbeam's architecture with his life: and carve immortal jungles of despair to hold a mountain's heartbeat in his hand.
E.E. Cummings
The poor man shuddered, overflowed with an angelic joy; he declared in his transport that this would last through life; he said to himself that he really had not suffered enough to deserve such radiant happiness, and he thanked God, in the depths of his soul, for having permitted that he, a miserable man, should be so loved by this innocent being.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
You are going to do some really stupid and mean things in the name of love. Don’t be so hard on yourself when things don’t turn out. You are a good person that loved deeply. Anybody worth having will know that hurting someone is not showing someone who you really are. You’re a sensitive person that showed the depth of your love, by the depth of your pain. Fairytale love will show you only one face. Real love will show you as many faces as it takes to get you to see how much that person really wanted you in their life.
Shannon L. Alder
True beauty is a ray That springs from the sacred depths of the soul, and illuminates the body, just as life springs from the kernel of a stone and gives colour and scent to a flower.
Kahlil Gibran (Love Letters in the Sand: The Love Poems of Khalil Gibran)
If you allow dunya to own your heart, like the ocean that owns the boat, it will take over. You will sink down to the depths of the sea. You will touch the ocean floor.
Yasmin Mogahed (Reclaim Your Heart: Personal Insights on Breaking Free from Life's Shackles)
There are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion that if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret, Spilled on the ground like water, can never be gathered together.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The first thing which I can record concerning myself is, that I was born. These are wonderful words. This life, to which neither time nor eternity can bring diminution - this everlasting living soul, began. My mind loses itself in these depths.
Groucho Marx
In the depth a light will grow, A silver shine no shadows know, Like wings unfolding in the sky, That circle 'round a gleaming eye, Turning darkness all away, Even depths will know their day, For every shadow has its end, In light! Life will return again!
Robert Fanney
For, after all, every one who wishes to gain true knowledge must climb the Hill Difficulty alone, and since there is no royal road to the summit, I must zigzag it in my own way. I slip back many times, I fall, I stand still, I run against the edge of hidden obstacles, I lose my temper and find it again and keep it better, I trudge on, I gain a little, I feel encouraged, I get more eager and climb higher and begin to see the widening horizon. Every struggle is a victory. One more effort and I reach the luminous cloud, the blue depths of the sky, the uplands of my desire.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life)
So the hours are pretty good then?' he resumed. The Vogon stared down at him as sluggish thoughts moiled around in the murky depths. Yeah,' he said, 'but now you come to mention it, most of the actual minutes are pretty lousy.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
You see, I want a lot. Perhaps I want everything the darkness that comes with every infinite fall and the shivering blaze of every step up. So many live on and want nothing And are raised to the rank of prince By the slippery ease of their light judgments But what you love to see are faces that do work and feel thirst. You love most of all those who need you as they need a crowbar or a hoe. You have not grown old, and it is not too late To dive into your increasing depths where life calmly gives out its own secret.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God)
When introverts go to church, we crave sanctuary in every sense of the word, as we flee from the disorienting distractions of twenty-first-century life. We desire to escape from superficial relationships, trivial communications and the constant noise that pervade our world, and find rest in the probing depths of God's love.
Adam S. McHugh (Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture)
On top of the world, or in the depths of despair.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If someone told me that I could live my life again free of depression provided I was willing to give up the gifts depression has given me--the depth of awareness, the expanded consciousness, the increased sensitivity, the awareness of limitation, the tenderness of love, the meaning of friendship, the apreciation of life, the joy of a passionate heart--I would say, 'This is a Faustian bargain! Give me my depressions. Let the darkness descend. But do not take away the gifts that depression, with the help of some unseen hand, has dredged up from the deep ocean of my soul and strewn along the shores of my life. I can endure darkness if I must; but I cannot lie without these gifts. I cannot live without my soul.' (p. 188)
David Elkins (Beyond Religion: A Personal Program for Building a Spiritual Life Outside the Walls of Traditional Religion)
...our enjoyment of the great works of literature depends more upon the depth of our sympathy than upon our understanding.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life)
To make a deliberate falsification for personal gain is the last, worst depth to which either scholar or artist can descend in work or life. (Letter to Muriel St. Clare Byrne, 8 September 1935)
Dorothy L. Sayers (The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers 1899-1936: The Making of a Detective Novelist)
The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain...Music expresses only the quintessence of life and of its events, never these themselves.
Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain)
...to the soul, the most minute details and the most ordinary activities, carried out with mindfulness and art, have an effect far beyond their apparent insignificance.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
...to gaze into the face of another is to gaze into the depth and entirety of his life.
John O'Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)
Let mental culture go on advancing, let the natural sciences progress in even greater extent and depth, and the human mind widen itself as much as it desires: beyond the elevation and moral culture of Christianity, as it shines forth in the Gospels, it will not go.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The capacity for growth depends on one’s ability to internalize and to take personal responsibility. If we forever see our life as a problem caused by others, a problem to be "solved," then no change will occur.
James Hollis (The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts, 59))
We always have the necessary resources to face the storms that life throws at us, but most of the time,those resources are locked up in the depths of our heart and we waste an enormous amount of time trying to find them.By the time we've found them,we already been defeated by adversity.
Paulo Coelho (Like the Flowing River)
He had learned well the law of club and fang, and he never forewent an advantage or drew back from a foe he had started on the way to Death. He had lessoned from Spitz, and from the chief fighting dogs of the police and mail, and knew there was no middle course. He must master or be mastered; while to show mercy was a weakness. mercy did not exist in the primordial life. It was misunderstood for fear, and such misunderstandings made for death. Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, was the law; and this mandate, down out of the depths of Time, he obeyed.
Jack London (The Call of the Wild)
our demons lose their power when we pull them out of the depths where they hide and look them in the face in broad daylight.
Isabel Allende (Maya's Notebook)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Anonymous (Holy Bible: King James Version)
So, imagine we’re all born with a set of feelings. Some are broader or deeper than others, but for everyone, there’s that ground floor, a bottom crust of the pie. That’s the maximum depth of feeling you’ve ever experienced. And then, the worst thing happens to you. The very worst thing that could have happened. The thing you had nightmares about as a child, and you thought, it’s all right because that thing will happen to me when I’m older and wiser, and I’ll have felt so many feelings by then that this one worst feeling, the worst possible feeling, won’t seem so terrible. “But it happens to you when you’re young. It happens when your brain isn’t even fully done cooking—when you’ve barely experienced anything, really. The worst thing is one of the first big things that ever happens to you in your life. It happens to you, and it goes all the way down to the bottom of what you know how to feel, and it rips it open and carves out this chasm down below to make room. And because you were so young, and because it was one of the first big things to happen in your life, you’ll always carry it inside you. Every time something terrible happens to you from then on, it doesn’t just stop at the bottom —it goes all the way down.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
You’re like a lighthouse shining beside the sea of humanity, motionless: all you can see is your own reflection in the water. You’re alone, so you think it’s a vast, magnificent panorama. You haven’t sounded the depths. You simply believe in the beauty of God’s creation. But I have spent all this time in the water, diving deep into the howling ocean of life, deeper than anyone. While you were admiring the surface, I saw the shipwrecks, the drowned bodies, the monsters of the deep
Alfred de Musset (Lorenzaccio)
No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s ALWAYS had EVERYTHING work out for them with ZERO struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.
Chris Hardwick
True beauty is a ray That springs from the sacred depths of the soul, and illuminates the body, just as life springs from the kernel of a stone and gives colour and scent to a flower.
Rumi
The Marquis De Sade said that the most important experiences a man can have are those that take him to the very limit; that is the only way we learn, because it requires all our courage. When a boss humiliates an employee, or a man humiliates his wife, he is merely being cowardly or taking his revenge on life, they are people who have never dared to look into the depths of their soul, never attempted to know the origin of that desire to unleash the wild beast, or to understand that sex, pain and love are all extreme experiences. Only those who know those frontiers know life; everything else is just passing the time, repeating the same tasks, growing old and dying without ever having discovered what we are doing here.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
They who reach down into the depths of life where, in the stillness, the voice of God is heard, have the stabilizing power which carries them poised and serene through the hurricane of difficulties.
Spencer W. Kimball
I feel as though I have lived many lives, experienced the heights and depths of each and like the waves of the ocean, never known rest. Throughout the years, I looked always for the unusual, for the wonderful, for the mysteries at the heart of life.
Leni Riefenstahl
Half of the time, the Holy Ghost tries to warn us about certain people that come into our life. The other half of the time he tries to tell us that the sick feeling we get in a situation is not the other person’s fault, rather it is our own hang-ups. A life filled with bias, hatred, judgment, insecurity, fear, delusion and self-righteousness can cloud the soul of anyone you meet. Our job is never to assume,instead it is to listen, communicate, ask questions then ask more, until we know the true depth of someone’s spirit.
Shannon L. Alder
I embrace my shadow self. Shadows give depth and dimension to my life. I believe in embracing my duality, in learning to let darkness and light, peacefully co-exist, as illumination.
Jaeda DeWalt
The desert and the ocean are realms of desolation on the surface. The desert is a place of bones, where the innards are turned out, to desiccate into dust. The ocean is a place of skin, rich outer membranes hiding thick juicy insides, laden with the soup of being. Inside out and outside in. These are worlds of things that implode or explode, and the only catalyst that determines the direction of eco-movement is the balance of water. Both worlds are deceptive, dangerous. Both, seething with hidden life. The only veil that stands between perception of what is underneath the desolate surface is your courage. Dare to breach the surface and sink.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
You'll find as you go through life that great depth and smoldering sensuality don't always win.
Woody Allen
the depth of a person's character is not measured by his or her physical strength, but by the depth of his or her nobility.
Frank E. Peretti
A genuine odyssey is not about piling up experiences. It is a deeply felt, risky, unpredictable tour of the soul.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
We've forgotten much. How to struggle, how to rise to dizzy heights and sink to unparalleled depths. We no longer aspire to anything. Even the finer shades of despair are lost to us. We've ceased to be runners. We plod from structure to conveyance to employment and back again. We live within the boundaries that science has determined for us. The measuring stick is short and sweet. The full gamut of life is a brief, shadowy continuum that runs from gray to more gray. The rainbow is bleached. We hardly know how to doubt anymore. (“The Thing”)
Richard Matheson (Collected Stories, Vol. 1)
It was lunacy, this idea, that I could sleep myself into a new life. Preposterous. But there I was, approaching the depths of my journey
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
Happy people know suffering more than anyone else, and that’s how they can see just how damn beautiful their lives are. It’s because they’ve seen the depths.
Brianna Wiest
He must master or be mastered; while to show mecy was a weakness. Mercy did not exist in the primordial life. It was misunderstood for fear, and such misunderstandings made for death. Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, was the law; and this mandate, down out of the depths of Time, he obeyed.
Jack London (The Call of the Wild)
When you find a writer who really is saying something to you, read everything that writer has written and you will get more education and depth of understanding out of that than reading a scrap here and a scrap there and elsewhere. Then go to people who influenced that writer, or those who were related to him, and your world builds together in an organic way that is really marvelous.
Joseph Campbell (The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life & Work (Works))
Nina had grieved for her loss of power, for the connection she’d felt to the living world. She’d resented this shadow gift. It had seemed like a sham, a punishment. But just as surely as life connected everything, so did death. It was that endless, fast-running river. She’d dipped her fingers into its current, held the eddy of its power in her hand. She was the Queen of Mourning, and in its depths, she would never drown.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
The most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the Cross of Jesus. The greatest psychological insight, ability, and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is. Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of man. And so it also does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness. Only the Christian knows this. In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner. The psychiatrist must first search my heart and yet he never plumbs its ultimate depth. The Christian brother knows when I come to him: here is a sinner like myself, a godless man who wants to confess and yearns for God’s forgiveness. The psychiatrist views me as if there were no God. The brother views me as I am before the judging and merciful God in the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community)
Are you quite finished?" Henry says, sounding strangled. "Can you perhaps stop putting your sodding life in danger now?" "Aw, you do care," Alex says. "I'm learning all your hidden depths today, sweetheart." Henry exhales and slumps off him. "I can't believe even mortal peril will not prevent you from being the way you are.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
The real wonders of life lie in the depths. Exploring the depths for truths is the real wonder which the child and the artist know: magic and power lie in truth.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947)
Some people in your life Touch you so very deeply That you drown totally in that depth.
Amit Abraham
Does the night ever tire of the darkness? Does the sea ever tire of her own depths? Do the trees ever tire of their roots? Do mortals ever tire of looking for other mortals to call home?
