Whatever The Circumstances Quotes

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The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley (Invictus)
Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that's a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events -- the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there -- that must also be a miracle. Just because it's not nice doesn't mean it's not miraculous.
Terry Pratchett (Interesting Times (Discworld, #17; Rincewind, #5))
I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances. a
Martha Washington
There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing. There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest, and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city. There is silence after a rainstorm, and before a rainstorm, and these are not the same. There is the silence of emptiness, the silence of fear, the silence of doubt. There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used, or from a piano with old dust upon its keys, or from anything that has answered to the need of a man, for pleasure or for work. This kind of silence can speak. Its voice may be melancholy, but it is not always so; for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay. Whatever the mood or the circumstance, the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.
Beryl Markham (West with the Night)
I have often noticed that we are inclined to endow our friends with the stability of type that literary characters acquire in the reader's mind. [...] Whatever evolution this or that popular character has gone through between the book covers, his fate is fixed in our minds, and, similarly, we expect our friends to follow this or that logical and conventional pattern we have fixed for them. Thus X will never compose the immortal music that would clash with the second-rate symphonies he has accustomed us to. Y will never commit murder. Under no circumstances can Z ever betray us. We have it all arranged in our minds, and the less often we see a particular person, the more satisfying it is to check how obediently he conforms to our notion of him every time we hear of him. Any deviation in the fates we have ordained would strike us as not only anomalous but unethical. We could prefer not to have known at all our neighbor, the retired hot-dog stand operator, if it turns out he has just produced the greatest book of poetry his age has seen.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
Instead, what I was beginning to understand was that however things unfolded from here on, whatever the next chapter was, my life could never be the sum of one circumstance. It would be determined, as it had always been, by my willingness to put one foot in front of the other, moving forward, come what may.
Liz Murray (Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard)
Do not compromise yourself and put your goodness in the same impermanent category as whatever circumstance happening. Be the best you in every circumstance.
Steve Maraboli
You just, like, hate yourself? You hate being yourself?" "There's no self to hate. It's like, when I look into myself, there's no actual me—just a bunch of thoughts and behaviors and circumstances. And a lot of them just don't feel like they're mine. They're not things I want to think or do or whatever. And when I do look for the, like, Real Me, I never find it. It's like those nesting dolls, you know? The ones that are hollow, and then when you open them up, there's a smaller doll inside, and you keep opening hollow dolls until eventually you get to the smallest one, and it's solid all the way through. But with me, I don't think there is one that is solid. They just keep getting smaller.
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet,in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister.
Dalai Lama XIV
Sickness is a problem for the body, not the mind — unless the mind decides that it is a problem. Lameness, too, is the body's problem, not the mind's. Say this to yourself whatever the circumstance and you will find without fail that the problem pertains to something else, not to you.
Epictetus (Discourses and Selected Writings)
A writer, or any man, must believe that whatever happens to him is an instrument; everything has been given for an end. This is even stronger in the case of the artist. Everything that happens, including humiliations, embarrassments, misfortunes, all has been given like clay, like material for one’s art. One must accept it. For this reason I speak in a poem of the ancient food of heroes: humiliation, unhappiness, discord. Those things are given to us to transform, so that we may make from the miserable circumstances of our lives things that are eternal, or aspire to be so.
Jorge Luis Borges (Selected Non-Fictions)
We tend to take whatever’s worked in our particular set of circumstances (big family, small family, AP, Ezzo, home school, public school) and project that upon everyone else in the world as the ideal.
Rachel Held Evans (A Year of Biblical Womanhood)
Oh. My. God. You're Rose Hathaway aren't you?" "Yeah." I said with surprise. "Do you know me?" "Everyone knows you. I mean, everyone heard about you. You're the one who ran away. And then you came back and killed the Strigoi. That is so cool! Did you get molnija marks?" Her words came out in one long string. She hardly took a breath. "Yeah. I have two." Thinking about the tiny tattoos on the back of my neck made my skin itch. Her pale green eyes—if possible—grew wider. "Oh my God. Wow." I usually grew irate when people made a big deal about molnija marks. After all, the circumstances had not been cool. But this girl was young, and there was something appealing about her. "What's your name?" I asked. "Jillian—Jill. I mean, just Jill. Not both. Jillian's my full name. Jill's what everyone calls me." "Right." I said, hiding a smile. "I figured it out." "I heard Moroi used magic on that trip to fight. Is that true? I would love to do that. I wish someone would teach me. I use air. Do you think i could fight Strigoi with that? Everyone says I'm crazy!" For centuries, Moroi using magic to fight had been viewed as a sin. Everyone believed it should be used peacefully. Recently, some had started to question that, particularly after Christian had proved useful in the Spokane escape. "I don't know." I said. "You should talk to Christian Ozera." She gaped. "Would he talk to me?" "If you bring up fighting the establishment, yeah he'll talk to you." "Okay, cool. Was that Guardian Belikov?" she asked, switching subjects abruptly. "Yeah." I swore I thought she might faint then and there. "Really? He's even cuter then I heard. He's your teacher right? Like, your own personal teacher?" "Yeah." I wondered where he was. Talking to Jill was exhausting. "Wow. You know you guys don't even act like teacher and student. You seem like friends. Do you hang out when you're not training?" "Er, well, kind of. Sometimes." I remembered my earlier thoughts, about how I was one of the few people Dimitri was social with outside of his guardian duties. "I knew it! I can't even imagine that—I'd be freaking out all the time around him. I'd never get anything done, but your so cool about it all, kind of like, 'Yeah. I'm with this totally hot guy, but whatever it doesn't matter!'" I laughed in spite of myself. "I think you're giving me more credit than I deserve." "No way. And I don't believe any of those stories, you know." "Um, stories?" "Yeah about you beating up Christian Ozera." "Thanks." I said.
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
Whatever circumstances you were born into, whatever family life and education you had or didn't have, you came here to make your dreams come true, and no matter where you are now, you are fully equipped with everything you need to do it!
Rhonda Byrne (Hero (The Secret, #4))
You'd like Freedom, Truth, and Justice, wouldn't you, Comrade Sergeant?' said Reg encouragingly. 'I'd like a hard-boiled egg,' said Vimes, shaking the match out. There was some nervous laughter, but Reg looked offended. 'In the circumstances, Sergeant, I think we should set our sights a little higher--' 'Well, yes, we could,' said Vimes, coming down the steps. He glanced at the sheets of papers in front of Reg. The man cared. He really did. And he was serious. He really was. 'But...well, Reg, tomorrow the sun will come up again, and I'm pretty sure that whatever happens we won't have found Freedom, and there won't be a whole lot of Justice, and I'm damn sure we won't have found Truth. But it's just possible that I might get a hard-boiled egg.
Terry Pratchett (Night Watch (Discworld, #29; City Watch, #6))
Pursuing happiness, and I did, and still do, is not at all the same as being happy- which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances, and a bit bovine. If the sun is shining, stand in it- yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass- they have to- because time passes. The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is lifelong, and it is not goal-centred. What you are pursuing is meaning- a meaningful life. There's the hap- the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn't fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use- that's going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms.
Jeanette Winterson (Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?)
It's a terrible thing when a person dies, whatever the circumstances. A hole opens up in the world, and we need to pay the proper respects. If we don't, the hole will never be filled in again.
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (1Q84, #3))
THE DAWN OF NEW POSSIBILITIES Therefore glorify the LORD in the dawning light. —ISAIAH 24:15 Every new day with God brings the dawn of new and better possibilities. Today could turn out to be the best day of your life—but how it ends largely depends on how you begin it. You are in charge of taking control of your day from its very beginning—as you command your morning—and as you do, know that whatever begins with God has to end right. No matter how good or bad your life is, every circumstance can change for the best if you learn how to command your morning before your day begins. Father, I stand and declare that today is a new day. Every element of my day shall cooperate with Your purpose and destiny for me. Anything or anyone assigned to undermine, frustrate, hinder, or hurt me, I command to be moved out of my sphere of influence. I greet
Cindy Trimm (Commanding Your Morning Daily Devotional: Unleash God's Power in Your Life--Every Day of the Year)
Circumstances cannot change how you feel. When you truly love someone – on a level that goes deeper than your mind, deeper than your memories, all the way to the very thing that makes you human – you do whatever it takes. You save him.
Jessica Brody (Unremembered (Unremembered, #1))
If you look at your circumstances you will put off doing what God is telling you to do. It can seem like the worst time to do whatever God says to do. BUT there is an anointing on "now" if God has told you to act.
Joyce Meyer (Beauty for Ashes: Receiving Emotional Healing)
I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.
Martha Washington
There is no such thing as a perfect person in this world. We all must become the main characters or the stars of our lives. We are all different and start differently. But from whatever is our circumstances, it is very important that we find the opportunities to try out what we want to do.
Goo Hye Sun
If we examine every stage of our lives, we find that from our first breath to our last we are under the constraint of circumstances. And yet we still possess the greatest of all freedoms, the power of developing our innermost selves in harmony with the moral order of the universe, and so winning peace of heart whatever obstacles we meet.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister. No matter how new the face or how different the dress and behavior, there is no significant division between us and other people. It is foolish to dwell on external differences, because our basic natures are the same.
Dalai Lama XIV (An Introduction to the Teachings and Philosophy of the Dalai Lama in His Own Words)
The peace we are offered is not a peace that is free from tragedy, illness, bankruptcy, divorce, depression, or heartache. It is peace rooted in the trust that the life Jesus gives us is deeper, wider, stronger, and more enduring than whatever our current circumstances are, because all we see is not all there is and the last word about us and our struggle has not yet been spoken.
Rob Bell (What We Talk about When We Talk about God)
Today, no less than five Supreme Court justices are on record, either through their opinions or speeches (or both), that they will consult foreign law and foreign-court rulings for guidance in certain circumstances. Of course, policymakers are free to consult whatever they want, but not justices. They're limited to the Constitution and the law.
Mark R. Levin
As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer. Oh, who knows, perhaps it won't be long before I can share this overwhelming feeling of happiness with someone who feels the same as I do.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
Show me someone who is humble enough to accept and take responsibility for his or her circumstances and courageous enough to take whatever initiative is necessary to creatively work his or her through or around these challenges, and I'll show you supreme power of choice.
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
And I know, with the newfuond clarity of being in a relationship myself, that my own parents were never happy together, and probably never would have been, whatever the circumstances
Christina Baker Kline (Orphan Train)
I do know now I was never forgotten. And I know something else and as an apostle of our master Jesus Christ, I proclaim with all the certainty and conviction of my heart and soul, neither are you. You are not forgotten! Sisters, wherever you are, whatever the circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love. Just think of it! You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful and glorious Being in the universe. You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time. He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name. You are the daughters of His kingdom!
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Sweetheart, happily ever after does exist, it’s just not what you think,” he said. “Happily ever after isn’t a solution to life’s problems or a guarantee that life will be easy; it’s a promise we make ourselves to always live our best lives, despite whatever circumstance comes our way. When we focus on joy in times of heartbreak, when we choose to laugh on the days it’s hard to smile, and when we count our blessings over our losses—that’s what a true happily ever after is all about. You don’t get there by being perfect; on the contrary, it’s our humanity that guides us. And that’s what fairy tales have been trying to teach us all along.