Nikita Gill (Great Goddesses: Life Lessons From Myths and Monsters)
And although it might be best of all to be Socrates satisfied, having both happiness and depth, we would give up some happiness in order to gain the depth.
Robert Nozick (The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations)
The clock holds me nowhere. Nowhere. Nowhere. There is nothing else but now and the shifting depth of the night. I sit at a table alone smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee and listening and surviving. I should not be here or anywhere. I should not be breathing or taking space. I should not have been given this moment or anything else. I should not have this opportunity again to live. I do not deserve it or deserve anything yet it is here and I am here and I Have it all of it still. I won't have it again. This moment or this chance they are the same and they are mine if I choose them and I do. I want them. Now and as long as I can have them they are both precious and fleeting and gone in the blink of an eye don't waste them. A moment and an opportunity and a life, all in the unseen tick of a clock holding me nowhere. My heart is beating. The walls are pale and quiet. I am surviving.
James Frey (A Million Little Pieces)
There isn’t any particular relationship between the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
The Indian Summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone, but never hustled.
Henry Adams
[F]or contemporary judgment does not recognize that much depth of soul is needed to light up the picture drawn from contemptible life and elevate it into a pearl of creation...
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
Never be content with your current grasp of the gospel. The gospel is the life-permeating, world-altering, universe-changing truth. It has more facets than a diamond. It's depths man will never exhaust.
C.J. Mahaney
To grow in your passion for what Jesus has done, increase your understanding of what He has done. Never be content with your grasp of the gospel. The gospel is life-permeating, world-altering, universe-changing truth. It has more facets than any diamond. Its depths man will never exhaust.
C.J. Mahaney (The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing)
Your value lies not in status or title, but in the roots of your character and depth of your compassion.
Mollie Marti
Dance as the narration of a magical story; that recites on lips, illuminates imaginations and embraces the most sacred depths of souls.
Shah Asad Rizvi
What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation. When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.
John O'Donohue (Beauty: The Invisible Embrace)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future nor any powers neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38
Anonymous (Holy Bible: King James Version)
It is not the length of life that matters. It’s the depth. But while burrowing, keep the sun above you.
Matt Haig (The Humans)
Socrates and Jesus, two teachers of virtue and love, were executed because of the unsettling, threatening power of their souls, which was revealed in their personal lives and in their words.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
The universe will never be extinguished because just when the darkness seems to have smothered all, to be truly transcendent, the new seeds of light are reborn in the very depths. That is the Way. When the seed falls, it falls into the earth, into the soil. And beneath, out of sight, it comes to life.
Philip K. Dick (The Man in the High Castle)
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
Wayne W. Dyer (I Can See Clearly Now)
The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of postponement, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters. meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947)
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it! Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is referable to this. No more can I turn the leaves of this dear book that I loved, and vainly hope in time to read it all. No more can I look into the depths of this unfathomable water, wherein, as momentary lights glanced into it, I have had glimpses of buried treasure and other things submerged. It was appointed that the book should shut with a a spring, for ever and for ever, when I had read but a page. It was appointed that the water should be locked in an eternal frost, when the light was playing on its surface, and I stood in ignorance on the shore. My friend is dead, my neighbour is dead, my love, the darling of my soul, is dead; it is the inexorable consolidation and perpetuation of the secret that was always in that individuality, and which I shall carry in mine to my life's end. In any of the burial-places of this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to them?
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
If you wear black, then kindly, irritating strangers will touch your arm consolingly and inform you that the world keeps on turning. They're right. It does. However much you beg it to stop. It turns and lets grenadine spill over the horizon, sends hard bars of gold through my window and I wake up and feel happy for three seconds and then I remember. It turns and tips people out of their beds and into their cars, their offices, an avalanche of tiny men and women tumbling through life... All trying not to think about what's waiting at the bottom. Sometimes it turns and sends us reeling into each other's arms. We cling tight, excited and laughing, strangers thrown together on a moving funhouse floor. Intoxicated by the motion we forget all the risks. And then the world turns... And somebody falls off... And oh God it's such a long way down. Numb with shock, we can only stand and watch as they fall away from us, gradually getting smaller... Receding in our memories until they're no longer visible. We gather in cemeteries, tense and silent as if for listening for the impact; the splash of a pebble dropped into a dark well, trying to measure its depth. Trying to measure how far we have to fall. No impact comes; no splash. The moment passes. The world turns and we turn away, getting on with our lives... Wrapping ourselves in comforting banalities to keep us warm against the cold. "Time's a great healer." "At least it was quick." "The world keeps turning." Oh Alec— Alec's dead.
Alan Moore (Swamp Thing, Vol. 5: Earth to Earth)
It is absolutely necessary, for the peace and safety of mankind, that some of earth's dark, dead corners and unplumbed depths be left alone; lest sleeping abnormalities wake to resurgent life, and blasphemously surviving nightmares squirm and splash out of their black lairs to newer and wider conquests.
H.P. Lovecraft (At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror)
Baudelaire writes: In certain almost supernatural inner states, the depth of life is entirely revealed in the spectacle, however ordinary, that we have before our eyes, and which becomes the symbol of it." Here we have a passage that designates the phenomenological direction I myself pursue. The exterior spectacle helps intimate grandeur unfold.
Gaston Bachelard
If you are in the closet and fall in love with someone of the same gender, it doesn't automatically remove the shame and fear that's kept you locked away. The love you are experiencing encourages you to face the reality that this is who you really are and also has the power to set you free. The richness, beauty and depths of love can only be fully experienced in a climate of complete openness, honesty and vulnerability. Love, the most powerful of human emotions, is calling you to freedom and wholeness.
Anthony Venn-Brown OAM (A Life of Unlearning - a journey to find the truth)
Thus, in a middle course between these heights and depths, they drifted through life rather than lived, the prey of aimless days and sterile memories, like wandering shadows that could have acquired substance only by consenting to root themselves in the solid earth of their distress.
Albert Camus (The Plague)
If we come from the water, I conclude that we come from different kinds of it. I will meet a person and in his eyes see an ocean, deep and never ending; then I will meet another person and feel as though I have stepped into a shallow puddle on the street, there is nothing in it. Or maybe some of us come from the water, and some of us come from somewhere else; then it's all a matter of finding those who are the same as us.
C. JoyBell C.
All life is created in love, and thus in the depths of every human being lies a good heart. Some have lost their path from this love, so it up to us to show them the way.
Julia Butterfly Hill
I can worship Nature, and that fulfills my need for miracles and beauty. Art gives a spiritual depth to existence -- I can find worlds bigger and deeper than my own in music, paintings, and books. And from my friends and family I receive the highest benediction, emotional contact, and personal affirmation. I can bow before the works of Man, from buildings to babies, and that fulfills my need for wonder. I can believe in the sanctity of Life, and that becomes the Revealed Word, to live my life as I believe it should be, not as I'm told to by self-appointed guides.
Neil Peart (The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa)
We must go for walks out of doors, so that the mind can be strengthened and invigorated by a clear sky and plenty of fresh air. At times it will acquire fresh energy from a journey by carriage and a change of scene, or from socializing and drinking freely. Occasionally we should even come to the point of intoxication, sinking into drink but not being totally flooded by it; for it does wash away cares, and stirs the mind to its depths, and heals sorrow just as it heals certain diseases.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
There are those who do not hold that there is any innate goodness to mankind. To them I say, had you lived my life, you would not believe it. I have known the depths to which mortals are capable of descending, and I have seen the heights. I have seen how kindness and compassion may grow in the unlikeliest of places, as the mountain flower forces its way through the stern rock.
Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel's Dart (Phèdre's Trilogy, #1))
The depth of our compassion is proportional to the depth of our living. (65)
Jean-Yves Leloup (Compassion and Meditation: The Spiritual Dynamic between Buddhism and Christianity)
To the soul, memory is more important than planning, art more compelling than reason, and love more fulfilling than understanding.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
Soul is to be found in the vicinity of taboo.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
I create beautiful art, so I can look back on the life my body fell short of in such a way that it brings me peace.
Nikki Rowe
The beauty of the sea is that it never shows any weakness and never tires of the countless souls that unleash their broken voices into its secret depths.
Zeina Kassem (Crossing)
You are like an ocean: quietly ebbing and flowing to the rhythm of life, but wildly expansive and profoundly powerful. You are boundless. You are whole. Your quietness is your strength. Your depth is your advantage.
Aletheia Luna (Quiet Strength: Embracing, Empowering and Honoring Yourself as an Introvert)
How many times do we lose an occasion for soul work by leaping ahead to final solutions without pausing to savor the undertones? We are a radically bottom-line society, eager to act and to end tension, and thus we lose opportunities to know ourselves for our motives and our secrets.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
Each man's life represents a road toward himself, an attempt at such a road, the intimation of a path... But each of us - experiments of the depths - strives toward his own destiny. We can understand one another; but each of us is able to interpret himself to himself alone.
Hermann Hesse
She had spent all her life in feeling miserable; this misery was her native element; its fluctuations, its varying depths, alone save her the impression of moving and living. What bothers me is that a sense of misery, and nothing else, is not enough to make a permanent soul. My enormous and morose Mademoiselle is all right on earth but impossible in eternity.
Vladimir Nabokov (Speak, Memory)
Life has moments that feel as if the sun has blackened to tar and the entire world turned to ice.  It feels as if Hades and his vile demons have risen from the depths of Tartarus solely for the purpose of banding to personally torture you, and that their genuine intent of mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish is tearing you to shreds.  Your heart weighs as heavily as leaden legs which you would drag yourself forward with if not for the quicksand that pulls you down inch by inch, paralyzing your will and threatening oblivion.  And all the while fire and brimstone pour from the sky, pelting only you.   Truly, that is what it feels like. But that feeling is a trial that won't last forever.  Never give up.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, and Grumblings for Every Day of the Year)
And I was your moon because I shined brighter than any other star in your universe and you were my darkness. Without you I could not see the depth of my light and with you I could set the night a glow. So we needed one another—the dark and the light. Your fear. My courage. Connected, but separated. Different, but the same. A synergy that made no sense, but every bit of sense. We were neither a beginning, nor an end. We were somewhere in between our madness at sunset and the reality we awakened to with each sunrise. We were the ghosts of timing and fate. We were neither fantasy, nor reality--- we were a purpose somewhere in between.
Shannon L. Alder
Fireflies out on a warm summer's night, seeing the urgent, flashing, yellow-white phosphorescence below them, go crazy with desire; moths cast to the winds an enchantment potion that draws the opposite sex, wings beating hurriedly, from kilometers away; peacocks display a devastating corona of blue and green and the peahens are all aflutter; competing pollen grains extrude tiny tubes that race each other down the female flower's orifice to the waiting egg below; luminescent squid present rhapsodic light shows, altering the pattern, brightness and color radiated from their heads, tentacles, and eyeballs; a tapeworm diligently lays a hundred thousand fertilized eggs in a single day; a great whale rumbles through the ocean depths uttering plaintive cries that are understood hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, where another lonely behemoth is attentively listening; bacteria sidle up to one another and merge; cicadas chorus in a collective serenade of love; honeybee couples soar on matrimonial flights from which only one partner returns; male fish spray their spunk over a slimy clutch of eggs laid by God-knows-who; dogs, out cruising, sniff each other's nether parts, seeking erotic stimuli; flowers exude sultry perfumes and decorate their petals with garish ultraviolet advertisements for passing insects, birds, and bats; and men and women sing, dance, dress, adorn, paint, posture, self-mutilate, demand, coerce, dissemble, plead, succumb, and risk their lives. To say that love makes the world go around is to go too far. The Earth spins because it did so as it was formed and there has been nothing to stop it since. But the nearly maniacal devotion to sex and love by most of the plants, animals, and microbes with which we are familiar is a pervasive and striking aspect of life on Earth. It cries out for explanation. What is all this in aid of? What is the torrent of passion and obsession about? Why will organisms go without sleep, without food, gladly put themselves in mortal danger for sex? ... For more than half the history of life on Earth organisms seem to have done perfectly well without it. What good is sex?... Through 4 billion years of natural selection, instructions have been honed and fine-tuned...sequences of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts, manuals written out in the alphabet of life in competition with other similar manuals published by other firms. The organisms become the means through which the instructions flow and copy themselves, by which new instructions are tried out, on which selection operates. 'The hen,' said Samuel Butler, 'is the egg's way of making another egg.' It is on this level that we must understand what sex is for. ... The sockeye salmon exhaust themselves swimming up the mighty Columbia River to spawn, heroically hurdling cataracts, in a single-minded effort that works to propagate their DNA sequences into future generation. The moment their work is done, they fall to pieces. Scales flake off, fins drop, and soon--often within hours of spawning--they are dead and becoming distinctly aromatic. They've served their purpose. Nature is unsentimental. Death is built in.
Carl Sagan (Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search For Who We Are)
In their choice of lovers both the male and the female reveal their essential nature. The type of human being we prefer reveals the contours of our heart. Love is an impulse which springs from the most profound depths of our beings, and upon reaching the visible surface of life carries with it an alluvium of shells and seaweed from the inner abyss. A skilled naturalist, by filing these materials, can reconstruct the oceanic depths from which they have been uprooted.
José Ortega y Gasset
There are more benefits to happiness. The power of happiness enables more success in marriages, added friendships, higher incomes, and better work performance. With more friends, happy people have a superior support system. They have an easier time navigating through life because their optimistic outlook eases pain, sadness, and grief. They smile more and engage in more in-depth and more meaningful conversations.
Robert Gill Jr. (Happiness Power: How to Unleash Your Power and Live a More Joyful Life)
As to when I shall visit civilization, it will not be soon, I think. I have not tired of the wilderness; rather I enjoy its beauty and the vagrant life I lead, more keenly all the time. I prefer the saddle to the streetcar and star-sprinkled sky to a roof, the obscure and difficult trail, leading into the unknown, to any paved highway, and the deep peace of the wild to the discontent bred by cities. Do you blame me then for staying here, where I feel that I belong and am one with the world around me? It is true that I miss intelligent companionship, but there are so few with whom I can share the things that mean so much to me that I have learned to contain myself. It is enough that I am surrounded with beauty.... Even from your scant description, I know that I could not bear the routine and humdrum of the life that you are forced to lead. I don't think I could ever settle down. I have known too much of the depths of life already, and I would prefer anything to an anticlimax.
Everett Ruess
I have a fear of living a surface kind of life; barely existing, barely touching or tasting anything. That's why you'll always see me giving my all or walking away ~ I'm too full of depth to dance in the middle of anything.
Nikki Rowe
When we relate to our bodies as having soul, we attend to their beauty, their poetry and their expressiveness. Our very habit of treating the body as a machine, whose muscles are like pulleys and its organs engines, forces its poetry underground, so that we experience the body as an instrument and see its poetics only in illness.
Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life)
The narc has been living in denial of their humanity and normal vulnerable feelings for so long there is an entire life time of unexpressed, repressed emotions rotting in the depths of their psyche. This is why they cannot stand to be alone. In that stillness they start to notice the stink coming up from the basement.
Richard Grannon (How to Take Revenge on a Narcissist: Take your power back by using the secret techniques of emotional manipulators – against them)
The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one's relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life.
Hugh Walpole
Her heart swelled with the high holiness of it all. Imminence was all around. She was both warrior and shining spear. She was a sword glinting in the depths of night, a lance of light piercing the darkness. There would be no mistakes this time.
Kate Atkinson (Life After Life (Todd Family, #1))
You see, I want a lot. Maybe I want it all: the darkness of each endless fall, the shimmering light of each ascent. So many are alive who don't seem to care. Casual, easy, they move in the world as though untouched. But you take pleasure in the faces of those who know they thirst. You cherish those who grip you for survival. You are not dead yet, it's not too late to open your depths by plunging into them and drink in the life that reveals itself quietly there.
Rainer Maria Rilke
You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words “compelle intrare,” compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.
C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life)
I know what it's like. I've seen it played out a zillion times. You're waiting for that magical day when someone makes the connection and recognizes who you really are. Maybe they'll first catch the sparkle in your eye. Or perhaps they'll marvel at your insights and the depth of your spirit. Someone who will help you connect the dots, believe in yourself, and make sense of it all. Someone who will understand you, approve of you, and unhesitatingly give you a leg up so that life can pluck your ready, ripened self from the branch of magnificence. Well, I'm here to tell you, your wait is over. That someone, is you.
Mike Dooley
The moon went slowly down in loveliness; she departed into the depth of the horizon, and long veil-like shadows crept up the sky through which the stars appeared. Soon, however, they too began to pale before a splendour in the east, and the advent of the dawn declared itself in the newborn blue of heaven. Quieter and yet more quiet grew the sea, quiet as the soft mist that brooded on her bosom, and covered up her troubling, as in our tempestuous life the transitory wreaths of sleep brook upon a pain-racked soul, causing it to forget its sorrow. From the east to the west sped those angels of the Dawn, from sea to sea, from mountain-top to mountain-top, scattering light from breast and wing. On they sped out of the darkness, perfect, glorious; on, over the quiet sea, over the low coast-line, and the swamps beyond, and the mountains above them; over those who slept in peace and those who woke in sorrow; over the evil and the good; over the living and the dead; over the wide world and all that breathes or as breathed thereon.
H. Rider Haggard (She: A History of Adventure (She, #1))
Now you are walking in Paris all alone in the crowd As herds of bellowing buses drive by Love's anguish tightens your throat As if you were never to be loved again If you lived in the old days you would enter a monastery You are ashamed when you discover yourself reciting a prayer You make fun of yourself and like the fire of Hell your laughter crackles The sparks of your laugh gild the depths of your life It's a painting hanging in a dark museum And sometimes you go and look at it close up
Guillaume Apollinaire (Zone)
the fairy tale stirs and troubles him (to his life-long enrichment) with the dim sense of something beyond his reach and, far from dulling or emptying the actual world, gives it a new dimension of depth. He does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: The reading makes all real woods a little enchanted.
C.S. Lewis (Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories)
I have come to think that life is a far more limited thing than those in the midst of its maelstorm realize. That light shines into the act of life for only the briefest moment-perhaps only a matter of seconds. Once it is gone and failed to grasp its offered revelation, there is no second chance. One may have to live the rest of one's life in hopeless depth of loneliness and remorse. In that twilight world, one can no longer look forward to anything. All that such a person holds in his hands is the withered corpse of what should have been.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
Culture is an elevated expression of the inner voice which the different peoples of the Earth have heard in the depths of their being, a voice which conveys the vibrant compassion and wisdom of the cosmic life. For different cultures to engage in interaction is to catalyze each other's souls and foster mutual understanding.
Daisaku Ikeda
There is so much power in choosing to love yourself against all odds and I hope with every kind of painful experience you become more aware who you are and what you are truly capable of. Life hurts but it's also remarkabley beautiful if you look past the chaos.
Nikki Rowe
Perhaps it is not such a bad marriage after all? There are innumerable marriages where two people, both twisted and wrong in their depths, are well matched, making each other miserable in the way they need, in the way the pattern of their life demands.
Doris Lessing (The Grass Is Singing)
It is true that I can trip over anything and nothing – a speck of dust, a patch of sunlight, an idea. I move through life like a person with one eye, through a landscape that looks flat, but is really tricked out with hidden depths and shallows. It didn’t use to be so, but no matter. I navigate the world well enough in my own way.
Franny Billingsley (The Folk Keeper)
Because I was dying.   And Warner could’ve let me die. He was angry and hurt and had every reason to be bitter. I’d just ripped his heart out; I’d let him believe something would come of our relationship. I let him confess the depth of his feelings to me; I let him touch me in ways even Adam hadn't. I didn't ask him to stop.   Every inch of me was saying yes.   And then I took it all back. Because I was scared, and confused, and conflicted. Because of Adam.   Warner told me he loved me, and in return I insulted him and lied to him and yelled at him and pushed him away. And when he had the chance to stand back and watch me die, he didn’t.   He found a way to save my life.   With no demands. No expectations. Believing full well that I was in love with someone else, and that saving my life meant making me whole again only to give me back to another guy.   And right now, I can’t say I know what Adam would do if I were dying in front of him. I’m not sure if he would save my life. And that uncertainty alone makes me certain that something wasn't right between us.
Tahereh Mafi
I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.
Carl Sagan
A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life. I think ritual is terribly important.
Joseph Campbell
Algebra applies to the clouds, the radiance of the star benefits the rose--no thinker would dare to say that the perfume of the hawthorn is useless to the constellations. Who could ever calculate the path of a molecule? How do we know that the creations of worlds are not determined by falling grains of sand? Who can understand the reciprocal ebb and flow of the infinitely great and the infinitely small, the echoing of causes in the abyss of being and the avalanches of creation? A mite has value; the small is great, the great is small. All is balanced in necessity; frightening vision for the mind. There are marvelous relations between beings and things, in this inexhaustible whole, from sun to grub, there is no scorn, each needs the other. Light does not carry terrestrial perfumes into the azure depths without knowing what it does with them; night distributes the stellar essence to the sleeping plants. Every bird that flies has the thread of the infinite in its claw. Germination includes the hatching of a meteor and the tap of a swallow's beak breaking the egg, and it guides the birth of the earthworm, and the advent of Socrates. Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has a greater view? Choose. A bit of mold is a pleiad of flowers; a nebula is an anthill of stars. The same promiscuity, and still more wonderful, between the things of the intellect and material things. Elements and principles are mingled, combined, espoused, multiplied one by another, to the point that the material world, and the moral world are brought into the same light. Phenomena are perpetually folded back on themselves. In the vast cosmic changes, universal life comes and goes in unknown quantities, rolling everything up in the invisible mystery of the emanations, using everything, losing no dream from any single sleep, sowing a microscopic animal here, crumbling a star there, oscillating and gyrating, making a force of light, and an element of thought, disseminated and indivisible dissolving all, that geometric point, the self; reducing everything to the soul-atom; making everything blossom into God; entangling from the highest to the lowest, all activities in the obscurity of a dizzying mechanism, linking the flight of an insect to the movement of the earth, subordinating--who knows, if only by the identity of the law--the evolutions of the comet in the firmament to the circling of the protozoa in the drop of water. A machine made of mind. Enormous gearing, whose first motor is the gnat, and whose last is the zodiac.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
I did not know I was on a search for passionate aliveness. I only knew I was lonely and lost and that something was drawing me deeper beneath the surface of my life in search of meaning. There is a hunger in people to go to those deep depths; to know that our lives are sacred; that our hearts are truly capable of love. It is a yearning to be all the we can be. A longing for what is real.
Anne Hillman (The Dancing Animal Woman)
Perhaps there is more understanding and beauty in life when the glaring sunlight is softened by the patterns of shadows. Perhaps there is more depth in a relationship that has weathered some storms. Experience that never disappoints or saddens or stirs up feeling is a bland experience with little challenge or variation of color. Perhaps it's when we experience confidence and faith and hope that we see materialize before our eyes this builds up within us a feeling of inner strength, courage, and security. We are all personalities that grow and develop as a result of our experiences, relationships, thoughts, and emotions. We are the sum total of all the parts that go into the making of a life.
Virginia M. Axline (Dibs in Search of Self)
Every man who has reached even his intellectual teens begins to suspect that life is no farce; that it is not genteel comedy even; that it flowers and fructifies on the contrary out of the profoundest tragic depths of the essential dearth in which its subject's roots are plunged. The natural inheritance of everyone who is capable of spiritual life is an unsubdued forest where the wolf howls and the obscene bird of night chatters.
Henry James Sr.
For a man who finds life tolerable only by staying on the surface of himself, it is natural to be satisfied with offering no more than his surface to others. There are few demands to be met, and no commitment is required. Marriage, on the other hand, closes the door. Your existence is confined to a narrow space in which you are constantly forced to reveal yourself – and therefore, constantly obliged to look into yourself, to examine your own depths.
Paul Auster (The Invention of Solitude)
How are you coming with your home library? Do you need some good ammunition on why it's so important to read? The last time I checked the statistics...I think they indicated that only four percent of the adults in this country have bought a book within the past year. That's dangerous. It's extremely important that we keep ourselves in the top five or six percent. In one of the Monthly Letters from the Royal Bank of Canada it was pointed out that reading good books is not something to be indulged in as a luxury. It is a necessity for anyone who intends to give his life and work a touch of quality. The most real wealth is not what we put into our piggy banks but what we develop in our heads. Books instruct us without anger, threats and harsh discipline. They do not sneer at our ignorance or grumble at our mistakes. They ask only that we spend some time in the company of greatness so that we may absorb some of its attributes. You do not read a book for the book's sake, but for your own. You may read because in your high-pressure life, studded with problems and emergencies, you need periods of relief and yet recognize that peace of mind does not mean numbness of mind. You may read because you never had an opportunity to go to college, and books give you a chance to get something you missed. You may read because your job is routine, and books give you a feeling of depth in life. You may read because you did go to college. You may read because you see social, economic and philosophical problems which need solution, and you believe that the best thinking of all past ages may be useful in your age, too. You may read because you are tired of the shallowness of contemporary life, bored by the current conversational commonplaces, and wearied of shop talk and gossip about people. Whatever your dominant personal reason, you will find that reading gives knowledge, creative power, satisfaction and relaxation. It cultivates your mind by calling its faculties into exercise. Books are a source of pleasure - the purest and the most lasting. They enhance your sensation of the interestingness of life. Reading them is not a violent pleasure like the gross enjoyment of an uncultivated mind, but a subtle delight. Reading dispels prejudices which hem our minds within narrow spaces. One of the things that will surprise you as you read good books from all over the world and from all times of man is that human nature is much the same today as it has been ever since writing began to tell us about it. Some people act as if it were demeaning to their manhood to wish to be well-read but you can no more be a healthy person mentally without reading substantial books than you can be a vigorous person physically without eating solid food. Books should be chosen, not for their freedom from evil, but for their possession of good. Dr. Johnson said: "Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both.