Chris Colfer (Worlds Collide (The Land of Stories, #6))
No one could endure lasting adversity if it continued to have the same force as when it first hit us. We are all tied to Fortune, some by a loose and golden chain, and others by a tight one of baser metal: but what does it matter? We are all held in the same captivity, and those who have bound others are themselves in bonds - unless you think perhaps that the left-hand chain is lighter. One man is bound by high office, another by wealth; good birth weighs down some, and a humble origin others; some bow under the rule of other men and some under their own; some are restricted to one place by exile, others by priesthoods: all life is a servitude. So you have to get used to your circumstances, complain about them as little as possible, and grasp whatever advantage they have to offer: no condition is so bitter that a stable mind cannot find some consolation in it.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature's beauty and simplicity. As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
This is, after all, my own peculiar magic--whatever circumstances I find myself in, I always land on my feet.
Laura E. Weymouth (The Light Between Worlds)
I have learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.
Anonymous (Holy Bible: New International Version)
So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment. We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.
Thomas S. Monson
That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. God said, 'Thou shalt not kill'; at another time He said, 'Thou shalt utterly destroy.' This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.
Joseph Smith Jr.
It was perhaps relief and confidence stemming from the opportunity to tempt you into being my accomplice, however indirectly, in the lonely work of producing the mask. For me, whatever you may say, you are the most important "other person." No, I do not mean it in a negative sense. I meant that the one who must first restore the roadway, the one whose name I had to write on the first letter, was first on my list of "others." (Under any circumstances, I simply did not want to lose you. To lose you would be symbolic of losing the world.)
Kōbō Abe (The Face of Another)
A woman in her thirties came to see me. As she greeted me, I could sense the pain behind her polite and superficial smile. She started telling me her story, and within one second her smile changed into a grimace of pain. Then, she began to sob uncontrollably. She said she felt lonely and unfulfilled. There was much anger and sadness. As a child she had been abused by a physically violent father. I saw quickly that her pain was not caused by her present life circumstances but by an extraordinarily heavy pain-body. Her pain-body had become the filter through which she viewed her life situation. She was not yet able to see the link between the emotional pain and her thoughts, being completely identified with both. She could not yet see that she was feeding the pain-body with her thoughts. In other words, she lived with the burden of a deeply unhappy self. At some level, however, she must have realized that her pain originated within herself, that she was a burden to herself. She was ready to awaken, and this is why she had come. I directed the focus of her attention to what she was feeling inside her body and asked her to sense the emotion directly, instead of through the filter of her unhappy thoughts, her unhappy story. She said she had come expecting me to show her the way out of her unhappiness, not into it. Reluctantly, however, she did what I asked her to do. Tears were rolling down her face, her whole body was shaking. “At this moment, this is what you feel.” I said. “There is nothing you can do about the fact that at this moment this is what you feel. Now, instead of wanting this moment to be different from the way it is, which adds more pain to the pain that is already there, is it possible for you to completely accept that this is what you feel right now?” She was quiet for a moment. Suddenly she looked impatient, as if she was about to get up, and said angrily, “No, I don't want to accept this.” “Who is speaking?” I asked her. “You or the unhappiness in you? Can you see that your unhappiness about being unhappy is just another layer of unhappiness?” She became quiet again. “I am not asking you to do anything. All I'm asking is that you find out whether it is possible for you to allow those feelings to be there. In other words, and this may sound strange, if you don't mind being unhappy, what happens to the unhappiness? Don't you want to find out?” She looked puzzled briefly, and after a minute or so of sitting silently, I suddenly noticed a significant shift in her energy field. She said, “This is weird. I 'm still unhappy, but now there is space around it. It seems to matter less.” This was the first time I heard somebody put it like that: There is space around my unhappiness. That space, of course, comes when there is inner acceptance of whatever you are experiencing in the present moment. I didn't say much else, allowing her to be with the experience. Later she came to understand that the moment she stopped identifying with the feeling, the old painful emotion that lived in her, the moment she put her attention on it directly without trying to resist it, it could no longer control her thinking and so become mixed up with a mentally constructed story called “The Unhappy Me.” Another dimension had come into her life that transcended her personal past – the dimension of Presence. Since you cannot be unhappy without an unhappy story, this was the end of her unhappiness. It was also the beginning of the end of her pain-body. Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness. When our session came to an end, it was fulfilling to know that I had just witnessed the arising of Presence in another human being. The very reason for our existence in human form is to bring that dimension of consciousness into this world. I had also witnessed a diminishment of the pain-body, not through fighting it but through bringing the light of consciousness to it.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
Developing mental strength isn’t about having to be the best at everything. It also isn’t about earning the most money or achieving the biggest accomplishments. Instead, developing mental strength means knowing that you’ll be okay no matter what happens. Whether you’re facing serious personal problems, a financial crisis, or a family tragedy, you’ll be best prepared for whatever circumstances you encounter when you’re mentally strong. Not only will you be ready to deal with the realities of life, but you’ll be able to live according to your values no matter what life throws your way.
Amy Morin (13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success)
It is our responsibility to look for meaning in life, even in the darkest times, and whatever the circumstances we always have a vestige of free will.
Viktor E. Frankl
The greatest remedy in the world is change; and change implies the passing from the old to the new. It is also the only path that leads from the lesser to the greater, from the dream to the reality, from the wish to the heart’s desire fulfilled. It is change that brings us everything we want. It is the opposite of change that holds us back from that which we want. But change is not always external. Real change, or rather the cause of all change, is always internal. It is the change in the within that first produces the change in the without. To go from place to place is not a change unless it produces a change of mind—a renewal of mind. It is the change of mind that is the change desired. It is the renewal of mind that produces better health, more happiness, greater power, the increase of life, and the consequent increase of all that is good in life. And the constant renewal of mind—the daily change of mind—is possible regardless of times, circumstances or places. He who can change his mind every day and think the new about everything every day, will always be well; he will always have happiness; he will always be free; his life will always be interesting; he will constantly move forward into the larger, the richer and the better; and whatever is needed for his welfare today, of that he shall surely have abundance.
Christian D. Larson
See, Batman is different. He's mortal. He's got a real life to risk. Superman just has to avoid Kryptonite. Big deal. Superman fears nothing because outside a few very specific circumstances where he might encounter some stupid rock, nothing can possibly do him in. Batman has the same vulnerabilities as the rest of us, so he has the same fears as us. That's why he's the most courageous: because he can put those aside and fight on regardless. My point is this: the more you have to lose, the braver you re for standing up. That's why Batman is superior to Superman, and that's why I am infinitely smarter then you.' I am a genius. I have won. 'Pffft! Whatever. I'll bet Batman won't be too loud about his superiority when Superman is belting seven shades of shit out of him.
Craig Silvey (Jasper Jones)
In nature—out yonder where the crawdads sing—these ruthless-seeming behaviors actually increase the mother’s number of young over her lifetime, and thus her genes for abandoning offspring in times of stress are passed on to the next generation. And on and on. It happens in humans, too. Some behaviors that seem harsh to us now ensured the survival of early man in whatever swamp he was in at the time. Without them, we wouldn’t be here. We still store those instincts in our genes, and they express themselves when certain circumstances prevail. Some parts of us will always be what we were, what we had to be to survive—way back yonder.
Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing)
Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as unalterable givens. Thus they come to be stamped as “necessities of thought”, “a priori givens”, etc. The path of scientific advance is often made impassable for a long time through such errors. For that reason, it is by no means an idle game if we become practiced in analyzing the long commonplace concepts and exhibiting those circumstances upon which their justification and usefulness depend, how they have grown up, individually, out of the givens of experience. By this means, their all-too-great authority will be broken. They will be removed if they cannot be properly legitimated, corrected if their correlation with given things be far too superfluous, replaced by others if a new system can be established that we prefer for whatever reason.
Albert Einstein
Work is an antidote for anxiety, and ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility. Whatever our circumstances in life, my dear brethren, let us do the best we can and cultivate a reputation for excellence in all that we do. Let us set our minds and bodies to the glorious opportunity for work that each new day presents.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
The way to control circumstances is to control the forces within yourself to make a greater man of yourself, and as you become greater and more competent, you will naturally gravitate into better circumstances. In this connection, we should remember that like attracts like. If you want that which is better, make yourself better. If you want to realize the ideal, make yourself more ideal. If you want better friends, make yourself a better friend. If you want to associate with people of worth, make yourself more worthy. If you want to meet that which is agreeable, make yourself more agreeable. If you want to enter conditions and circumstances that are more pleasing, make yourself more pleasing. In brief, whatever you want, produce that something in yourself, and you will positively gravitate towards the corresponding conditions in the external world.
Christian D. Larson
If your life were any different, you'd feel exactly the same. This is the irony of life's eternal perfection. Once you no longer rely on outside circumstances, in order to feel good, or even require feeling good, in order to be relaxed and open, something far greater than the tracking of ups, downs, gains and losses awakens within you. This is the heart of awakening.
Matt Kahn (Whatever Arises, Love That: A Love Revolution That Begins with You)
No circumstance in the world can ever prevent us from believing in God, from placing all our trust in him, from loving him with our whole heart, or from loving our neighbor. Faith, hope, and charity are absolutely free, because if they are rooted in us deeply enough, they are able to draw strength from whatever opposes them! If someone sought to prevent us from believing by persecuting us, we always would retain the option of forgiving our enemies and transforming the situation of oppression into one of greater love. If someone tried to silence our faith by killing us, our deaths would be the best possible proclamation of our faith! Love, and only love, can overcome evil by good and draw good out of evil.
Jacques Philippe (Interior Freedom)
And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.' To remit debts is to renounce our own personality. It means renouncing everything that goes to make up our ego, without any exception. It means knowing that in the ego there is nothing whatever, no psychological element, that external circumstances could not do away with. It means accepting that truth. It means being happy that things should be so.
Simone Weil (Waiting for God)
What is to be done with the millions of facts that bear witness that men, consciously, that is fully understanding their real interests, have left them in the background and have rushed headlong on another path, to meet peril and danger, compelled to this course by nobody and by nothing, but, as it were, simply disliking the beaten track, and have obstinately, wilfully, struck out another difficult, absurd way, seeking it almost in the darkness. So, I suppose, this obstinacy and perversity were pleasanter to them than any advantage... The fact is, gentlemen, it seems there must really exist something that is dearer to almost every man than his greatest advantages, or (not to be illogical) there is a most advantageous advantage (the very one omitted of which we spoke just now) which is more important and more advantageous than all other advantages, for the sake of which a man if necessary is ready to act in opposition to all laws; that is, in opposition to reason, honour, peace, prosperity -- in fact, in opposition to all those excellent and useful things if only he can attain that fundamental, most advantageous advantage which is dearer to him than all. "Yes, but it's advantage all the same," you will retort. But excuse me, I'll make the point clear, and it is not a case of playing upon words. What matters is, that this advantage is remarkable from the very fact that it breaks down all our classifications, and continually shatters every system constructed by lovers of mankind for the benefit of mankind. In fact, it upsets everything... One's own free unfettered choice, one's own caprice, however wild it may be, one's own fancy worked up at times to frenzy -- is that very "most advantageous advantage" which we have overlooked, which comes under no classification and against which all systems and theories are continually being shattered to atoms. And how do these wiseacres know that man wants a normal, a virtuous choice? What has made them conceive that man must want a rationally advantageous choice? What man wants is simply independent choice, whatever that independence may cost and wherever it may lead. And choice, of course, the devil only knows what choice. Of course, this very stupid thing, this caprice of ours, may be in reality, gentlemen, more advantageous for us than anything else on earth, especially in certain cases… for in any circumstances it preserves for us what is most precious and most important -- that is, our personality, our individuality. Some, you see, maintain that this really is the most precious thing for mankind; choice can, of course, if it chooses, be in agreement with reason… It is profitable and sometimes even praiseworthy. But very often, and even most often, choice is utterly and stubbornly opposed to reason ... and ... and ... do you know that that, too, is profitable, sometimes even praiseworthy? I believe in it, I answer for it, for the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key! …And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don't know? You will scream at me (that is, if you condescend to do so) that no one is touching my free will, that all they are concerned with is that my will should of itself, of its own free will, coincide with my own normal interests, with the laws of nature and arithmetic. Good heavens, gentlemen, what sort of free will is left when we come to tabulation and arithmetic, when it will all be a case of twice two make four? Twice two makes four without my will. As if free will meant that!
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
If you look at things as they are, there does not seem to be a code either of man or of God on which one can pattern one's conduct. Wrong triumphs over right as much as right over wrong. Sometimes its triumphs are greater. What happens ultimately, you do not know. In such circumstances what can you do but cultivate an utter indifference to all values? Nothing matters. Nothing whatever...
Khushwant Singh (Train to Pakistan)
Whatever our circumstances, everything can feel so simple, so beautiful, and so right when we no longer pay attention to the mind’s incessant chatter.
Dan Millman (No Ordinary Moments: A Peaceful Warrior's Guide to Daily Life)
We can face whatever circumstances await us with courage if we just reflect on God’s faithfulness and place our confidence in His great power and loving purpose for our lives.
David Jeremiah (What Are You Afraid Of?)
Sheer experience had already taught her that in some circumstances there was one thing better than to lead a good life, and that was to be saved from leading any life whatever.
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D'Urbervilles)
For whatever reason - time, circumstance, distance- he wasn't able to give it to me himself. But he did give me Benji, and I would be forever grateful. With love like that, you can't get picky about how it finds you or the details. All that matters is that it's there. Better late than never.
Sarah Dessen (The Moon and More)
Whatever the circumstances of a child’s early life, and whatever the history and current state of that child, every human has the built-in power to improve, to change for the better, to significantly restore and often to recover. Tomorrow, that person you see in the mirror can be a stronger, more capable, livelier, more powerfully centered, and still-growing person.
Michael Merzenich (Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change your Life)
Pursuing happiness, and I did, and I still do, is not at all the same as being happy--which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances...If the sun is shining, stand in it---yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass--they have to because time passes. The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is life-long, and it is not goal-centered. What you are pursuing is meaning--- a meaningful life. There's the hap-- the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn't fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use---that's going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realise that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms. The pursuit isn't all or nothing--- it's all AND nothing.
Jeanette Winterson
I learned a lot, when I was a child, from novels and stories, even fairytales have some point to them--the good ones. The thing that impressed me most forcibly was this: the villains went to work with their brains and always accomplished something. To be sure they were "foiled" in the end, but that was by some special interposition of Providence, not by any equal exertion of intellect on the part of the good people. The heroes and middle ones were mostly very stupid. If bad things happened, they practised patience, endurance, resignation, and similar virtues; if good things happened they practised modesty and magnanimity and virtues like that, but it never seemed to occur to any of them to make things move their way. Whatever the villains planned for them to do, they did, like sheep. The same old combinations of circumstances would be worked off on them in book after book--and they always tumbled. It used to worry me as a discord worries a musician. Hadn't they ever read anything? Couldn't they learn anything from what they read--ever? It appeared not. And it seemed to me, even as a very little child, that what we wanted was good people with brains, not just negative, passive, good people, but positive, active ones, who gave their minds to it. "A good villain. That's what we need!" I said to myself. "Why don't they write about them? Aren't there ever any?" I never found any in all my beloved story books, or in real life. And gradually, I made up my mind to be one.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Benigna Machiavelli)
As long as this exists,” I thought, “this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?” The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity. As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
I think a lot of people quit pursuing creative lives because they’re scared of the word interesting. My favorite meditation teacher, Pema Chödrön, once said that the biggest problem she sees with people’s meditation practice is that they quit just when things are starting to get interesting. Which is to say, they quit as soon as things aren’t easy anymore, as soon as it gets painful, or boring, or agitating. They quit as soon as they see something in their minds that scares them or hurts them. So they miss the good part, the wild part, the transformative part—the part when you push past the difficulty and enter into some raw new unexplored universe within yourself. And maybe it’s like that with every important aspect of your life. Whatever it is you are pursuing, whatever it is you are seeking, whatever it is you are creating, be careful not to quit too soon. As my friend Pastor Rob Bell warns: “Don’t rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you.” Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding. Because that moment? That’s the moment when interesting begins.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear)
A second later, when he looked up at me, we were face to face, and again, even under these circumstances, I was struck by how good looking he was, in that accidental, doesn't-even-know-it kind of way. Which only made it worse. Or better. Or whatever. "Yup", he said, as if there'd been any doubt, "you're in there, all right." "I was warned, too,"I told him, as he stood up. "I just saw that sculpture, and I got distracted." "The sculpture?" He looked at it, then at me. "Oh, right. Because you know it.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
Whatever their circumstances, people still had to eat, live, and love.
Eoin Colfer (The Supernaturalist)
I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
So here's the flash: Continuing to live life as a victim of circumstance, forever focusing on what's wrong with everything and everybody, will never, ever, bring the life desired. It will only bring one thing: more of whatever it is we're wanting so desperately to change.
Lynn Grabhorn (Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting: The Astonishing Power of Feelings)
Poetry is not simply a fashion of expression: it is the form of expression absolutely required by a certain class of ideas. Poetry, indeed, may be distinguished from Prose by the single circumstance, that it is the utterance of whatever in man cannot be perfectly uttered in any other than a rhythmical form: it is useless to say that the naked meaning is independent of the form: on the contrary, the form contributes essentially to the fullness of the meaning.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust)
How did you know? That she wasn't the one for him?" Now he's staring at his hands, slowing rubbing them together. "They just didn't have that . . . natural magic. You know? It never seemed easy." My voice grows tiny. "Do you think things have to be easy? For it to work?" Cricket's head shoots up, his eyes bulging as they grasp my meaning. "NO. I mean, yes, but . . . sometimes there are ... extenuating circumstances. That prevent it from being easy. For a while. But then people overcome those ...circumstances . . . and . . ." "So you believe in second chances?" I bite my lip. "Second, third, fourth. Whatever it takes. However long it takes. If the person is right," he adds. If the person is . . . Lola?" This time, he holds my gaze. "Only if the other person is Cricket." Chapter 27 Pg 273
Stephanie Perkins (Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2))
His mind was freshly inclined to sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow; that all were suffering; that whatever way one took in the world one must try to remember that all were suffering (non content all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but rather, its like had been felt, would yet be felt, by scores of others in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone, and given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it. All were in sorrow, or had been, or soon would be. It was the nature of things. Though on the surface is seemed every person was different, this was not true. At the core of each lay suffering; our eventual end; the many loses we must experience on the way to that end. We must try to see one another in this way. As suffering limited beings- Perennially outmatched by circumstance, inadequately endowed with compensatory graces. His sympathy extended to all in this instant, blundering in its strict logic, across all divides.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Forget Me Not)
So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment.
Thomas S. Monson
Everything in the universe is magnetic and everything has a magnetic frequency. Your feelings and thoughts have magnetic frequencies too... Whatever you feel, whether good or bad, determines your frequency, and like a magnet you attract the people, events, and circumstances that are on the same frequency.
Rhonda Byrne (The Power (The Secret, #2))
Hence, as long as China is divided among the imperialist powers, the various cliques of warlords cannot under any circumstances come to terms, and whatever compromises they may reach will only be temporary.
Mao Zedong (On Guerrilla Warfare)
To be courageous, these stories make clear, requires no exceptional qualifications, no magic formula, no special combination of time, place and circumstance. It is an opportunity that sooner or later is presented to us all. Politics merely furnishes one arena which imposes special tests of courage. In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follow his conscience - the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men - each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient - they can teach, they can offer hope, they provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.
John F. Kennedy (Profiles in Courage)
Whatever comes to you, you must engage it somehow. You receive it, you may alter the circumstance and let it go, you may interject something of your own into it, or you may knowingly let it pass. Whatever you do, there is no need to be apathetic toward life. Instead, full participation in all things is the surest way to happiness, vitality, success, and a deep knowledge of Tao.
Ming-Dao Deng (365 Tao: Daily Meditations)
Become the person of no rank. Become the noble soul, and live in this awakened way, not imitating anyone. Whatever the circumstances your life asks of you, respond to them in your own individual Zen-spirited way. Don't waste any time trying to be someone else...We are not here to have someone else's experience. We are here to have our own vivid experience. So please don't cling to yesterday, to what happened, to what didn't happen. And do not judge today by yesterday. Let us just live today to the fullest! Moment after moment, each sitting is the only sitting.
Maurine Stuart (Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart)
If I say: “I know that either it is raining or it is not raining,” this is a tautology. It is the opposite of a contradiction, in that it is true whatever the circumstances, but it says nothing as it applies to nothing in particular.
John Heaton (Introducing Wittgenstein: A Graphic Guide)
Whatever the circumstances may be, always put the Invisible before the visible, the Supernatural before the natural; if this rule is applied to all your actions, we know that you will be equipped with strength and bathed with deep joy.
Léon Bloy (Correspondance (1889-1890))
At the base of whatever form of mood swing are individual experiences, the gradual or complete focus on issues that we have no control over. These are issues or circumstances that naturally trigger worry.
Precious Avwunuma Emodamori
As he read the long poem, I began thinking that, unlike him, I had always found a way to avoid counting the days. We were leaving in three days—and then whatever I had with Oliver was destined to go up in thin air. We had talked about meeting in the States, and we had talked of writing and speaking by phone—but the whole thing had a mysteriously surreal quality kept intentionally opaque by both of us—not because we wanted to allow events to catch us unprepared so that we might blame circumstances and not ourselves, but because by not planning to keep things alive, we were avoiding the prospect that they might ever die. We had come to Rome in the same spirit of avoidance: Rome was a final bash before school and travel took us away, just a way of putting things off and extending the party long past closing time. Perhaps, without thinking, we had taken more than a brief vacation; we were eloping together with return-trip tickets to separate destinations.
André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
Show me someone who is humble enough to accept and take responsibility for his or her circumstances and courageous enough to take whatever initiative is necessary to creatively work his or her way through or around these challenges, and I'll show you the supreme power of choice.
Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change)
Life While-You-Wait. Performance without rehearsal. Body without alterations. Head without premeditation. I know nothing of the role I play. I only know it’s mine. I can’t exchange it. I have to guess on the spot just what this play’s all about. Ill-prepared for the privilege of living, I can barely keep up with the pace that the action demands. I improvise, although I loathe improvisation. I trip at every step over my own ignorance. I can’t conceal my hayseed manners. My instincts are for happy histrionics. Stage fright makes excuses for me, which humiliate me more. Extenuating circumstances strike me as cruel. Words and impulses you can’t take back, stars you’ll never get counted, your character like a raincoat you button on the run — the pitiful results of all this unexpectedness. If only I could just rehearse one Wednesday in advance, or repeat a single Thursday that has passed! But here comes Friday with a script I haven’t seen. Is it fair, I ask (my voice a little hoarse, since I couldn’t even clear my throat offstage). You’d be wrong to think that it’s just a slapdash quiz taken in makeshift accommodations. Oh no. I’m standing on the set and I see how strong it is. The props are surprisingly precise. The machine rotating the stage has been around even longer. The farthest galaxies have been turned on. Oh no, there’s no question, this must be the premiere. And whatever I do will become forever what I’ve done.
Wisława Szymborska (Map: Collected and Last Poems)
MICHAEL BERNARD BECKWITH Creation is always happening. Every time an individual has a thought, or a prolonged chronic way of thinking, they’re in the creation process. Something is going to manifest out of those thoughts. What you are thinking now is creating your future life. You create your life with your thoughts. Because you are always thinking, you are always creating. What you think about the most or focus on the most, is what will appear as your life. Like all the laws of nature, there is utter perfection in this law. You create your life. Whatever you sow, you reap! Your thoughts are seeds, and the harvest you reap will depend on the seeds you plant. If you are complaining, the law of attraction will powerfully bring into your life more situations for you to complain about. If you are listening to someone else complain and focusing on that, sympathizing with them, agreeing with them, in that moment, you are attracting more situations to yourself to complain about. The law is simply reflecting and giving back to you exactly what you are focusing on with your thoughts. With this powerful knowledge, you can completely change every circumstance and event in your entire life, by changing the way you think.
Rhonda Byrne (The Secret)
It is dangerous for us to allow our difficulties to reside in the forefront of our thinking. Rather, our focus should always remain on our matchless God, who can triumph over any trouble we bring to Him. When God said no to one blessing, it was so I could experience a greater one later on. God speaks to you and me through every situation, but hearing Him is dependent upon our anticipating and paying attention to His instruction. Regardless of the circumstances we experience, we know God is teaching us something, and we will intentionally and eagerly learn and apply whatever it is. There are many days when I cannot wait to get home and be alone with the Father. I am eager to leave behind all the stresses and decisions, change out of my suit and tie, go into my prayer closet, open God’s Word, and relax in His loving arms. Many times I don’t need to say a word. I simply want to hear from the Lord, experiencing His peaceful wisdom and loving presence. There is nothing better in life than just being with Him.
Charles F. Stanley (The Ultimate Conversation)
HOW TO ASCERTAIN THE WILL OF GOD I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is. 2.—Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions. 3.—I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them. 4.—Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit. 5.—I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright. 6.—Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective. GEORGE MÜLLER.
George Müller (Answers to Prayer From George Müller's Narratives)
So many people have asked me what to do for depressed friends and relatives, and my answer is actually simple: blunt their isolation. Do it with cups of tea or with long talks or by sitting in a room nearby and staying silent or in whatever way suits the circumstances, but do that. And do it willingly.
Andrew Solomon (The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression)
Implicit [in the psychiatric literature] is a set of normative assumptions regarding the father's prerogatives and the mother's obligations within the family, The father, like the children, is presumed to be entitled to the mother's love, nurturance, and care. In fact, his dependent needs actually supersede those of the children, for if a mother falls to provide the accustomed intentions, it is taken for granted that some other female must be found to take her place. The oldest daughter is a frequent choice... The father's wish, indeed his right, to continue to receive female nurturance, whatever the circumstances, is accepted without question.
Judith Lewis Herman (Father-Daughter Incest: With a New Afterword)
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:11–13 NIV)
Max Lucado (Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World)
The essence of intelligent living is to do what you can and must do while thriving with the unknown, with uncertainty. So, don’t wish the darkness away, don’t wait for the clouds to clear, embrace your current reality and do whatever you can best do in the circumstances. You will be amazed with how happy you can really be with what is.
AVIS Viswanathan
Whatever reader desires to have a thorough comprehension of an author's thoughts cannot take a better method than by putting himself into the circumstances and postures of life that the author was in upon every important passage as it flowed from his pen; for this will introduce a parity and strict correspondence of ideas between the reader and the author. Now, to assist the diligent reader in so delicate an affair, as far as brevity will permit, I have recollected that the shrewdest pieces of this treatise were conceived in bed in a garret; at other times (for a reason best known to myself) I thought fit to sharpen my invention with hunger; and in general, the whole work was begun, continued, and ended under a long course of physic and great want of money.
Jonathan Swift (A Tale of a Tub)
Every man should keep minutes of whatever he reads. Every circumstance of his studies should be recorded; what books he has consulted; how much of them he has read; at what times; how often the same authors; and what opinions he formed of them, at different periods of his life. Such an account would much illustrate the history of his mind.
James Boswell (Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides)
But this proportion must in every nation be regulated by two different circumstances: first, by the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which its labour is generally applied; and, secondly, by the proportion between the number of those who are employed in useful labour, and that of those who are not so employed. Whatever be the soil, climate, or extent of territory of any particular nation, the abundance or scantiness of its annual supply must, in that particular situation, depend upon those two circumstances.
Adam Smith (An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations)
In any situation in life, being adaptable is the only way to grow and succeed. You may have skills that you’ve perfected, a certain worldview that worked for you at a particular stage – but the reality is that circumstances change, and you can’t be prepared for everything. Lowering your resistance to change, removing bias and being willing to adapt will help you tackle whatever comes your way. Once you’ve assessed the resources at your disposal and weighed what is feasible against what is risky you will see the path.
Viswanathan Anand (Mind Master: Winning Lessons From A Champion's Life)
Love is immune to whatever circumstance.
Unarine Ramaru
It is hard to fight with one’s heart’s desire. Whatever it wishes to get, it purchases at the cost of soul.
Bertrand Russell (A History of Western Philosophy: And Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day)
Adrian's fragment also refers to the question of responsibility: whether there's a chain of it, or whether we draw the concept more narrowly. I'm all for drawing it narrowly. Sorry, no, you can't blame your dead parents, or having brothers and sisters, or not having them, or your genes, or society, or whatever - not in normal circumstances. Start with the notion that yours is the sole responsibility unless there's powerful evidence to the contrary.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
Whatever your present circumstances, my sincere prayer is that this book may help you to do the following: Believe and experience daily God's infinite love for you. Hear when God is speaking to you. Identify God's unmistakable activity in your life. Believe Him to be and to do everything He promises. Adjust your beliefs, character, and behavior to Him and His ways. Identify a direction He is taking in your life, and recognize what He wants to do through you. Know clearly how to respond to what He shows you. Experience God doing through you what only He can do.
Henry T. Blackaby (Experiencing God)
Yet some would say, why women's history at all? Surely men and women have always shared a world, and suffered together all its rights and wrongs? It is a common belief that whatever the situation, both sexes faced it alike. But the male peasant, however cruelly oppressed, always had the right to beat his wife. The black slave had to labor for the white master by day, but he did not have to service him by night as well. This grim pattern continues to this day, with women bearing an extra ration of pain and misery whatever the circumstances, as the sufferings of the women of war-torn Eastern Europe will testify. While their men fought and died, wholesale and systematic rape—often accompanied by the same torture and death that the men suffered— was a fate only women had to endure. Women's history springs from moments of recognition such as this, and the awareness of the difference is still very new. Only in our time have historians begun to look at the historical experience of men and women separately, and to acknowledge that for most of our human past, women's interests have been opposed to those of men. Women's interests have been opposed by them, too: men have not willingly extended to women the rights and freedoms they have claimed for themselves. As a result, historical advances have tended to be "men only" affairs. When history concentrates solely on one half of the human race, any alternative truth or reality is lost. Men dominate history because they write it, and their accounts of active, brave, clever or aggressive females constantly tend to sentimentalize, to mythologize or to pull women back to some perceived "norm." As a result, much of the so-called historical record is simply untrue.
Rosalind Miles (Who Cooked the Last Supper?: The Women's History of the World)
I, to whom nature had denied the impromptu faculty; who, in public, was by nature a cypher; whose time of mental activity, even when alone, was not under the meridian sun; who needed the fresh silence of morning, or the recluse peace of evening, to win from the Creative Impulse one evidence of his presence, one proof of his force; I, with whom that Impulse was the most intractable, the most capricious, the most maddening of masters (him before me always excepted)--a deity, which sometimes, under circumstances apparently propitious, would not speak when questioned, would not hear when appealed to, would not, when sought, be found; but would stand, all cold, all indurated, all granite, a dark Baal with carven lips and blank eye-balls, and breast like the stone face of a tomb; and again, suddenly, at some turn, some sound, some long-trembling sob of the wind, at some rushing past of an unseen stream of electricity, the irrational demon would wake unsolicited, would stir strangely alive, would rush from its pedestral like a perturbed Dagon, calling to its votary for a sacrifice, whatever the hour--to its victim for some blood or some breath, whatever the circumstance or scene--rousing its priest, treacherously promising vaticanation, perhaps filling its temple with a strange hum of oracles, but sure to give half the significance to fateful winds, and grudging to the desperate listener even a miserable remnant--yielding it sordidly, as though each word had been a drop of the deathless ichor of its own dark veins.
Charlotte Brontë (Villette)
The world you see, nature's greatest and most glorious creation, and the human mind which gazes and wonders at it, and is the most splendid part of it, these are our own everlasting possessions and will remain with us as long as we ourselves remain. So, eager and upright, let us hasten with bold steps wherever circumstances take us, and let us journey through any countries whatever: there can be no place of exile within the world since nothing within the world is alien to men.
Seneca
One’s lack of confidence over oneself contributes to one’s downfall, even if such a downfall is avoidable. It diminishes whatever probabilities there are of overcoming the hurdles on the path to our success. It strips us of our ability to win a battle even when the circumstances favor us. Most of our strength, capacity and resilience gets nullified when we harbor the slightest of doubts over our own adequacies. The more the sense of insecurity, the closer we move towards defeat.
Nihar Satpathy (The Puzzles of Life)
I certainly never felt rejected because they had given me up. My parents knew nothing about my birth mother, yet always explained with certainty that she didn't "give me up" or "give me away" - she made a plan for me, the best one she could make under her circumstances, whatever those were.
Emily Giffin (Where We Belong)
Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be,
Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Forget Me Not)
... He looked at me in a really surprised way, and I could tell he was thinking, "I didn't mean it as a compliment!" Of course, I knew his words weren't spoken with care and concern, but I chose to take it as a compliment and turn it into a gift that I offered in return. No matter the circumstance, love can withstand any type of judgment or ridicule and turn it into something more redeeming as a gift for every heart.
Matt Kahn (Whatever Arises, Love That: A Love Revolution That Begins with You)
Fear can change you if you let. Even a proud,strong woman can become a whimpering mess if her fear overwhelms her. Terror reaches inside you and twists your mind, colors your decisions, and limits your options. If I'm going to live my life under the constant threat of death, then I'm going to live it on my terms. And when I do die, I want people to remember me as I am, not as whatever creature my fear wants to turn me into." ... "My circumstances have taken certain choices from me. I'll be damned if I let fear take any more...