Earl Nightingale
I don't even know what this is, Kenji." I meet his eyes. "That's the problem. I don't know ho to explain it, and I'm not sure I understand the depth of it yet. All I know is that whatever this is, I never felt it with Adam." Kenji's eyes pull together, surprised and scared. He says nothing for a second. Blows out a breath. "Seriously?" I nod. "Seriously, seriously?" "Yeah," I say. "I feel so... light. Like I could just... I don't know..." I trail off. "It's like I feel like, for the first time in my life, I'm going to be okay. Like I'm going to be strong.
Tahereh Mafi (Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3))
Love is a devoted madness while marriage is a responsibility. But then it is possible to be devotedly mad and responsible at the same time, yes it is. And so this is how we should begin to see marriage: as it is, for what it is! Marriage needs to cease being an eternal ideal with the predestined ending of death! We must allow it to be and to appear as what it is! Perhaps if we approach marriage with eyes open to the reality of the nature of it, we will stop failing at it! We fail at it because we think of it as something it is not! We are romanced by an ideal that is not in touch with reality and that's why when we begin to discover the reality of it, we see ourselves as failures! It is a wild and blessed thing to want to spend the rest of your adult life with one person, growing and changing together, while stepping deeper into the depths of love; notwithstanding, we must understand that we may not get it "right" the first time.
C. JoyBell C.
And when you realize that their activities are shabby, that their vocations are petrified and no longer connected with life, why not then continue to look upon it all as a child would, as if you were looking at something unfamiliar, out of the depths of your own solitude, which is itself work and status and vocation? Why should you want to give up a child’s wise not-understanding in exchange for a defensiveness and scorn, since not-understanding is, after all, a way of being alone, whereas defensiveness and scorn are participation in precisely what, by these means, you want to separate yourself from.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
I'm afraid to write. It's so dangerous. Anyone who's tried, knows. The danger of stirring up hidden things - and the world is not on the surface, it's hidden in its roots submerged in the depths of the sea. In order to write I must place myself in the void. In this void is where I exist intuitively. But it's a terribly dangerous void: it's where I wring out blood. I'm a writer who fears the snare of words: the words I say hide others - Which? maybe I'll say them. Writing is a stone cast down a deep well.
Clarice Lispector (A Breath of Life)
who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of man, and His compulsion is our liberation.
C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life)
There are no telegraphs on Tralfamadore. But you're right: each clump of symbols is a brief, urgent message-- describing a situation, a scene. We Tralfamadorians read them all at once, not one after the other. There isn't any particular relationship between all the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
There are two visions of America a half century from now. One is of a society more divided between the haves and the have-nots, a country in which the rich live in gated communities, send their children to expensive schools, and have access to first-rate medical care. Meanwhile, the rest live in a world marked by insecurity, at best mediocre education, and in effect rationed health care―they hope and pray they don't get seriously sick. At the bottom are millions of young people alienated and without hope. I have seen that picture in many developing countries; economists have given it a name, a dual economy, two societies living side by side, but hardly knowing each other, hardly imagining what life is like for the other. Whether we will fall to the depths of some countries, where the gates grow higher and the societies split farther and farther apart, I do not know. It is, however, the nightmare towards which we are slowly marching.
Joseph E. Stiglitz (The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future)
At such moments the collapse of their courage, willpower, and endurance was so abrupt that they felt they could never drag themselves out of the pit of despond into which they had fallen. Therefore they forced themselves never to think about the problematic day of escape, to cease looking to the future, and always to keep, so to speak, their eyes fixed on the ground at their feet. But, naturally enough, this prudence, this habit of feinting with their predicament and refusing to put up a fight, was ill rewarded. For, while averting that revulsion which they found so unbearable, they also deprived themselves of those redeeming moments, frequent enough when all is told, when by conjuring up pictures of a reunion to be, they could forget about the plague. Thus, in a middle course between these heights and depths, they drifted through life rather than lived, the prey of aimless days and sterile memories, like wandering shadows that could have acquired substance only by consenting to root themselves in the solid earth of their distress.
Albert Camus (The Plague)
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep lowing concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
Jefferson Bethke (Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough)
I hoped he'd take his dog and drive down to the ocean. I hoped there was still time. I pictured him sitting on the gray rocks with the waves crashing and spraying white foam. Maybe he'd hear something in the roar of the ocean, feel some limitless power, believe that there's something greater. Something more. Maybe his heaven was at the coast, with a dog's head in his lap, with nothing but water and depth from there to the horizon." -Delaney
Megan Miranda (Fracture (Fracture, #1))
Life is fury, he'd thought. Fury — sexual, Oedipal, political, magical, brutal — drives us to our finest heights and coarsest depths. Out of furia comes creation, inspiration, originality, passion, but also violence, pain, pure unafraid destruction, the giving and receiving of blows from which we never recover. The Furies pursue us; Shiva dances his furious dance to create and also to destroy. But never mind about gods! Sara ranting at him represented the human spirit in its purest, least socialized form. This is what we are, what we civilize ourselves to disguise — the terrifying human animal in us, the exalted, transcendent, self-destructive, untramelled lord of creation.
Salman Rushdie (Fury)
I call it Joy. 'Animal-Land' was not imaginative. But certain other experiences were... The first is itself the memory of a memory. As I stood beside a flowering currant bush on a summer day there suddenly arose in me without warning, and as if from a depth not of years but of centuries, the memory of that earlier morning at the Old House when my brother had brought his toy garden into the nursery. It is difficult or find words strong enough for the sensation which came over me; Milton's 'enormous bliss' of Eden (giving the full, ancient meaning to 'enormous') comes somewhere near it. It was a sensation, of course, of desire; but desire for what?...Before I knew what I desired, the desire itself was gone, the whole glimpse... withdrawn, the world turned commonplace again, or only stirred by a longing for the longing that had just ceased... In a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else... The quality common to the three experiences... is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again... I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and Pleasure often is.
C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life)
ive lived so long a person, they tamed me to be, I spoke with care & held back the real, me. But the time has come, My voice will be heard. My messages are clear & I'm not the same girl. I am wild, my heart is rare I am untameable and I dont fuckin' care Life is too short, to live for another, I've faced the rain, storms and thunder And if there's one thing, I have kept in my mind It's i am, who I am and I don't give a damn if you don't like.
Nikki Rowe
You are not always right. It’s not always about being right. The best thing you can offer others is understanding. Being an active listener is about more than just listening, it is about reciprocating and being receptive to somebody else. Everybody has woes. Nobody is safe from pain. However, we all suffer in different ways. So learn to adapt to each person, know your audience and reserve yourself for people who have earned the depths of you
Mohadesa Najumi
I say no wealth is worth my life! Not all they claim was stored in the depths of Troy, that city built on riches, in the old days of peace before the sons of Achaea came- not all the gold held fast in the Archer's rocky vaults, in Phoebus Apollo's house on Pytho's sheer cliffs! Cattle and fat sheep can all be had for the raiding, tripods all for the trading, and tawny-headed stallions. But a man's life breath cannot come back again- no raiders in force, no trading brings it back, once it slips through a man's clenched teeth. Mother tells me, the immortal goddess Thetis with her glistening feet, that two fates bear me on to the day of death. If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, my pride, my glory dies... true, but the life that's left me will be long, the stroke of death will not come on me quickly.
Homer (The Iliad)
Life is full of crises, we all know that. It's how we learn, how we grow. They help form character, mould the man (or woman), as it were. As an opposite to good times, they even help us appreciate life a little more; and a person without strife is a person without passion, for trauma both tests and strengthens moral fibre, becomes a measure of human depth. There is no adversity on this earth that cannot be overcome with fortitude and positive will.
James Herbert (Creed)
Water beneath me, water above me, water in me--I was water. How appropriate that the one definition of the Japanese character for my name was "rain." I, too, was precious and copious, inoffensive and deadly, silent and raucous, joyous and despicable, live-giving and corrosive, pure and grasping, patient and insidious, musical and off-key--but more than any of that, and beyond all those things, I was invulnerable. ...From the heights and depths of my diluvian life, I knew that I was rain and rain was rapture. Some realised it would be best to accept me, let me overwhelm them, let me be who I was. There was no greater luxury than to fall to earth, in sprinkles or in buckets, lashing faces and drenching countryside, swelling sources and overflowing rivers, spoiling weddings and consecrating burials, the blesssing and curse of the skies. My rainy childhood thrived in Japan like a fish in water. Tired of my unending passion for my element, Nishio-san would finally call to me, "Out of the lake! You'll dissolve!" Too late. I had dissolved long before.
Amélie Nothomb
As Michael pondered how shallow he had been, he was struck by another thought. It wasn't simply that he hadn't gone deep enough. It was rather that he had grown accustomed to wading in pools that had no depth to begin with. A turn toward holiness would be a turn toward a different life altogether - to a life where different things mattered than had mattered in the past. Did he desire such a life? He knew that of all the questions, this was the most important.
James L. Ferrell (The Holy Secret)
Now to sum it up,' said Bernard. 'Now to explain to you the meaning of my life. Since we do not know each other (though I met you once I think, on board a ship going to Africa), we can talk freely. The illusion is upon me that something adheres for a moment, has roundness, weight, depth, is completed. This, for the moment, seems to be my life. If it were possible, I would hand it you entire. I would break it off as one breaks off a bunch of grapes. I would say, "Take it. This is my life.
Virginia Woolf (The Waves)
Never try to change the narrative structure of someone else's story, though you will certainly be tempted to, as you watch those poor souls in school, in life, heading unwittingly down dangerous tangents, fatal digressions from which they will unlikely be able to emerge. Resist the temptation. Spend your energies on your story. Reworking it. Making it better. Increasing the scale, the depth of content, the universal themes. And I don't care what those themes are- they're yours to uncover and stand behind-so long as, at the very least, there is courage.
Marisha Pessl (Special Topics in Calamity Physics)
It is the poet and philosopher who provide the community of objectives in which the artist participates. Their chief preoccupation, like the artist, is the expression in concrete form of their notions of reality. Like him, they deal with the verities of time and space, life and death, and the heights of exaltation as well as the depths of despair. The preoccupation with these eternal problems creates a common ground which transcends the disparity in the means used to achieve them.
Mark Rothko (The Artist's Reality: Philosophies of Art)
It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don't believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you'll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin's truly democratic constitution and Stalin's dictatorship. You chose Stalin's dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud's elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus' mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx's insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo's truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. 'Why so tragic?' you ask. 'Do you feel responsible for all evil?' With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn't perish, struck down by your smallness.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
When women read romance books, one of two things generally happen.” Mal ran a hand through his lovely locks. “They either want to discuss the book in great depth. And probably, life and your relationship. Now sometimes that’s okay. You reach a higher level of understanding with each other and shit. But sometimes it sucks, pure and simple. You wind up getting bitched at for days because of something the dude in the book did that makes you look bad. But if it’s an awesome book, however, a hot one? Well then … kinky fuckery like you wouldn’t believe, man. The ideas Pumpkin has gotten out of some of those books. Gold. I could never have talked her into trying half of that stuff.