Jennifer Blackstream (One Bite (Blood Prince, #2))
I knew then that life was no respecter of circumstance. The force that flings disasters at us doesn't say " Well, I won't give her that lump in her breast for another year. Best to let her recover from the death of her mother first." It just goes right on ahead and does whatever it feels like, whenever it feels like it.
Marian Keyes (Watermelon (Walsh Family, #1))
What the hell kind of message were you supposed to send under these circumstances? Tell him I committed suicide because I couldn't bear the idea of Carnac shoving his cock down my throat and expecting me to be grateful for it? Tell him I'm going to miss him, for however long it takes them to kill me? Tell him I'm sorry that the last thing we did together was argue and not fuck? Tell him that he was the best fuck in the world? "Tell him I..." And his eyes started to sting from looking at her, seeing her crying for him. No one else ever had. "You're the admin—just tell him something. Whatever you think he'd like to hear. Make it sound good.
Manna Francis (First Against the Wall (The Administration, #6))
like, when I look into myself, there’s no actual me—just a bunch of thoughts and behaviors and circumstances. And a lot of them just don’t feel like they’re mine. They’re not things I want to think or do or whatever.
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
I cried hard for everything. For nothing. For myself. For my parents. For the lives that we were supposed to have. For the stupid life that we did have. For the circumstances that made my father and mother who they were. I wanted to believe that they were better people. I cried for who they were and who they wanted to be. I cried for everything being so fucked up. I cried because I didn't see any future in front of me except for the bottom of Liam's closet. Whatever life I had hoped to have was gone and irreversibly changed. I felt sure of that.
Phuc Tran (Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In)
Whether in business or in life, you can be civil and get ahead. Whatever your age or circumstance, you can master civility. So what are you doing today to connect with others? What kind of legacy are you leaving? Are you lifting people up or holding them down? In each moment we get to choose who we want to be. Who do you want to be?
Christine Porath (Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace)
Surrender does not mean to sit and do nothing; nor does surrender mean to give up or relinquish your power. Surrender means you relax into acceptance of where you are and what is happening around you. You let your body release the tension and angst of you trying to control the outcome of how you think things should be. It is letting go, and letting it be so that whatever the situation or circumstance is trying to reveal to you can be shown to you.
Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley (The Gift of Crisis: How I Used Meditation to Go From Financial Failure to a Life of Purpose)
I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (The Presidents of the United States (Biographies, Inaugural Addresses, Key Dates, Fully Illustrated, and more))
I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.
Rhonda Byrne (The Power (The Secret, #2))
Some behaviors that seem harsh to us now ensured the survival of early man in whatever swamp he was in at the time. Without them, we wouldn’t be here. We still store those instincts in our genes, and they express themselves when certain circumstances prevail. Some parts of us will always be what we were, what we had to be to survive—way back yonder.
Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing)
Happily ever after isn't a solution to life's problems or a guarantee that life will be easy; it's a promise we make ourselves to always live our best lives, despite whatever circumstance comes our way. You don't get there by being perfect; on the contrary, it's our humanity that guides us. And that's what fairy tales have been trying to teach us all along.
Chris Colfer (Worlds Collide (The Land of Stories, #6))
Where God may place you at anytime and under whatever circumstances , recollect that it is all for the best . Endeavour to go through life leaving your burdens in His hands . He is the Preserver , He is the Guide , He is all in all .
Anandamayi Ma
...all life is a servitude. So you have to get used to your circumstances, complain about them as little as possible, and grasp whatever advantage they have to offer: no condition is so bitter that a stable mind cannot find some consolation in it.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
The national bourgeoisie discovers its historical mission as intermediary. As we have seen, its vocation is not to transform the nation but prosaically serve as a conveyor belt for capitalism, forced to camouflage itself behind the mask of neocolonialism. The national bourgeoisie, with no misgivings and with great pride, revels in the role of agent in its dealings with the Western bourgeoisie. This lucrative role, this function as small-time racketeer, this narrow-mindedness and lack of ambition are symptomatic of the incapacity of the national bourgeoisie to fulfil its historic role as bourgeoisie. The dynamic, pioneering aspect, the inventive, discoverer-of-new-worlds aspect common to every national bourgeoisie is here lamentably absent. At the core of the national bourgeoisie of the colonial countries a hedonistic mentality prevails—because on a psychological level it identifies with the Western bourgeoisie from which it has slurped every lesson. It mimics the Western bourgeoisie in its negative and decadent aspects without having accomplished the initial phases of exploration and invention that are the assets of this Western bourgeoisie whatever the circumstances. In its early days the national bourgeoisie of the colonial countries identifies with the last stages of the Western bourgeoisie. Don’t believe it is taking short cuts. In fact it starts at the end. It is already senile, having experienced neither the exuberance nor the brazen determination of youth and adolescence.
Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)
From this day onward whatever circumstances may jam my way I'll break through it unscathed for in the end who will but suffer but me, so much so that I will reach for the unreachable, I'll break that which is unbreakable and attain that is impossible!
Liliosa Hilao
Journeys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will - whatever we may think. They flower spontaneously out of the demands of our natures - and the best of them lead us not only outwards in space, but inwards as well. Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection....
Lawrence Durrell (Bitter Lemons of Cyprus)
We’re all assigned a piece of the garden, a corner of the universe that is ours to transform. Our corner of the universe is our own life—our relationships, our homes, our work, our current circumstances—exactly as they are. Every situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity, perfectly planned by the Holy Spirit, to teach love instead of fear. Whatever energy system we find ourselves a part of, it’s our job to heal it—to purify the thought forms by purifying our own. It’s never really a circumstance that needs to change—it’s we who need to change. The prayer isn’t for God to change our lives, but rather for Him to change us.
Marianne Williamson (Return to Love)
Lola: Do you think things have to be easy? For it to work? Cricket: NO. I mean, yes, but... sometimes there are... extenuating circumstances. That prevent it from being easy. For a while. But then people overcome those... circumstances... and... Lola: So you believe in second chances? Cricket: Second, third, fourth. Whatever it takes. However long it takes. If the person is right.
Stephanie Perkins (Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2))
Take every minute, one at a time. Don’t be fooled by a perfect sea at any given moment. Accept and rise to whatever circumstance presents itself. Be in it full tilt, your best self. Summon your courage, your true grit. When the body fades, don’t let negative edges of despair creep in. Allowing flecks of negativity leads to a Pandora’s box syndrome. You can’t stop the doubts once you consent to let them seep into your tired, weakened brain. You must set your will. Set it now. Let nothing penetrate or cripple it.
Diana Nyad (Find a Way)
The apostle Paul wrote that he'd learned to be content in whatever circumstances he was in. I used to think I was content, but now I could see that my contentment was based upon how well I controlled the circumstances of my life, not upon my trust in a loving God.
Robin Lee Hatcher (The Perfect Life)
Whatever your problems are, the concept is the same: solve problems; be happy. Unfortunately, for many people, life doesn’t feel that simple. That’s because they fuck things up in at least one of two ways: 1. Denial. Some people deny that their problems exist in the first place. And because they deny reality, they must constantly delude or distract themselves from reality. This may make them feel good in the short term, but it leads to a life of insecurity, neuroticism, and emotional repression. 2. Victim Mentality. Some choose to believe that there is nothing they can do to solve their problems, even when they in fact could. Victims seek to blame others for their problems or blame outside circumstances. This may make them feel better in the short term, but it leads to a life of anger, helplessness, and despair.
Mark Manson. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.”
In my opinion, Jan is mistaken in thinking that the border is a line that crosses a man’s life at a specific point, that it marks a break in time, a particular second on the clock of a human life. No. I am certain, on the contrary, that the border is constantly with us, irrespective of time and our stage of life, that it is omnipresent, even though circumstances might make it more or less visible. The woman Jan had loved most was right to say she held onto life by a spider thread. It takes so little, a tiny puff of air, for things to shift imperceptibly, and whatever it was that a man was ready to lay down his life for a few seconds earlier seems suddenly to be sheer nonsense.
Milan Kundera (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)
Adults can change their circumstances; children cannot. Children are powerless, and in difficult situations they are the victims of every sorrow and mischance and rage around them, for children feel all of these things but without any of the ability that adults have to change them. Whatever can take a child beyond such circumstances, therefore, is an alleviation and a blessing. I quickly found for myself two such blessings—the natural world, and the world of writing: literature. These were the gates through which I vanished from a difficult place.
Mary Oliver (Upstream: Selected Essays)
It’s nothing more than a mental habit to idealize another time, another condition, another reality. It is simply a way to avoid the reality of our lives right now. And in avoiding the reality of our present circumstances, we avoid the miracles they offer. Everyone does it because that’s the way the ego mind works. But we can stare down this self-defeating habit and cultivate a truer perspective: that wherever we are is the perfect place, and whatever time it is now is the perfect time. That doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t improve things, particularly ourselves. But indulging the thought that if only we were somewhere else things would be better is a surefire way to experience pain.
Marianne Williamson (A Year of Miracles: Daily Devotions and Reflections)
The happy man, therefore, is he who can make a right judgment in all things: he is happy who in his present circumstances, whatever they may be, is satisfied and on friendly terms with the conditions of his life. That man is happy, whose reason recommends to him the whole posture of his affairs.
Seneca (On the Happy Life)
Yeah, but like, I just wanna ask her if she wants to go with me to Cold Stone or whatever. Get some ice cream,” grumbled Ty. “You’re doing too much.” “See, you don’t even need my help! You got a plan,” said Shane encouragingly. “Just ask her out tomorrow. And be confident with it. If you believe you’re that dude, she will, too.” “Maybe I should ask her if she’s lactose intolerant first.” “Under no circumstances should you do that.” “Nah, you right.
Tia Williams (Seven Days in June)
Because the truth is, we never know for sure about ourselves. Who we'll sleep with if given the opportunity, who we'll betray in the right circumstance, whose faith and love we will reward with our own....Only after we've done a thing do we know what we'll do, and by then whatever we've done has already begun to sever itself from clear significance, at least for the doer. Which is why we have spouses and children and parents and colleagues and friends, because someone has to know us better than we know ourselves. We need them to tell us. We need them to say, 'I know you, Al. You're not the kind of man who.
Richard Russo (Straight Man)
At all times, do not lose courage in your inner awareness; uplift yourself, while assuming a humble position in your outer demeanor. Follow the example of the life and complete liberation of previous accomplished masters (siddha). Do not blame your past karma; instead, be someone who purely and flawlessly practices the dharma. Do not blame temporary negative circumstances; instead, be someone who remains steadfast in the face of whatever circumstances may arise.
Dudjom Rinpoche (Wisdom Nectar: Dudjom Rinpoche's Heart Advice)
You and I, we’re responsible for our own flourishing. We’re responsible for not letting our happiness depend on external circumstances—we shouldn’t let the rain, annoying strangers, or a leaking washing machine decide upon our wellbeing. Otherwise, we become helpless victims of life circumstances out of hand. As a Stoic student, you learn that only you can ruin your life and only you can refuse to let your inner self be conquered by whatever nasty challenge life throws at you.