Kylie Scott (Dirty (Dive Bar, #1))
It is a common belief that we breathe with our lungs alone, but in point of fact, the work of breathing is done by the whole body. The lungs play a passive role in the respiratory process. Their expansion is produced by an enlargement, mostly downward, of the thoracic cavity and they collapse when that cavity is reduced. Proper breathing involves the muscles of the head, neck, thorax, and abdomen. It can be shown that chronic tension in any part of the body's musculature interferes with the natural respiratory movements. Breathing is a rhythmic activity. Normally a person at rest makes approximately 16 to 17 respiratory incursions a minute. The rate is higher in infants and in states of excitation. It is lower in sleep and in depressed persons. The depth of the respiratory wave is another factor which varies with emotional states. Breathing becomes shallow when we are frightened or anxious. It deepens with relaxation, pleasure and sleep. But above all, it is the quality of the respiratory movements that determines whether breathing is pleasurable or not. With each breath a wave can be seen to ascend and descend through the body. The inspiratory wave begins deep in the abdomen with a backward movement of the pelvis. This allows the belly to expand outward. The wave then moves upward as the rest of the body expands. The head moves very slightly forward to suck in the air while the nostrils dilate or the mouth opens. The expiratory wave begins in the upper part of the body and moves downward: the head drops back, the chest and abdomen collapse, and the pelvis rocks forward. Breathing easily and fully is one of the basic pleasures of being alive. The pleasure is clearly experienced at the end of expiration when the descending wave fills the pelvis with a delicious sensation. In adults this sensation has a sexual quality, though it does not induce any genital feeling. The slight backward and forward movements of the pelvis, similar to the sexual movements, add to the pleasure. Though the rhythm of breathing is pronounced in the pelvic area, it is at the same time experienced by the total body as a feeling of fluidity, softness, lightness and excitement. The importance of breathing need hardly be stressed. It provides the oxygen for the metabolic processes; literally it supports the fires of life. But breath as "pneuma" is also the spirit or soul. We live in an ocean of air like fish in a body of water. By our breathing we are attuned to our atmosphere. If we inhibit our breathing we isolate ourselves from the medium in which we exist. In all Oriental and mystic philosophies, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss. That is why breathing is the dominant factor in the practice of Yoga.
Alexander Lowen (The Voice of the Body)
I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. I want to grow really old with my wife, Annie, whom I dearly love. I want to see my younger children grow up and to play a role in their character and intellectual development. I want to meet still unconceived grandchildren. There are scientific problems whose outcomes I long to witness—such as the exploration of many of the worlds in our Solar System and the search for life elsewhere. I want to learn how major trends in human history, both hopeful and worrisome, work themselves out: the dangers and promise of our technology, say; the emancipation of women; the growing political, economic, and technological ascendancy of China; interstellar flight. If there were life after death, I might, no matter when I die, satisfy most of these deep curiosities and longings. But if death is nothing more than an endless dreamless sleep, this is a forlorn hope. Maybe this perspective has given me a little extra motivation to stay alive. The world is so exquisite, with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better, it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look Death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.
Carl Sagan (Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium)
There is something in the depths of our being that hungers for wholeness and finality. Because we are made for eternal life, we are made for an act that gathers up all the powers and capacities of our being and offers them simultaneously and forever to God. The blind spiritual instinct that tells us obscurely that our owns lives have a particular importance and purpose, and which urges us to find out our vocation, seeks in so doing to bring us to a decision that will dedicate our lives irrevocably to their true purpose. The man who loses this sense of his own personal destiny, and who renounces all hope of having any kind of vocation in life has either lost all hope of happiness or else has entered upon some mysterious vocation that God alone can understand.
Thomas Merton (No Man Is an Island)
It is a great adventure to contemplate the universe, beyond man, to contemplate what it would be like without man, as it was in a great part of its long history and as it is in a great majority of places. When this objective view is finally attained, and the mystery and majesty of matter are fully appreciated, to then turn the objective eye back on man viewed as matter, to view life as part of this universal mystery of greatest depth, is to sense an experience which is very rare, and very exciting. It usually ends in laughter and a delight in the futility of trying to understand what this atom in the universe is, this thing—atoms with curiosity—that looks at itself and wonders why it wonders. Well, these scientific views end in awe and mystery, lost at the edge in uncertainty, but they appear to be so deep and so impressive that the theory that it is all arranged as a stage for God to watch man's struggle for good and evil seems inadequate. Some will tell me that I have just described a religious experience. Very well, you may call it what you will. Then, in that language I would say that the young man's religious experience is of such a kind that he finds the religion of his church inadequate to describe, to encompass that kind of experience. The God of the church isn't big enough.
Richard P. Feynman (The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist)
The spirit of the depths even taught me to consider my action and my decision as dependent on dreams. Dreams pave the way for life, and they determine you without you understanding their language. One would like to learn this language, but who can teach and learn it? Scholarliness alone is not enough; there is a knowledge of the heart that gives deeper insight. The knowledge of the heart is in no book and is not to be found in the mouth of any teacher, but grows out of you like the green seed from the dark earth. Scholarliness belongs to the spirit of this time, but this spirit in no way grasps the dream, since the soul is everywhere that scholarly knowledge is not.
C.G. Jung (The Red Book: Liber Novus)
I will not speak of him as if he were absent, he has not been and he will never be. These are not mere words of consolation. Only those of us who feel it truly and permanently in the depths of our souls can comprehend this. Physical life is ephemeral, it passes inexorably... This truth should be taught to every human being -- that the immortal values of the spirit are above physical life. What sense does life have without these values? What then is it to live? Those who understand this and generously sacrifice their physical life for the sake of good and justice -- how can they die? God is the supreme idea of goodness and justice.
Fidel Castro
It’s taboo to admit that you’re lonely. You can make jokes about it, of course. You can tell people that you spend most of your time with Netflix or that you haven’t left the house today and you might not even go outside tomorrow. Ha ha, funny. But rarely do you ever tell people about the true depths of your loneliness, about how you feel more and more alienated from your friends each passing day and you’re not sure how to fix it. It seems like everyone is just better at living than you are. A part of you knew this was going to happen. Growing up, you just had this feeling that you wouldn’t transition well to adult life, that you’d fall right through the cracks. And look at you now. La di da, it’s happening. Your mother, your father, your grandparents: they all look at you like you’re some prized jewel and they tell you over and over again just how lucky you are to be young and have your whole life ahead of you. “Getting old ain’t for sissies,” your father tells you wearily. You wish they’d stop saying these things to you because all it does is fill you with guilt and panic. All it does is remind you of how much you’re not taking advantage of your youth. You want to kiss all kinds of different people, you want to wake up in a stranger’s bed maybe once or twice just to see if it feels good to feel nothing, you want to have a group of friends that feels like a tribe, a bonafide family. You want to go from one place to the next constantly and have your weekends feel like one long epic day. You want to dance to stupid music in your stupid room and have a nice job that doesn’t get in the way of living your life too much. You want to be less scared, less anxious, and more willing. Because if you’re closed off now, you can only imagine what you’ll be like later. Every day you vow to change some aspect of your life and every day you fail. At this point, you’re starting to question your own power as a human being. As of right now, your fears have you beat. They’re the ones that are holding your twenties hostage. Stop thinking that everyone is having more sex than you, that everyone has more friends than you, that everyone out is having more fun than you. Not because it’s not true (it might be!) but because that kind of thinking leaves you frozen. You’ve already spent enough time feeling like you’re stuck, like you’re watching your life fall through you like a fast dissolve and you’re unable to hold on to anything. I don’t know if you ever get better. I don’t know if a person can just wake up one day and decide to be an active participant in their life. I’d like to think so. I’d like to think that people get better each and every day but that’s not really true. People get worse and it’s their stories that end up getting forgotten because we can’t stand an unhappy ending. The sick have to get better. Our normalcy depends upon it. You have to value yourself. You have to want great things for your life. This sort of shit doesn’t happen overnight but it can and will happen if you want it. Do you want it bad enough? Does the fear of being filled with regret in your thirties trump your fear of living today? We shall see.
Ryan O'Connell
So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You're an orphan right? [Will nods] Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some fuckin' book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting)
The idea of love walked along the water and her gaze was full of absence and her eyes spat lighting. The impressionable evening received by turns the imprints of grasses, clouds, bodies, and wore crazy astronomical designs. The idea of love walked straight ahead without seeing anything; she was wearing tiny isosceles mirrors whose perfect assemblage was amazing. They were so many images of fish tails, when, by their angelic nature, they answer the promise one might make of always finding each other again. Finding each other again even in the depths of a forest, where the thread of a star is an articulation more silent than life, the dawn a liquor stronger than blood. Who is lost, who truly wanders off when a cup of coffee is steaming in the fog and waiters dressed in snow circulate patiently on the surface of floors whose desired height can be indicated with one's hands? Who? A solitary man whom the idea of love has just left and who tucks in his spirit like an imaginary bed. The man falls all the same and in the next room, under the moon-white verandah, a woman rises whom the idea of love has abandoned. The gravel weeps outside, a rain of glass is falling in which we recognize small chains, tears in which we have time to see ourselves, mirror tears, shards of windows, singular crystals like the ones we witness in our hand on awakening, leaves and the faded petals of those roses that once embelished certain distillery bottles. It's just that the idea of love, it seems angry with love. This is how it began.
André Breton
In my experience - and this is a very awkward way to put it, since I don't really know what the word experience means - the strangest people in one's life are the people one has known and loved, still know and will always love. Here, both I and the vocabulary are both in trouble, for strangest does not imply stranger. A stranger is a stranger is a stranger, simply, and you watch the stranger to anticipate his next move. But the people who elicit from you a depth of attention and wonder which we helplessly call love are perpetually making moves which cannot possibly be anticipated. Eventually, you realize that it never occurred to you to anticipate their next move, not only because you couldn't but because you didn't have to: it was not a question of moving on the next move, but simply, of being present. Danger, true, you try to anticipate and you prepare yourself, without knowing it, to stand in the way of death. For the strangest people in the world are those people recognized, beneath one's senses, by one's soul - the people utterly indispensable for one's journey.
James Baldwin (Just Above My Head)
Last Will Prologue: We, Sacco and Vanzetti, sound of body and mind, Devise and bequeath to all we leave behind, The worldly wealth we inherited at our birth, Each one to share alike as we leave this earth. To Wit: To babies we will their mothers’ love, To youngsters we will the sun above. To spooners who wont to tryst the night, We give the moon and stars that shine so bright. To thrill them in their hours of joy, When boy hugs maid and maid hugs boy. To nature’s creatures we allot the spring and summer, To the doe, the bear, the gold-finch and the hummer. To the fishes we ascribe the deep blue sea, The honey we apportion to the bustling bee. To the pessimist—good cheer—his mind to sooth, To the chronic liar we donate the solemn truth. And Lastly: To those who judge solely seeking renown, With blaring trumpets of the fakir and clown; To the prosecutor, persecutor, and other human hounds, Who’d barter another’s honor, recognizing no bounds, To the Governor, the Jury, who another’s life they’d sell— We endow them with the fiery depths of HELL! (Industrial Worker, Aug. 20, 1927)
Nicola Sacco
Happy the writer who, passing by characters that are boring, disgusting, shocking in their mournful reality, approaches characters that manifest the lofty dignity of man, who from the great pool of daily whirling images has chosen only the rare exceptions, who has never once betrayed the exalted turning of his lyre, nor descended from his height to his poor, insignificant brethren, and, without touching the ground, has given the whole of himself to his elevated images so far removed from it. Twice enviable is his beautiful lot: he is among them as in his own family; and meanwhile his fame spreads loud and far. With entrancing smoke he has clouded people's eyes; he has flattered them wondrously, concealing what is mournful in life, showing them a beautiful man. Everything rushes after him, applauding, and flies off following his triumphal chariot. Great world poet they name him, soaring high above all other geniuses in the world, as the eagle soars above the other high fliers. At the mere mention of his name, young ardent hearts are filled with trembling, responsive tears shine in all eyes...No one equals him in power--he is God! But such is not the lot, and other is the destiny of the writer who has dared to call forth all that is before our eyes every moment and which our indifferent eyes do not see--all the stupendous mire of trivia in which our life in entangled, the whole depth of cold, fragmented, everyday characters that swarm over our often bitter and boring earthly path, and with the firm strength of his implacable chisel dares to present them roundly and vividly before the eyes of all people! It is not for him to win people's applause, not for him to behold the grateful tears and unanimous rapture of the souls he has stirred; no sixteen-year-old girl will come flying to meet him with her head in a whirl and heroic enthusiasm; it is not for him to forget himself in the sweet enchantment of sounds he himself has evoked; it is not for him, finally, to escape contemporary judgment, hypocritically callous contemporary judgment, which will call insignificant and mean the creations he has fostered, will allot him a contemptible corner in the ranks of writers who insult mankind, will ascribe to him the quality of the heroes he has portrayed, will deny him heart, and soul, and the divine flame of talent. For contemporary judgment does not recognize that equally wondrous are the glasses that observe the sun and those that look at the movement of inconspicuous insect; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that much depth of soul is needed to light up the picture drawn from contemptible life and elevate it into a pearl of creation; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that lofty ecstatic laughter is worthy to stand beside the lofty lyrical impulse, and that a whole abyss separates it from the antics of the street-fair clown! This contemporary judgment does not recognize; and will turn it all into a reproach and abuse of the unrecognized writer; with no sharing, no response, no sympathy, like a familyless wayfarer, he will be left alone in the middle of the road. Grim is his path, and bitterly he will feel his solitude.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
If our enemies take me And people stop talking to me, If they confiscate the whole world— The right to breathe, open doors, Affirm that existence shall go on And that people, like a judge, shall judge, And if they dare to keep me like an animal And fling my food on the floor, I won’t fall silent or deaden the agony, But shall write what I am free to write, My naked body gathering momentum like a bell, And in a corner of the ominous dark I shall yoke ten oxen to my voice And move my hand in the darkness like a plough And, wrung out into a legion of brotherly eyes, Shall fall with the full heaviness of a harvest, Exploding in the distance with all the force of a vow, And in the depths of the unguarded night The eyes of that unskilled laborer, earth, shall shine And a flock of flaming years swoop down, And like a ripe thunderstorm Lenin shall burst forth. But on this earth (which shall escape decay) There to wake up life and reason will be
Osip Mandelstam
How strange! This bed on which I shall lie has been slept on by more than one dying man, but today it does not repel me! Who knows what corpses have lain on it and for how long? But is a corpse any worse than I? A corpse too knows nothing of its father, mother or sisters or Titus. Nor has a corpse a sweetheart. A corpse, too, is pale, like me. A corpse is cold, just as I am cold and indifferent to everything. A corpse has ceased to live, and I too have had enough of life…. Why do we live on through this wretched life which only devours us and serves to turn us into corpses? The clocks in the Stuttgart belfries strike the midnight hour. Oh how many people have become corpses at this moment! Mothers have been torn from their children, children from their mothers - how many plans have come to nothing, how much sorrow has sprung from these depths, and how much relief!… Virtue and vice have come in the end to the same thing! It seems that to die is man’s finest action - and what might be his worst? To be born, since that is the exact opposite of his best deed. It is therefore right of me to be angry that I was ever born into this world! Why was I not prevented from remaining in a world where I am utterly useless? What good can my existence bring to anyone? … But wait, wait! What’s this? Tears? How long it is since they flowed! How is this, seeing that an arid melancholy has held me for so long in its grip? How good it feels - and sorrowful. Sad but kindly tears! What a strange emotion! Sad but blessed. It is not good for one to be sad, and yet how pleasant it is - a strange state…
Frédéric Chopin
He had been wont to despise emotions: girls were weak, emotions–tears– were weakness. But this morning he was thinking that being a great brain in a tower, nothing but brain, wouldn’t be much fun. No excitement, no dog to love, no joy in the blue sky– no feelings at all. But feelings– feelings are emotions! He was suddenly overwhelmed by the revelation that what makes life worth living is, precisely, the emotions. But then– this was awful!– maybe girls with their tears and laughter were getting more out of life. Shattering! He checked himself, showing one’s emotions was not the thing: having them was. Still, he was dizzy with the revelation. What is beauty but something is responded to with emotion? Courage, at least, is partly emotional. All the splendour of life. But if the best of life is, in fact, emotional, then one wanted the highest, the purest emotions: and that meant joy. Joy was the highest. How did one find joy? In books it was found in love– a great love… So if he wanted the heights of joy, he must have it, if he could find it, in great love. But in the books again, great joy through love always seemed go hand in hand with frightful pain. Still, he thought, looking out across the meadow, still, the joy would be worth the pain– if indeed, they went together. If there were a choice– and he suspected there was– a choice between, on the one hand, the hights and the depths and, on the other hand, some sort of safe, cautious middle way, he, for one, here and now chose the heights and the depths. Since then the years have gone by and he– had he not had what he chose that day in the meadow? He had had the love. And the joy– what joy it had been! And the sorrow. He had had– was having– all the sorrow there was. And yet, the joy was worth the pain. Even now he re-affirmed that long-past choice.
Sheldon Vanauken (A Severe Mercy: A Story of Faith, Tragedy and Triumph)
There are lots of things I don't understand - say, the latest debates over whether neutrinos have mass or the way that Fermat's last theorem was (apparently) proven recently. But from 50 years in this game, I have learned two things: (1) I can ask friends who work in these areas to explain it to me at a level that I can understand, and they can do so, without particular difficulty; (2) if I'm interested, I can proceed to learn more so that I will come to understand it. Now Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard, Kristeva, etc. -- even Foucault, whom I knew and liked, and who was somewhat different from the rest -- write things that I also don't understand, but (1) and (2) don't hold: no one who says they do understand can explain it to me and I haven't a clue as to how to proceed to overcome my failures. That leaves one of two possibilities: (a) some new advance in intellectual life has been made, perhaps some sudden genetic mutation, which has created a form of "theory" that is beyond quantum theory, topology, etc., in depth and profundity; or (b) ... I won't spell it out.
Noam Chomsky
We live in an extraordinary age. These are times of stunning changes in social organization, economic well-being, moral and ethical precepts, philosophical and religious perspectives, and human self-knowledge, as well as in our understanding of that vast universe in which we are imbedded like a grain of sand in a cosmic ocean. As long as there have been human beings, we have posed the deep and fundamental questions, which evoke wonder and stir us into at least a tentative and trembling awareness, questions on the origins of consciousness; life on our planet; the beginnings of the Earth; the formation of the Sun; the possibility of intelligent beings somewhere up there in the depths of the sky; as well as, the grandest inquiry of all - on the advent, nature and ultimate destiny of the universe. For all but the last instant of human history these issues have been the exclusive province of philosophers and poets, shamans and theologians. The diverse and mutually contradictory answers offered demonstrate that few of the proposed solutions have been correct. But today, as a result of knowledge painfully extracted from nature, through generations of careful thinking, observing, and experimenting, we are on the verge of glimpsing at least preliminary answers to many of these questions. ...If we do not destroy ourselves, most of us will be around for the answers. Had we been born fifty years earlier, we could have wondered, pondered, speculated about these issues, but we could have done nothing about them. Had we been born fifty years later, the answers would, I think, already have been in. Our children will have been taught the answers before most of them will have had the opportunity to even formulate the questions. By far the most exciting, satisfying and exhilarating time to be alive is the time in which we pass from ignorance to knowledge on these fundamental issues; the age where we begin in wonder and end in understanding. In all of the four-billion-year history of the human family, there is only one generation priveleged to live through that unique transitional moment: that generation is ours.
Carl Sagan
Woman's fear of the female Self, of the experience of the numinous archetypal Feminine, becomes comprehensible when we get a glimpse - or even only a hint – of the profound otherness of female selfhood as contrasted to male selfhood. Precisely that element which, in his fear of the Feminine, the male experiences as the hole, abyss, void, and nothingness turns into something positive for the woman without, however, losing these same characteristics. Here the archetypal Feminine is experienced not as illusion and as maya but rather as unfathomable reality and as life in which above and below, spiritual and physical, are not pitted against each other; reality as eternity is creative and, at the same time, is grounded in primeval nothingness. Hence as daughter the woman experiences herself as belonging to the female spiritual figure Sophia, the highest wisdom, while at the same time she is actualizing her connection with the musty, sultry, bloody depths of swamp-mother Earth. However, in this sort of Self-discovery woman necessarily comes to see herself as different from what presents itself to men -as, for example, spirit and father, but often also as the patriarchal godhead and his ethics. The basic phenomenon - that the human being is born of woman and reared by her during the crucial developmental phases - is expressed in woman as a sense of connectedness with all living things, a sense not yet sufficiently realized, and one that men, and especially the patriarchal male, absolutely lack to the extent women have it. To experience herself as so fundamentally different from the dominant patriarchal values understandably fills the woman with fear until she arrives at that point in her own development where, through experience and love that binds the opposites, she can clearly see the totality of humanity as a unity of masculine and feminine aspects of the Self.
Erich Neumann (The Fear of the Feminine and Other Essays on Feminine Psychology)
How we hate to admit that we would like nothing better than to be the slave! Slave and master at the same time! For even in love the slave is always the master in disguise. The man who must conquer the woman, subjugate her, bend her to his will, form her according to his desires—is he not the slave of his slave? How easy it is, in this relationship, for the woman to upset the balance of power! The mere threat of self-dependence, on the woman’s part, and the gallant despot is seized with vertigo. But if they are able to throw themselves at one another recklessly, concealing nothing, surrendering all, if they admit to one another their interdependence, do they not enjoy a great and unsuspected freedom? The man who admits to himself that he is a coward has made a step towards conquering his fear; but the man who frankly admits it to every one, who asks that you recognize it in him and make allowance for it in dealing with him, is on the way to becoming a hero. Such a man is often surprised, when the crucial test comes, to find that he knows no fear. Having lost the fear of regarding himself as a coward he is one no longer: only the demonstration is needed to prove the metamorphosis. It is the same in love. The man who admits not only to himself but to his fellowmen, and even to the woman he adores, that he can be twisted around a woman’s finger, that he is helpless where the other sex is concerned, usually discovers that he is the more powerful of the two. Nothing breaks a woman down more quickly than complete surrender. A woman is prepared to resist, to be laid siege to: she has been trained to behave that way. When she meets no resistance she falls headlong into the trap. To be able to give oneself wholly and completely is the greatest luxury that life affords. Real love only begins at this point of dissolution. The personal life is altogether based on dependence, mutual dependence. Society is the aggregate of persons all interdependent. There is another richer life beyond the pale of society, beyond the personal, but there is no knowing it, no attainment possible, without firs traveling the heights and depths of the personal jungle. To become the great lover, the magnetiser and catalyzer, the blinding focus and inspiration of the world, one has to first experience the profound wisdom of being an utter fool. The man whose greatness of heart leads him to folly and ruin is to a woman irresistible. To the woman who loves, that is to say. As to those who ask merely to be loved, who seek only their own reflection in the mirror, no love however great, will ever satisfy them. In a world so hungry for love it is no wonder that men and women are blinded by the glamour and glitter of their own reflected egos. No wonder that the revolver shot is the last summons. No wonder that the grinding wheels of the subway express, though they cut the body to pieces, fail to precipitate the elixir of love. In the egocentric prism the helpless victim is walled in by the very light which he refracts. The ego dies in its own glass cage…
Henry Miller (Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion, #1))
All the books were beginning to turn against me. Indeed, I must have been blind as a bat not to have seen it long before, the ludicrous contradiction between my theory of life and my actual experiences as a reader. George MacDonald had done more to me than any other writer; of course it was a pity that he had that bee in his bonnet about Christianity. He was good in spite of it. Chesterton has more sense than all the other moderns put together; bating, of course, his Christianity. Johnson was one of the few authors whom I felt I could trust utterly; curiously enough, he had the same kink. Spenser and Milton by a strange coincidence had it too. Even among ancient authors the same paradox was to be found. The most religious (Plato, Aeschylus, Virgil) were clearly those on whom I could really feed. On the other hand, those writers who did not suffer from religion and with whom in theory my sympathy ought to have been complete -- Shaw and Wells and Mill and Gibbon and Voltaire -- all seemed a little thin; what as boys we called "tinny". It wasn't that I didn't like them. They were all (especially Gibbon) entertaining; but hardly more. There seemed to be no depth in them. They were too simple. The roughness and density of life did not appear in their books.