Jonas Salzgeber (The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence, and Calmness)
To accept something, you must be happy about it, or at least okay with it. You can accept your circumstances (acknowledge they are real) while still disliking them strongly. You don’t have to like everything, but if you want to preserve your sanity, you have to accept whatever comes into your life before you can change it.
Brianna Wiest (101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think)
Contentment is taking your present situation—whatever obstacles you are facing, whatever limitation you are living with, whatever chronic condition wears you down, whatever has smashed your dreams, whatever factors and circumstances in life tend to push you under—and admitting you don’t like it but never saying, “I can’t cope with it.
John C. Maxwell (Be A People Person: Effective Leadership Through Effective Relationships)
When I visit the past now, it is for wisdom and experience, not for regret or shame. I don’t attempt to erase it, only to accept it. Whatever my physical circumstances are today, I will deal with them and remain present. If I fall, I will rise up. As for the future, I haven’t been there yet. I only know that I have one. Until I don’t. The last thing we run out of is the future. Really, it comes down to gratitude. I am grateful for all of it—every bad break, every wrong turn, and the unexpected losses—because they’re real. It puts into sharp relief the joy, the accomplishments, the overwhelming love of my family. I can be both a realist and an optimist. Lemonade, anyone?
Michael J. Fox (No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality)
JANUARY 26 GIVE UP THE ILLUSION that you deserve a problem-free life. Part of you is still hungering for the resolution of all difficulties. This is a false hope! As I told My disciples, in the world you will have trouble. Link your hope not to problem solving in this life but to the promise of an eternity of problem-free life in heaven. Instead of seeking perfection in this fallen world, pour your energy into seeking Me: the Perfect One. It is possible to enjoy Me and glorify Me in the midst of adverse circumstances. In fact, My Light shines most brightly through believers who trust Me in the dark. That kind of trust is supernatural: a production of My indwelling Spirit. When things seem all wrong, trust Me anyway. I am much less interested in right circumstances than in right responses to whatever comes your way. JOHN 16:33; PSALM 112:4,
Sarah Young (Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence)
Once a day, stop whatever you are doing and notice 2 things that you are grateful for in your situation or circumstance and in your physical space. Make a habit of this and truly expand your heart to receiving more to be grateful for. There is more than enough reason to feel grateful always; acknowledge that and where possible, give thanks for it.
Malti Bhojwani (Don't Think Of a Blue Ball)
William Ernest Henley Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.
Preeti Shenoy (Life is What You Make It: A Story of Love, Hope and How Determination Can Overcome Even Destiny)
Enlightenment is a paradoxical phenomenon. You need to be commited to become enlightenment, and to do whatever is necessary to make it happen. But at the same time you can not force enlightenment to happen by sheer will. It is like the situation with happiness: you can not force happiness to happen, but you can create the right circumstances for happiness to happen. You need to be willing to die, to let go of your limited sense of “I”, to achieve enlightenment. I can feel a deepening thirst to die, to dissolve into the silence, in my heart and being.
Swami Dhyan Giten (Presence - Working from Within. The Psychology of Being)
As long as this exists,” I thought, “this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?” The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity. As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer. Oh, who knows, perhaps it won’t be long before I can share this overwhelming feeling of happiness with someone who feels the same as I do.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
It happens in humans, too. Some behaviors that seem harsh to us now ensured the survival of early man in whatever swamp he was in at the time. Without them, we wouldn't be here.We still store those instincts in our genes, and they express themselves when certain circumstances prevail. Some parts of us will always be what we were, what we had to be to survive-way back yonder.
Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing)
In this moment, however you are searching, stop. Whether you are searching for peace and happiness in a relationship, in a better job, or even in world peace, just for one moment stop absolutely. There is nothing wrong with these pursuits, but if you are engaging in them to get peace or to get happiness, you are overlooking the ground of peace that is already here. Once you discover this ground of peace, then whatever pursuits you engage in will be informed by your discovery. Then you will naturally bring what you have discovered to the world, to politics, to all your relationships. This discovery has infinite, complex ramifications, but the essence of it is very simple. If you will stop all activity, just for one instant, even for one-tenth of a second, and simply be utterly still, you will recognize the inherent spaciousness of your being that is already happy and at peace with itself. Because of our conditioning, we normally dismiss this ground of peace with an immediate, “Yes, but what about my life? I have responsibilities. I need to keep busy. The absolute doesn’t relate to my world, my existence.” These conditioned thoughts just reinforce further conditioning. But if you will take a moment to recognize the peace that is already alive within you, you then actually have the choice to trust it in all your endeavors, in all your relationships, in every circumstance of your life. It doesn’t mean that your life will be swept clean of conflicts, challenges, pain, or suffering. It means that you will have recognized a sanctuary where the truth of yourself is present, where the truth of God is present, regardless of the physical, mental, or emotional circumstances of your life.
Gangaji (The Diamond in Your Pocket: Discovering Your True Radiance)
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11–13
Susan Rohrer (Secrets of the Dry Bones: Ezekiel 37:1-14 - The Mystery of a Prophet's Vision (Illuminated Bible Study Guides Series))
Of all difficulties which impede the progress of thought, and the formation of well-grounded opinions on life and social arrangements, the greatest is now the unspeakable ignorance and inattention of mankind in respect to the influences which form human character. Whatever any portion of the human species now are, or seem to be, such, it is supposed, they have a natural tendency to be: even when the most elementary knowledge of the circumstances in which they have been placed, clearly points out the causes that made them what they are. —John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women (1869)
Cordelia Fine (Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences)
We are, in a certain way, defined as much by our potential as by its expression. There is a great difference between an acorn and a little bit of wood carved into an acorn shape, a difference not always readily apparent to the naked eye. The difference is there even if an acorn never has the opportunity to plant itself and become an oak. Remembering its potential changes the way in which we think of an acorn and react to it. How we value it. If an acorn were conscious, knowing its potential would change the way it might think and feel about itself. The Hindus use the greeting "Namaste" instead of our more noncommittal "Hello." The connotation of this is roughly, whatever your outer appearance, I see and greet the soul in you. There is a wisdom in such ways of relating. Sometimes we can best help other people by remembering that what we believe about them may be reflected back to them in our presence and may affect them in ways we do not fully understand. Perhaps a sense of possibility is communicated by our tone of voice, facial expression, or certain choice of words . . . Holding and conveying a sense of possibility does not mean making demands or having expectations. It may mean having no expectations, but simply being open to whatever promise the situation may hold and remembering the inability of anyone to know the future. Thoreau said that we must awaken and stay awake not by mechanical means, but by a constant expectation of the dawn. There's no need to demand the dawn, the dawn is simply a matter of time. And patience. And the dawn may look quite different from the story we tell ourselves about it. My experience has shown me the wisdom of remaining open to the possibility of growth in any and all circumstances, without ever knowing what shape that growth may take.
Rachel Naomi Remen (Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal)
He taught all to look upon themselves as endowed with precious talents, which if rightly employed would secure for them eternal riches. He weeded all vanity from life, and by His own example taught that every moment of time is fraught with eternal results; that it is to be cherished as a treasure, and to be employed for holy purposes. He passed by no human being as worthless, but sought to apply the saving remedy to every soul. In whatever company He found Himself, He presented a lesson that was appropriate to the time and the circumstances. He sought to inspire with hope the most rough and unpromising, setting before them the assurance that they might become blameless and harmless, attaining such a character as would make them manifest as the children of God. Often He met those who had drifted under Satan’s control, and who had no power to break from his snare. To such a one, discouraged, sick, tempted, and fallen, Jesus would speak words of tenderest pity, words that were needed and could be understood.
Ellen Gould White (The Desire of Ages (Conflict of the Ages Series))
Nobody is in control of who they are when they’re born,” she continued. “You’re born into the family you’re born into and you’re born into the circumstances you’re born into. So you just have to take what you can from where you’re at and not compare yourself to other people. You have to look at your path and know that whatever got you there, and where you’re going, is unique to you. You weren’t supposed to be any other way.
Alex Banayan (The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World's Most Successful People Launched Their Careers)
is a series of promises.” When she’d realized that—marriage equaled promises—she hadn’t feared it. As much. “Maybe you can’t keep them all. The whole till-death-do-us-part business. Maybe you can’t keep that one. Life can be long, and people change, circumstances change, so okay. You realize you don’t really want this life or this person, or the person you made the promises to isn’t who you thought, or they’ve changed in a way you can’t accept or support. Whatever. You make a choice. Stick and try to work it through, or don’t. But don’t give me the boo-hoo, I’m not happy so I’m getting naked with somebody else on the side. It insults everybody.
J.D. Robb (Festive in Death (In Death, #39))
An ideal feminist world would not be one in which abortions were free and common, but one in which women would have greater control over pregnancy, and in which the circumstances that make pregnancies unwanted, would have been transformed. Until then, in a hugely imperfect, unfair and sexist world, I believe feminists must defend women's access to legal and safe abortions, whenever they decide to have them, whatever the reason for their decision.
Nivedita Menon (Seeing Like a Feminist)
We unthinkingly build the pilings of our lives upon whatever comes along. Like it or not, we play the hand that fate deals us. If fate is kind, some people credit their fortuitous circumstances to their ingenuity and resoluteness. If fate is cruel, some people curse God. The truth is that an unenlightened person resists suffering, they continually wish for a world different than it is, whereas an enlightened person learns how to suffer heroically.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
I am. I always was. I always am. I shall always be. The past and the future meet in the eternal now. I am the eternal now. I exist. I am. I am in the past. I am in the future. I am in the now. One is all, and all are one. We are one. Everything I see is a part of myself. Everything I can imagine is a part of myself. I could not imagine something that is not. Everyone I interact with is a part of myself. Whatever I put out, I get it back. My state of being matters, it crystallises in my circumstances. The way I respond to my circumstances reinforces my state of being. When I see an echo of an old belief I respond with peace in my heart. My actions are matched with the highest version of myself I can imagine in that moment. Everything changes, and everything transforms from one form of life to yet another. It is a constant flow of life. It is the heart of all existence. Nothing can perish, nothing can cease being. I am always new. I am always history free. I am always consequence free. Yet I can create an illusion of consequence. Everything is possible, yet not everything is probable. It all depends on my synchronicity. What I choose to explore shall present itself to me. What I believe to be true, is true. All illusions are made out of different beliefs. Yet there is only one knowledge. It is the wisdom of old, yet new. The thought gains the power, when it merges with the feeling. I feel what I desire. I always receive what I ask for. I always manifest instantly with no effort. My wisdom is to be aware of what I request. So it be. So it is. I ask for love, and I welcome bliss.
Raphael Zernoff
Screens of tumbling water, breaking the world beyond them into glittering lines and smeared shadows. Kellhus had ceased trying to penetrate them. “Power,” Anasûrimbor Moënghus said, “is always power over. When an infant may be either, what is the difference between a Fanim and an Inrithi? Or between a Nansur and a Scylvendi? What could be so malleable in Men that anyone, split between circumstances, could be his own murderer? “You learned this lesson quickly. You looked across Wilderness and you saw thousands upon thousands of them, their backs bent to the field, their legs spread to the ceiling, their mouths reciting scripture, their arms hammering steel … Thousands upon thousands of them, each one a small circle of repeating actions, each one a wheel in the great machine of nations … “You understood that when men stop bowing, the emperor ceases to rule, that when the whips are thrown into the river, the slave ceases to serve. For an infant to be an emperor or a slave or a merchant or a whore or a general or whatever, those about him must act accordingly. And Men act as they believe. “You saw them, in their thousands, spread across the world in great hierarchies, the actions of each exquisitely attuned to the expectations of others. The identity of Men, you discovered, was determined by the beliefs, the assumptions, of others. This is what makes them emperors or slaves … Not their gods. Not their blood. “Nations live as Men act,” Moënghus said, his voice refracted through the ambient rush of waters. “Men act as they believe. And Men believe as they are conditioned. Since they are blind to their conditioning, they do not doubt their intuitions …” Kellhus nodded in wary assent. “They believe absolutely,” he said.
R. Scott Bakker (The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, #3))
We often forget that we are as we are until we're not. We are the same until we're changed. We can move that a bit further by putting into place healthy habits and to show up to our lives in a way that fosters growth, but we can't game timing. Timing is the one thing that we often forget to surrender to. Things are dark until they're not. Most of our unhappiness stems from the belief that our lives should be different than they are. We believe we have control -- and our self-loathing and self-hatred comes from this idea that we should be able to change our circumstances, that we should be richer or hotter or better or happier. While self-responsibility is empowering, it can often lead to this resentment and bitterness that none of us need to be holding within us. We have to put in our best efforts and then give ourselves permission to let whatever happens to happen--and to not feel so directly and vulnerably tied to outcomes. Opportunities often don't show up in the way we think they will. You don't need more motivation or inspiration to create the life you want. You need less shame around the idea that you're not doing your best. You need to stop listening to people who are in vastly different life circumstances and life stages than you tell you that you're just not doing or being enough. You need to let timing do what it needs to do. You need to see lessons where you see barriers. You need to understand that what's right now becomes inspiration later. You need to see that wherever you are now is what becomes your identity later. Sometimes we're not yet the people we need to be in order to contain the desires we have. Sometimes we have to let ourselves evolve into the place where we can allow what we want to transpire.
Jamie Varon
But I will tell you in all honesty that there is no Deity or Messiah, no Jesus or Muhammad, no angel or mythical spirit who can save you. Not even Buddha can save you, even if he or any of the other spirits wished it with all of their might, for your only salvation, if there is any, lies within you and you alone. Each of us has the potential for good as well as evil; it is whatever circumstances we find ourselves in and what choices we make in life which really takes us down one or the other path.
Andrew James Pritchard
The privileges of the clergy in those ancient times (which to us, who live in the present times, appear the most absurd), their total exemption from the secular jurisdiction, for example, or what in England was called the benefit of clergy, were the natural, or rather the necessary, consequences of this state of things. How dangerous must it have been for the sovereign to attempt to punish a clergyman for any crime whatever, if his order were disposed to protect him, and to represent either the proof as insufficient for convicting so holy a man, or the punishment as too severe to be inflicted upon one whose person had been rendered sacred by religion? The sovereign could, in such circumstances, do no better than leave him to be tried by the ecclesiastical courts, who, for the honour of their own order, were interested to restrain, as much as possible, every member of it from committing enormous crimes, or even from giving occasion to such gross scandal as might disgust the minds of the people.
Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations)
Often the circumstances in which we lost our self-esteem were relationships distinguished by a steeply unequal power balance. Our spellcasters were parents. Teachers. Bullies. So-called friends. Strangers. Romantic partners. Cliques. Coworkers. Your spellcaster was the mean first grader. Or the psycho in the dark. Or the town, school, Scout troop, spiritual community, family, neighborhood that did not understand your type, whatever that type was. Your spellcaster could even be society at large, that nameless, faceless "them" with boundless power and a thousand biases. And it became unbearable to be the bullied one, the hounded one, the outcast and excluded one. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, the old saying goes. Others hated us, or appeared to. We joined 'em.
Anneli Rufus (Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself)
I once believed that life was a gift. I thought whatever I wanted I would someday possess. Is that greed, or only youth? Is it hope or stupidity? As far as I was concerned the future was a book I could write to suit myself, chapter after chapter of good fortune. All was right with the world, and my place in it was assured, or so I thought then. I had no idea that all stories unfold like white flowers, petal by petal, each in its own time and season, dependant on circumstances and fate. ~ Green Heart, Alice Hoffman
Alice Hoffman
Among this bewildering multiplicity of ideals which shall we choose? The answer is that we shall choose none. For it is clear that each one of these contradictory ideals is the fruit of particular social circumstances. To some extent, of course, this is true of every thought and aspiration that has ever been formulated. Some thoughts and aspirations, however, are manifestly less dependent on particular social circumstances than others. And here a significant fact emerges: all the ideals of human behaviour formulated by those who have been most successful in freeing themselves from the prejudices of their time and place are singularly alike. Liberation from prevailing conventions of thought, feeling and behaviour is accomplished most effectively by the practice of disinterested virtues and through direct insight into the real nature of ultimate reality. (Such insight is a gift, inherent in the individual; but, though inherent, it cannot manifest itself completely except where certain conditions are fulfilled. The principal pre-condition of insight is, precisely, the practice of disinterested virtues.) To some extent critical intellect is also a liberating force. But the way in which intellect is used depends upon the will. Where the will is not disinterested, the intellect tends to be used (outside the non-human fields of technology, science or pure mathematics) merely as an instrument for the rationalization of passion and prejudice, the justification of self-interest. That is why so few even of die acutest philosophers have succeeded in liberating themselves completely from the narrow prison of their age and country. It is seldom indeed that they achieve as much freedom as the mystics and the founders of religion. The most nearly free men have always been those who combined virtue with insight. Now, among these freest of human beings there has been, for the last eighty or ninety generations, substantial agreement in regard to the ideal individual. The enslaved have held up for admiration now this model of a man, now that; but at all times and in all places, the free have spoken with only one voice. It is difficult to find a single word that will adequately describe the ideal man of the free philosophers, the mystics, the founders of religions. 'Non-attached* is perhaps the best. The ideal man is the non-attached man. Non-attached to his bodily sensations and lusts. Non-attached to his craving for power and possessions. Non-attached to the objects of these various desires. Non-attached to his anger and hatred; non-attached to his exclusive loves. Non-attached to wealth, fame, social position. Non-attached even to science, art, speculation, philanthropy. Yes, non-attached even to these. For, like patriotism, in Nurse Cavel's phrase, 'they are not enough, Non-attachment to self and to what are called 'the things of this world' has always been associated in the teachings of the philosophers and the founders of religions with attachment to an ultimate reality greater and more significant than the self. Greater and more significant than even the best things that this world has to offer. Of the nature of this ultimate reality I shall speak in the last chapters of this book. All that I need do in this place is to point out that the ethic of non-attachment has always been correlated with cosmologies that affirm the existence of a spiritual reality underlying the phenomenal world and imparting to it whatever value or significance it possesses.
Aldous Huxley (Ends and Means)
It is only one Life that you have; just this one lifetime! So, please don’t postpone Happiness, don’t postpone living. Of course, you can’t avoid the lows, the crises, the tragedies. But you can learn to be happy despite the circumstances. You do that by accepting whatever comes your way and by letting go of debilitating emotions. Remember: only when you let go of something can you receive another…clinging on never helps…so, to receive grace and abundance…let go, let go, let go…of all that makes you unhappy and…simply flow with Life!
AVIS Viswanathan
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. Contrary
Ben Sasse (The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis—and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance)
Hamish Alexander-Harrington knew his wife as only two humans who had both been adopted by a pair of mated treecats ever could. He'd seen her deal with joy and with sorrow, with happiness and with fury, with fear, and even with despair. Yet in all the years since their very first meeting at Yeltsin's Star, he suddenly realized, he had never actually met the woman the newsies called "the Salamander." It wasn't his fault, a corner of his brain told him, because he'd never been in the right place to meet her. Never at the right time. He'd never had the chance to stand by her side as she took a wounded heavy cruiser on an unflinching deathride into the broadside of the battlecruiser waiting to kill it, sailing to her own death, and her crew's, to protect a planet full of strangers while the rich beauty of Hammerwell's "Salute to Spring" spilled from her ship's com system. He hadn't stood beside her on the dew-soaked grass of the Landing City duelling grounds, with a pistol in her hand and vengeance in her heart as she faced the man who'd bought the murder of her first great love. Just as he hadn't stood on the floor of Steadholders' Hall when she faced a man with thirty times her fencing experience across the razor-edged steel of their swords, with the ghosts of Reverend Julius Hanks, the butchered children of Mueller Steading, and her own murdered steaders at her back. But now, as he looked into the unyielding flint of his wife's beloved, almond eyes, he knew he'd met the Salamander at last. And he recognized her as only another warrior could. Yet he also knew in that moment that for all his own imposing record of victory in battle, he was not and never had been her equal. As a tactician and a strategist, yes. Even as a fleet commander. But not as the very embodiment of devastation. Not as the Salamander. Because for all the compassion and gentleness which were so much a part of her, there was something else inside Honor Alexander-Harrington, as well. Something he himself had never had. She'd told him, once, that her own temper frightened her. That she sometimes thought she could have been a monster under the wrong set of circumstances. And now, as he realized he'd finally met the monster, his heart twisted with sympathy and love, for at last he understood what she'd been trying to tell him. Understood why she'd bound it with the chains of duty, and love, of compassion and honor, of pity, because, in a way, she'd been right. Under the wrong circumstances, she could have been the most terrifying person he had ever met. In fact, at this moment, she was . It was a merciless something, her "monster"—something that went far beyond military talent, or skills, or even courage. Those things, he knew without conceit, he, too, possessed in plenty. But not that deeply personal something at the core of her, as unstoppable as Juggernaut, merciless and colder than space itself, that no sane human being would ever willingly rouse. In that instant her husband knew, with an icy shiver which somehow, perversely, only made him love her even more deeply, that as he gazed into those agate-hard eyes, he looked into the gates of Hell itself. And whatever anyone else might think, he knew now that there was no fire in Hell. There was only the handmaiden of death, and ice, and purpose, and a determination which would not— couldnot—relent or rest. "I'll miss them," she told him again, still with that dreadful softness, "but I won't forget. I'll never forget, and one day— oneday, Hamish—we're going to find the people who did this, you and I. And when we do, the only thing I'll ask of God is that He let them live long enough to know who's killing them.
David Weber (Mission of Honor (Honor Harrington, #12))
Tess's feminine hope - shall we confess it - had been so obstinately recuperative as to revive in her surreptitious visions of a domiciliary intimacy continued long enough to break down his coldness even against his judgement. Though unsophisticated in the usual sense, she was not incomplete; and it would have denoted deficiency of womanhood if she had not instinctively known what an argument lies in propinquity. Nothing else would save her, she knew, if this failed. It was wrong to hope in what was of the nature of strategy, she said to herself; yet that sort of hope she could not extinguish. His last representation had now been made, and it was, as she said, a new view. She had truly never though so far as that, and his lucid picture of possible offspring who would scorn her was one that brought deadly conviction to an honest heart which was humanitarian to its centre. Sheer experience had already taught her that, in some circumstances, there was one thing better than to lead a good life, and that was to be saved from leading any life whatever. Like all who have been previsioned by suffering, she could, in the words of M. Sully-Prudhomme, hear a penal sentence in the fiat, 'You shall be born,' particularly if addressed to potential issue or hers.