C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life)
There is a theory that when a planet, like our earth for example, has manifested every form of life, when it has fulfilled itself to the point of exhaustion, it crumbles to bits and is dispersed like star dust throughout the universe. It does not roll on like a dead moon, but explodes, and in the space of a few minutes, there is not a trace of it visible in the heavens. In marine life we have a similar effect. it is called implosion. When an amphibian accustomed to the black depths rises above a certain level, when the pressure to which it adapts itself is lifted, the body bursts inwardly. Are we not familiar with this spectacle in the human being also? The norsemen who went berserk, the malay who runs amuck—are these not examples of implosion and explosion? When the cup is full it runs over. but when the cup and that which it contains are one substance, what then? There are moments when the elixir of life rises to such overbrimming splendor that the soul spills over. In the seraphic smile of the madonnas the soul is seen to flood the psyche. The moon of the face becomes full; the equation is perfect. A minute, a half minute, a second later, the miracle has passed. something intangible, something inexplicable, was given out—and received. In the life of a human being it may happen that the moon never comes to the full. In the life of some human beings it would seem, indeed, that the only mysterious phenomenon observable is that of perpetual eclipse. In the case of those afflicted with genius, whatever the form it may take, we are almost frightened to observe that there is nothing but a continuous waxing and waning of the moon. Rarer still are the anomalous ones who, having come to the full, are so terrified by the wonder of it that they spend the rest of their lives endeavoring to stifle that which gave them birth and being. The war of the mind is the story of the soul-split. When the moon was at full there were those who could not accept the dim death of diminution; they tried to hang full-blown in the zenith of their own heaven. They tried to arrest the action of the law which was manifesting itself through them, through their own birth and death, in fulfillment and transfiguration. Caught between the tides they were sundered; the soul departed the body, leaving the simulacrum of a divided self to fight it out in the mind. Blasted by their own radiance they live forever the futile quest of beauty, truth and harmony. Depossessed of their own effulgence they seek to possess the soul and spirit of those to whom they are attracted. They catch every beam of light; they reflect with every facet of their hungry being. instantly illumined, When the light is directed towards them, they are also speedily extinguished. The more intense the light which is cast upon them the more dazzling—and blinding—they appear. Especially dangerous are they to the radiant ones; it is always towards these bright and inexhaustible luminaries that they are most passionately drawn…
Henry Miller (Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion, #1))
My Sadness is Deeper than Yours My sadness is deeper than yours. My interior life is richer than yours. I am more interesting than you. I don’t care about anybody else’s problems. They are not as serious as mine. Nobody knows the weight I carry, the trouble I’ve seen. There are worlds in my head that nobody has access to: fortunately for them, fortunately for me. I have seen things that you will never see, and I have feelings that you are incapable of feeling, that you would never allow yourself to feel, because you lack the capacity and the curiosity. Once you felt the hint of such a feeling, you would stamp it out. I am a martyr to futility and I don’t expect to be shut down by a pretender. Mothballs are an aphrodisiac to me, beauty depresses me. You could never hope to fathom the depth of my feelings, deeper than death. I look down upon you all from my lofty height of lowliness. The fullness of your satisfaction lacks the cadaverous purity of my pain. Don’t talk to me about failure. You don’t know the meaning of the word. When it comes to failure, you’re strictly an amateur. Bush league stuff. I’m ten times the failure you’ll ever be. I have more to complain about than you, and regrets: more than a few, too many to mention. I am a fully-qualified failure, I have proven it over and over again. My credentials are impeccable, my resume flawless. I have worked hard to put myself in a position of unassailable wretchedness, and I demand to be respected for it. I expect to be rewarded for a struggle that produced nothing. I want the neglect, the lack of acknowledgment. And I want the bitterness that comes with it too.
John Tottenham
An attachment grew up. What is an attachment? It is the most difficult of all the human interrelationships to explain, because it is the vaguest, the most impalpable. It has all the good points of love, and none of its drawbacks. No jealousy, no quarrels, no greed to possess, no fear of losing possession, no hatred (which is very much a part of love), no surge of passion and no hangover afterward. It never reaches the heights, and it never reaches the depths. As a rule it comes on subtly. As theirs did. As a rule the two involved are not even aware of it at first. As they were not. As a rule it only becomes noticeable when it is interrupted in some way, or broken off by circumstances. As theirs was. In other words, its presence only becomes known in its absence. It is only missed after it stops. While it is still going on, little thought is given to it, because little thought needs to be. It is pleasant to meet, it is pleasant to be together. To put your shopping packages down on a little wire-backed chair at a little table at a sidewalk cafe, and sit down and have a vermouth with someone who has been waiting there for you. And will be waiting there again tomorrow afternoon. Same time, same table, same sidewalk cafe. Or to watch Italian youth going through the gyrations of the latest dance craze in some inexpensive indigenous night-place-while you, who come from the country where the dance originated, only get up to do a sedate fox trot. It is even pleasant to part, because this simply means preparing the way for the next meeting. One long continuous being-together, even in a love affair, might make the thing wilt. In an attachment it would surely kill the thing off altogether. But to meet, to part, then to meet again in a few days, keeps the thing going, encourages it to flower. And yet it requires a certain amount of vanity, as love does; a desire to please, to look one's best, to elicit compliments. It inspires a certain amount of flirtation, for the two are of opposite sex. A wink of understanding over the rim of a raised glass, a low-voiced confidential aside about something and the smile of intimacy that answers it, a small impromptu gift - a necktie on the one part because of an accidental spill on the one he was wearing, or of a small bunch of flowers on the other part because of the color of the dress she has on. So it goes. And suddenly they part, and suddenly there's a void, and suddenly they discover they have had an attachment. Rome passed into the past, and became New York. Now, if they had never come together again, or only after a long time and in different circumstances, then the attachment would have faded and died. But if they suddenly do come together again - while the sharp sting of missing one another is still smarting - then the attachment will revive full force, full strength. But never again as merely an attachment. It has to go on from there, it has to build, to pick up speed. And sometimes it is so glad to be brought back again that it makes the mistake of thinking it is love. ("For The Rest Of Her Life")
Cornell Woolrich (Angels of Darkness)
Here are the sounds of Wear. It rattles stone on stone. It sucks its teeth. It sings. It hisses like the rain. It roars. It laughs. It claps its hands. Sometimes I think it prays. In winter, through the ice, I've seen it moving swift and black as Tune, without a sound. Here are the sights of Wear. It falls in braids. It parts at rocks and tumbles round them white as down or flashes over them in silver quilts. It tosses fallen trees like bits of straw yet spins a single leaf as gentle as a maid. Sometimes it coils for rest in darkling pools and sometimes it leaps its banks and shatters in the air. In autumn, I've seen it breathe a mist so thick and grey you'd never know old Wear was there at all. Each day, for years and years, I've gone and sat in it. Usually at dusk I clamber down and slowly sink myself to where it laps against my breast. Is it too much to say, in winter, that I die? Something of me dies at least. First there's the fiery sting of cold that almost stops my breath, the aching torment in my limbs. I think I may go mad, my wits so outraged that they seek to flee my skull like rats a ship that's going down. I puff. I gasp. Then inch by inch a blessed numbness comes. I have no legs, no arms. My very heart grows still. These floating hands are not my hands. The ancient flesh I wear is rags for all I feel of it. "Praise, Praise!" I croak. Praise God for all that's holy, cold, and dark. Praise him for all we lose, for all the river of the years bears off. Praise him for stillness in the wake of pain. Praise him for emptiness. And as you race to spill into the sea, praise him yourself, old Wear. Praise him for dying and the peace of death. In the little church I built of wood for Mary, I hollowed out a place for him. Perkin brings him by the pail and pours him in. Now that I can hardly walk, I crawl to meet him there. He takes me in his chilly lap to wash me of my sins. Or I kneel down beside him till within his depths I see a star. Sometimes this star is still. Sometimes she dances. She is Mary's star. Within that little pool of Wear she winks at me. I wink at her. The secret that we share I cannot tell in full. But this much I will tell. What's lost is nothing to what's found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.
Frederick Buechner (Godric)
I see things in windows and I say to myself that I want them. I want them because I want to belong. I want to be liked by more people, I want to be held in higher regard than others. I want to feel valued, so I say to myself to watch certain shows. I watch certain shows on the television so I can participate in dialogues and conversations and debates with people who want the same things I want. I want to dress a certain way so certain groups of people are forced to be attracted to me. I want to do my hair a certain way with certain styling products and particular combs and methods so that I can fit in with the In-Crowd. I want to spend hours upon hours at the gym, stuffing my body with what scientists are calling 'superfoods', so that I can be loved and envied by everyone around me. I want to become an icon on someone's mantle. I want to work meaningless jobs so that I can fill my wallet and parentally-advised bank accounts with monetary potential. I want to believe what's on the news so that I can feel normal along with the rest of forever. I want to listen to the Top Ten on Q102, and roll my windows down so others can hear it and see that I am listening to it, and enjoying it. I want to go to church every Sunday, and pray every other day. I want to believe that what I do is for the promise of a peaceful afterlife. I want rewards for my 'good' deeds. I want acknowledgment and praise. And I want people to know that I put out that fire. I want people to know that I support the war effort. I want people to know that I volunteer to save lives. I want to be seen and heard and pointed at with love. I want to read my name in the history books during a future full of clones exactly like me. The mirror, I've noticed, is almost always positioned above the sink. Though the sink offers more depth than a mirror, and mirror is only able to reflect, the sink is held in lower regard. Lower still is the toilet, and thought it offers even more depth than the sink, we piss and shit in it. I want these kind of architectural details to be paralleled in my every day life. I want to care more about my reflection, and less about my cleanliness. I want to be seen as someone who lives externally, and never internally, unless I am able to lock the door behind me. I want these things, because if I didn't, I would be dead in the mirrors of those around me. I would be nothing. I would be an example. Sunken, and easily washed away.
Dave Matthes
The free spirit again draws near to life - slowly, to be sure, almost reluctantly, almost mistrustfully. It again grows warmer about him, yellower as it were; feeling and feeling for others acquire depth, warm breezes of all kind blow across him. It seems to him as if his eyes are only now open to what is close at hand. he is astonished and sits silent: where had he been? These close and closest things: how changed they seem! what bloom and magic they have acquired! He looks back gratefully - grateful to his wandering, to his hardness and self-alienation, to his viewing of far distances and bird-like flights in cold heights. What a good thing he had not always stayed "at home," stayed "under his own roof" like a delicate apathetic loafer! He had been -beside himself-: no doubt about that. Only now does he see himself - and what surprises he experiences as he does so! What unprecedented shudders! What happiness even in the weariness, the old sickness, the relapses of the convalescent! How he loves to sit sadly still, to spin out patience, to lie in the sun! Who understands as he does the joy that comes in winter, the spots of sunlight on the wall! They are the most grateful animals in the world, also the most modest, these convalescents and lizards again half-turned towards life: - there are some among them who allow no day to pass without hanging a little song of praise on the hem of its departing robe. And to speak seriously: to become sick in the manner of these free spirits, to remain sick for a long time and then, slowly, slowly, to become healthy, by which I mean "healthier," is a fundamental cure for all pessimism.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits)
On Pleasure Pleasure is a freedom-song, But it is not freedom. It is the blossoming of your desires, But it is not their fruit. It is a depth calling unto a height, But it is not the deep nor the high. It is the caged taking wing, But it is not space encompassed. Aye, in very truth, pleasure is a freedom-song. And I fain would have you sing it with fullness of heart; yet I would not have you lose your hearts in the singing. Some of your youth seek pleasure as if it were all, and they are judged and rebuked. I would not judge nor rebuke them. I would have them seek. For they shall find pleasure, but not her alone; Seven are her sisters, and the least of them is more beautiful than pleasure. Have you not heard of the man who was digging in the earth for roots and found a treasure? And some of your elders remember pleasures with regret like wrongs committed in drunkenness. But regret is the beclouding of the mind and not its chastisement. They should remember their pleasures with gratitude, as they would the harvest of a summer. Yet if it comforts them to regret, let them be comforted. And there are among you those who are neither young to seek nor old to remember; And in their fear of seeking and remembering they shun all pleasures, lest they neglect the spirit or offend against it. But even in their foregoing is their pleasure. And thus they too find a treasure though they dig for roots with quivering hands. But tell me, who is he that can offend the spirit? Shall the nightingale offend the stillness of the night, or the firefly the stars? And shall your flame or your smoke burden the wind? Think you the spirit is a still pool which you can trouble with a staff? Oftentimes in denying yourself pleasure you do but store the desire in the recesses of your being. Who knows but that which seems omitted today, waits for tomorrow? Even your body knows its heritage and its rightful need and will not be deceived. And your body is the harp of your soul, And it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds. And now you ask in your heart, “How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?” Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower, But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee. For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life, And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love, And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet)
I AM ROWING (a hex poem) i have cursed your forehead, your belly, your life i have cursed the streets your steps plod through the things your hands touch i have cursed the inside of your dreams i have placed a puddle in your eye so that you cant see anymore an insect in your ear so that you cant hear anymore a sponge in your brain so that you cant understand anymore i have frozen you in the soul of your body iced you in the depths of your life the air you breathe suffocates you the air you breathe has the air of a cellar is an air that has already been exhaled been puffed out by hyenas the dung of this air is something no one can breathe your skin is damp all over your skin sweats out waters of great fear your armpits reak far and wide of the crypt animals drop dead as you pass dogs howl at night their heads raised toward your house you cant run away you cant muster the strength of an ant to the tip of your feet your fatigue makes a lead stump in your body your fatigue is a long caravan your fatigue stretches out to the country of nan your fatigue is inexpressible your mouth bites you your nails scratch you no longer yours, your wife no longer yours, your brother the sole of his foot bitten by an angry snake someone has slobbered on your descendents someone has drooled in the mouth of your laughing little girl someone has walked by slobbering all over the face of your domain the world moves away from you i am rowing i am rowing i am rowing against your life i am rowing i split into countless rowers to row more strongly against you you fall into blurriness you are out of breath you get tired before the slightest effort i row i row i row you go off drunk tied to the tail of a mule drunkenness like a huge umbrella that darkens the sky and assembles the flies dizzy drunkenness of the semicircular canals unnoticed beginnings of hemiplegia drunkeness no longer leaves you lays you out to the left lays you out to the right lays you out on the stony ground of the path i row i row i am rowing against your days you enter the house of suffering i row i row on a black blinfold your life is unfolding on the great white eye of a one eyed horse your future is unrolling I AM ROWING
Henri Michaux
there was a sort of embarrassment about storytelling that struck home powerfully about one hundred years ago, at the beginning of modernism. We see a similar reaction in painting and in music. It's a preoccupation suddenly with the surface rather than the depth. So you get, for example, Picasso and Braque making all kinds of experiments with the actual surface of the painting. That becomes the interesting thing, much more interesting than the thing depicted, which is just an old newspaper, a glass of wine, something like that. In music, the Second Viennese School becomes very interested in what happens when the surface, the diatonic structure of the keys breaks down, and we look at the notes themselves in a sort of tone row, instead of concentrating on things like tunes, which are sort of further in, if you like. That happened, of course, in literature, too, with such great works as James Joyce's Ulysses, which is all about, really, how it's told. Not so much about what happens, which is a pretty banal event in a banal man's life. It's about how it's told. The surface suddenly became passionately interesting to artists in every field about a hundred years ago. In the field of literature, story retreated. The books we talked about just now, Middlemarch, Bleak House, Vanity Fair -- their authors were the great storytellers as well as the great artists. After modernism, things changed. Indeed, modernism sometimes seems to me like an equivalent of the Fall. Remember, the first thing Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit was to discover that they had no clothes on. They were embarrassed. Embarrassment was the first consequence of the Fall. And embarrassment was the first literary consequence of this modernist discovery of the surface. "Am I telling a story? Oh my God, this is terrible. I must stop telling a story and focus on the minute gradations of consciousness as they filter through somebody's..." So there was a great split that took place. Story retreated, as it were, into genre fiction-into crime fiction, into science fiction, into romantic fiction-whereas the high-art literary people went another way. Children's books held onto the story, because children are rarely interested in surfaces in that sort of way. They're interested in what-happened and what-happened next. I found it a great discipline, when I was writing The Golden Compass and other books, to think that there were some children in the audience. I put it like that because I don't say I write for children. I find it hard to understand how some writers can say with great confidence, "Oh, I write for fourth grade children" or "I write for boys of 12 or 13." How do they know? I don't know. I would rather consider myself in the rather romantic position of the old storyteller in the marketplace: you sit down on your little bit of carpet with your hat upturned in front of you, and you start to tell a story. Your interest really is not in excluding people and saying to some of them, "No, you can't come, because it's just for so-and-so." My interest as a storyteller is to have as big an audience as possible. That will include children, I hope, and it will include adults, I hope. If dogs and horses want to stop and listen, they're welcome as well.
Philip Pullman
I do not write every day. I write to the questions and issues before me. I write to deadlines. I write out of my passions. And I write to make peace with my own contradictory nature. For me, writing is a spiritual practice. A small bowl of water sits on my desk, a reminder that even if nothing is happening on the page, something is happening in the room--evaporation. And I always light a candle when I begin to write, a reminder that I have now entered another realm, call it the realm of the Spirit. I am mindful that when one writes, one leaves this world and enters another. My books are collages made from journals, research, and personal experience. I love the images rendered in journal entries, the immediacy that is captured on the page, the handwritten notes. I love the depth of ideas and perspective that research brings to a story, be it biological or anthropological studies or the insights brought to the page by the scholarly work of art historians. When I go into a library, I feel like I am a sleuth looking to solve a mystery. I am completely inspired by the pursuit of knowledge through various references. I read newpapers voraciously. I love what newspapers say about contemporary culture. And then you go back to your own perceptions, your own words, and weigh them against all you have brought together. I am interested in the kaleidoscope of ideas, how you bring many strands of thought into a book and weave them together as one piece of coherent fabric, while at the same time trying to create beautiful language in the service of the story. This is the blood work of the writer. Writing is also about a life engaged. And so, for me, community work, working in the schools or with grassroots conservation organizations is another critical component of my life as a writer. I cannot separate the writing life from a spiritual life, from a life as a teacher or activist or my life intertwined with family and the responsibilities we carry within our own homes. Writing is daring to feel what nurtures and breaks our hearts. Bearing witness is its own form of advocacy. It is a dance with pain and beauty.
Terry Tempest Williams
‪‎This‬ letter, is what I needed to read today. Let's share ‪‎Hope‬. We trust you. “Dear Future Me, I hope that today you are the person you always set out to be. I hope you accomplished everything that they said you could never do. How many lives do you change in a day? Do you speak out for what is right, or sit there regretting your silence? I hope you are what I’m not. I hope you speak out with such a voice that everyone around you can hear it even when you aren’t speaking. I want you to have power in the way you speak- giving light into someone’s world filled with darkness. I hope you live as if you are the only one capable of making a difference, and embracing that ability in the best way possible. You don’t need to have your name written in the text of a history book, but you need to live to make your words give life to the ones who thought they didn’t deserve one. When you read this letter, I hope you are somewhere where all of you previous goals can be made accomplishments. I hope you still remember your past, and pass on your story to those who need to hear it most- to show them that they are not alone. I hope you achieved that brighter, happier life you used to daydream about when you were younger. I hope all of your dreams became your reality, and I hope that eventually your nightmares dissolved into the depths of your past- never haunting you again. I hope that you one day took off the mask that hid the truth. That you broke down the barriers you built, and learned to trust someone- really trust them- somewhere along your journey. I hope that you look in the mirror with a small, true smile and be proud of what you see. I hope that you learned to break through the surface of the water drowning you- anxiety. I hope that you now see the world from a whole new perspective, and learned to enjoy the sun more than the rain.. Most of all, I hope you learned to speak. To speak in such a voice that must be heard; a voice that embroiders your words onto a heart that needed them most. I hope you are happy, and teach ones who are like the old you to be happy as well. I hope that today you are the person you always set out to be. Sincerely, Your Past
wnq writers
As we have seen, prayer, celebration of the religious offices, alms, consoling the afflicted, the cultivation of a little piece of ground, fraternity, frugality, hospitality, self-sacrifice, confidence, study, and work, filled up each day of his life. Filled up is exactly the phrase; and in fact, the Bishop's day was full to the brim with good thoughts, good words, and good actions. Yet it was not complete if cold or rainy weather prevented him from passing an hour or two in the evening, when the two women had retired, in his garden before going to sleep. It seemed as though it were a sort of rite with him, to prepare himself for sleep by meditating in the presence of the great spectacle of the starry firmament. Sometimes late at night, if the two women were awake, they would hear him slowly walking the paths. He was out there alone with himself, composed, tranquil, adoring, comparing the serenity of his heart with the serenity of the skies, moved in the darkness by the visible splendors of the constellations, and the invisible splendor of God, opening his soul to the thoughts that fall from the Unknown. In such moments, offering up his heart at the hour when the flowers of night emit their perfume, lit like a lamp in the center of the starry night, expanding his soul in ecstasy in the midst of creation’s universal radiance, perhaps he could not have told what was happening in his own mind; he felt something depart from him, and something descend upon him; mysterious exchanges of the depths of the soul with the depths of the universe. He contemplated the grandeur, and the presence of God; the eternity of the future, that strange mystery; the eternity of the past, a stranger mystery; all the infinities hidden deep in every direction; and, without trying to comprehend the incomprehensible, he saw it. He did not study God; he was dazzled by Him. He reflected upon the magnificent union of atoms, which give visible forms to Nature, revealing forces by recognizing them, creating individualities in unity, proportions in extension, the innumerable in the infinite, and through light producing beauty. These unions are forming and dissolving continually; from which come life and death. He would sit on a wooden bench leaning against a decrepit trellis and look at the stars through the irregular outlines of his fruit trees. This quarter of an acre of ground, so sparingly planted, so cluttered with shed and ruins, was dear to him and satisfied him. What more was needed by this old man, who divided the leisure hours of his life, where he had so little leisure, between gardening in the day time, and contemplation at night? Was this narrow enclosure, with the sky for a background not space enough for him to adore God in his most beautiful, most sublime works? Indeed, is that not everything? What more do you need? A little garden to walk in, and immensity to reflect on. At his feet something to cultivate and gather; above his head something to study and meditate on; a few flowers on earth and all the stars in the sky.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
What is so often said about the solders of the 20th century is that they fought to make us free. Which is a wonderful sentiment and one witch should evoke tremendous gratitude if in fact there was a shred of truth in that statement but, it's not true. It's not even close to true in fact it's the opposite of truth. There's this myth around that people believe that the way to honor deaths of so many of millions of people; that the way to honor is to say that we achieved some tangible, positive, good, out of their death's. That's how we are supposed to honor their deaths. We can try and rescue some positive and forward momentum of human progress, of human virtue from these hundreds of millions of death's but we don't do it by pretending that they'd died to set us free because we are less free; far less free now then we were before these slaughters began. These people did not die to set us free. They did not die fighting any enemy other than the ones that the previous deaths created. The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names. Solders are paid killers, and I say this with a great degree of sympathy to young men and women who are suckered into a life of evil through propaganda and the labeling of heroic to a man in costume who kills for money and the life of honor is accepting ordered killings for money, prestige, and pensions. We create the possibility of moral choice by communicating truth about ethics to people. That to me is where real heroism and real respect for the dead lies. Real respect for the dead lies in exhuming the corpses and hearing what they would say if they could speak out; and they would say: If any ask us why we died tell it's because our fathers lied, tell them it's because we were told that charging up a hill and slaughtering our fellow man was heroic, noble, and honorable. But these hundreds of millions of ghosts encircled the world in agony, remorse will not be released from our collective unconscious until we lay the truth of their murders on the table and look at the horror that is the lie; that murder for money can be moral, that murder for prestige can be moral. These poor young men and woman propagandized into an undead ethical status lied to about what is noble, virtuous, courageous, honorable, decent, and good to the point that they're rolling hand grenades into children's rooms and the illusion that, that is going to make the world a better place. We have to stare this in the face if we want to remember why these people died. They did not die to set us free. They did not die to make the world a better place. They died because we are ruled by sociopaths. The only thing that can create a better world is the truth is the virtue is the honor and courage of standing up to the genocidal lies of mankind and calling them lies and ultimate corruptions. The trauma and horrors of this century of staggering bloodshed of the brief respite of the 19th century. This addiction to blood and the idea that if we pour more bodies into the hole of the mass graves of the 20th century, if we pour more bodies and more blood we can build some sort of cathedral to a better place but it doesn't happen. We can throw as many young men and woman as we want into this pit of slaughter and it will never be full. It will never do anything other than sink and recede further into the depths of hell. We can’t build a better world on bodies. We can’t build peace on blood. If we don't look back and see the army of the dead of the 20th century calling out for us to see that they died to enslave us. That whenever there was a war the government grew and grew. We are so addicted to this lie. What we need to do is remember that these bodies bury us. This ocean of blood that we create through the fantasy that violence brings virtue. It drowns us, drowns our children, our future, and the world. When we pour these endless young bodies into this pit of death; we follow it.
Stefan Molyneux
To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;— Go forth, under the open sky, and list To Nature’s teachings, while from all around— Earth and her waters, and the depths of air— Comes a still voice— Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again, And, lost each human trace, surrendering up Thine individual being, shalt thou go To mix for ever with the elements, To be a brother to the insensible rock And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould. Yet not to thine eternal resting-place Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings, The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good, Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales Stretching in pensive quietness between; The venerable woods—rivers that move In majesty, and the complaining brooks That make the meadows green; and, poured round all, Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste,— Are but the solemn decorations all Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, Are shining on the sad abodes of death, Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread The globe are but a handful to the tribes That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness, Or lose thyself in the continuous woods Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound, Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there: And millions in those solitudes, since first The flight of years began, have laid them down In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone. So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw In silence from the living, and no friend Take note of thy departure? All that breathe Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care Plod on, and each one as before will chase His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave Their mirth and their employments, and shall come And make their bed with thee. As the long train Of ages glide away, the sons of men, The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes In the full strength of years, matron and maid, The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man— Shall one by one be gathered to thy side, By those, who in their turn shall follow them. So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan, which moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
William Cullen Bryant (Thanatopsis)