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D’Urbervilles)
Among the cultivated and mentally active, hagiography is now a very unpopular form of literature. The fact is not at all surprising. The cultivated and the mentally active have an insatiable appetite for novelty, diversity and distraction. But the saints, however commanding their talents and whatever the nature of their professional activities, are all incessantly preoccupied with only one subject—spiritual Reality and the means by which they and their fellows can come to the unitive knowledge of that Reality. And as for their actions—these are as monotonously uniform as their thoughts; for in all circumstances they behave selflessly, patiently and with indefatigable charity. No wonder, then, if the biographies of such men and women remain unread. For one well educated person who knows anything about William Law there are two or three hundred who have read Boswell’s life of his younger contemporary. Why? Because, until he actually lay dying, Johnson indulged himself in the most fascinating of multiple personalities; whereas Law, for all the superiority of his talents was almost absurdly simple and single-minded. Legion prefers to read about Legion. It is for this reason that, in the whole repertory of epic, drama and the novel there are hardly any representations of true theocentric saints.
Aldous Huxley (The Perennial Philosophy)
From a very early age Edison became used to doing things for himself, by necessity. His family was poor, and by the age of twelve he had to earn money to help his parents. He sold newspapers on trains, and traveling around his native Michigan for his job, he developed an ardent curiosity about everything he saw. He wanted to know how things worked—machines, gadgets, anything with moving parts. With no schools or teachers in his life, he turned to books, particularly anything he could find on science. He began to conduct his own experiments in the basement of his family home, and he taught himself how to take apart and fix any kind of watch. At the age of fifteen he apprenticed as a telegraph operator, then spent years traveling across the country plying his trade. He had no chance for a formal education, and nobody crossed his path who could serve as a teacher or mentor. And so in lieu of that, in every city he spent time in, he frequented the public library. One book that crossed his path played a decisive role in his life: Michael Faraday’s two-volume Experimental Researches in Electricity. This book became for Edison what The Improvement of the Mind had been for Faraday. It gave him a systematic approach to science and a program for how to educate himself in the field that now obsessed him—electricity. He could follow the experiments laid out by the great Master of the field and absorb as well his philosophical approach to science. For the rest of his life, Faraday would remain his role model. Through books, experiments, and practical experience at various jobs, Edison gave himself a rigorous education that lasted about ten years, up until the time he became an inventor. What made this successful was his relentless desire to learn through whatever crossed his path, as well as his self-discipline. He had developed the habit of overcoming his lack of an organized education by sheer determination and persistence. He worked harder than anyone else. Because he was a consummate outsider and his mind had not been indoctrinated in any school of thought, he brought a fresh perspective to every problem he tackled. He turned his lack of formal direction into an advantage. If you are forced onto this path, you must follow Edison’s example by developing extreme self-reliance. Under these circumstances, you become your own teacher and mentor. You push yourself to learn from every possible source. You read more books than those who have a formal education, developing this into a lifelong habit. As much as possible, you try to apply your knowledge in some form of experiment or practice. You find for yourself second-degree mentors in the form of public figures who can serve as role models. Reading and reflecting on their experiences, you can gain some guidance. You try to make their ideas come to life, internalizing their voice. As someone self-taught, you will maintain a pristine vision, completely distilled through your own experiences—giving you a distinctive power and path to mastery.
Robert Greene (Mastery (The Robert Greene Collection))
Ma was isolated and alone. Under those circumstances people behave differently. Kya made a soft groan. “Please don't talk to me about isolation. No one has to tell me how it changes a person. I have lived it. I am isolation," Kya whispered with a slight edge. "I forgive Ma for leaving. But I don't understand why she didn't come back- why she abandoned me. You probably don't remember, but after she walked away, you told me that a she-fox will sometimes leave her kits if she's starving or under some other extreme stress. The kits die- as they probably would have anyway- but the vixen lives to breed again when conditions are better, when she can raise a new litter to maturity. "I've read a lot about this since. In nature- out yonder where the crawdads sing- these ruthless-seeming behaviors actually increase the mother's number of young over her lifetime, and thus her genes for abandoning offspring in times of stress are passed on to the next generation. And on and on. It happens in humans, too. Some behaviors that seem harsh to us now ensured the survival of early man in whatever swamp he was in at the time. Without them, we wouldn't be here. We still store those instincts in our genes, and they express themselves when certain circumstances prevail. Some parts of us will always be what we were, what we had to be to survive- way back yonder.
Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing)
Do we say that one must never willingly do wrong, or does it depend upon the circumstances? Is it true, as we have often agreed before, that there is no sense in which wrongdoing is good or honourable? Or have we jettisoned all our former convictions in these last few days? Can you and I at our age, Crito, have spent all these years in serious discussions without realizing that we were no better than a pair of children? Surely the truth is just what we have always said. Whatever the popular view is, and whether the alternative in pleasanter than the present one or even harder to bear, the fact remains that to do wrong is in every sense bad and dishonourable for the person who does it.
Socrates (Apology, Crito and Phaedo of Socrates.)
I had never been so close to death before. For a long time, as I lay there trying to clear my mind, I couldn't think coherently at all, conscious only of a terrible, blind bitterness. Why had they singled me out? Didn't they understand? Had everything I'd gone through on their behalf been utterly in vain? Did it really count for nothing? What had happened to logic, meaning and sense? But I feel much calmer now. It helps to discipline oneself like this, writing it down to see it set out on paper, to try and weigh it and find some significance in it. Prof Bruwer: There are only two kinds of madness one should guard against, Ben. One is the belief that we can do everything. The other is the belief that we can do nothing. I wanted to help. Right. I meant it very sincerely. But I wanted to do it on my terms. And I am white, and they are black. I thought it was still possible to reach beyond our whiteness and blackness. I thought that to reach out and touch hands across the gulf would be sufficient in itself. But I grasped so little, really: as if good intentions from my side could solve it all. It was presumptuous of me. In an ordinary world, in a natural one, I might have succeeded. But not in this deranged, divided age. I can do all I can for Gordon or scores of others who have come to me; I can imagine myself in their shoes, I can project myself into their suffering. But I cannot, ever, live their lives for them. So what else could come of it but failure? Whether I like it or not, whether I feel like cursing my own condition or not -- and that would only serve to confirm my impotence -- I am white. This is the small, final, terrifying truth of my broken world. I am white. And because I am white I am born into a state of privilege. Even if I fight the system that has reduced us to this I remain white, and favored by the very circumstances I abhor. Even if I'm hated, and ostracized, and persecuted, and in the end destroyed, nothing can make me black. And so those who are cannot but remain suspicious of me. In their eyes my very efforts to identify myself with Gordon, whit all the Gordons, would be obscene. Every gesture I make, every act I commit in my efforts to help them makes it more difficult for them to define their real needs and discover for themselves their integrity and affirm their own dignity. How else could we hope to arrive beyond predator and prey, helper and helped, white and black, and find redemption? On the other hand: what can I do but what I have done? I cannot choose not to intervene: that would be a denial and a mockery not only of everything I believe in, but of the hope that compassion may survive among men. By not acting as I did I would deny the very possibility of that gulf to be bridged. If I act, I cannot but lose. But if I do not act, it is a different kind of defeat, equally decisive and maybe worse. Because then I will not even have a conscience left. The end seems ineluctable: failure, defeat, loss. The only choice I have left is whether I am prepared to salvage a little honour, a little decency, a little humanity -- or nothing. It seems as if a sacrifice is impossible to avoid, whatever way one looks at it. But at least one has the choice between a wholly futile sacrifice and one that might, in the long run, open up a possibility, however negligible or dubious, of something better, less sordid and more noble, for our children… They live on. We, the fathers, have lost.
André Brink (A Dry White Season)
Such impulses have displayed themselves very widely across left and liberal opinion in recent months. Why? For some, because what the US government and its allies do, whatever they do, has to be opposed—and opposed however thuggish and benighted the forces which this threatens to put your anti-war critic into close company with. For some, because of an uncontrollable animus towards George Bush and his administration. For some, because of a one-eyed perspective on international legality and its relation to issues of international justice and morality. Whatever the case or the combination, it has produced a calamitous compromise of the core values of socialism, or liberalism or both, on the part of thousands of people who claim attachment to them. You have to go back to the apologias for, and fellow-travelling with, the crimes of Stalinism to find as shameful a moral failure of liberal and left opinion as in the wrong-headed—and too often, in the circumstances, sickeningly smug—opposition to the freeing of the Iraqi people from one of the foulest regimes on the planet.
Norman Geras (A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq)
what I want to know is, is there a you independent of circumstances? Is there a way-down-deep me who is an actual, real person, the same person if she has money or not, the same person if she has a boyfriend or not, the same if she goes to this school or that school? Or am I only a set of circumstances?” “I don’t follow how that would make you fictional.” “I mean, I don’t control my thoughts, so they’re not really mine. I don’t decide if I’m sweating or get cancer or C. diff or whatever, so my body isn’t really mine. I don’t decide any of that—outside forces do. I’m a story they’re telling. I am circumstances.” She nodded. “Can you apprehend these outside forces?” “No, I’m not hallucinating,” I said. “It’s . . . like, I’m just not sure that I am, strictly speaking, real.” Dr. Singh placed her feet on the floor and leaned forward, her hands on her knees. “That’s very interesting,” she said. “Very interesting.” I felt briefly proud to be, for a moment anyway, not not uncommon. “It must be very scary, to feel that your self might not be yours. Almost a kind of . . . imprisonment?
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
When people think you're a "good person", they're essentially putting you inside of this jar with a label on it and the ingredients on that label are whatever the fuck they think "good person" means. Of course it always just basically means "this person was born to make me feel good in any circumstance of my life." And then they pound you into that jar--every inch of you-- and think you've gone spoiled rotten when the time arises that you're no longer making them feel good, for whatever reasons that may be. And that's "good person" from other people's perspectives. Meanwhile, "good person" in first person perspective is basically "hypocrite". It's basically "let me enact these roles I think I am supposed to perform so God and mama Mary and and the neighborhood will believe I am a good person." I am always described as a "good person" and from any perspective that's coming from, I hate hearing that. I hate it. It either means they think they can stuff me in a jar and mix me with their kool aide; or it means I am sticking myself in my own jar and mixing myself with everyone's kool aide. I am a fucking wonderful person-- that is what I am. And that is exactly how to say it: "fucking wonderful"! Not just wonderful. Fucking wonderful. It's not good; it's full of wonderment! It's not bad; it's full of wonderment! So, am I a good person? I have a heart that bleeds with others and a soul that gives people homes. I don't need to be good. I need to be wonderful.
C. JoyBell C.
Creativity’s most important effect is to return you to your true self. Everything you need is already inside and within reach of you. Skill and magic must come together in order to create meaningfully. All people are creative and must express this creativity in order to feel fulfilled. Fear is the most formidable opponent to your creativity. Our deepest fear is disconnection. The threat of disconnection stops us from sharing, from taking risks, from learning, from creating, from loving and from living. Without connection nothing lives. Connection restores us to life. True connection is, in a word, love. You can live a connected, engaged life, whatever your current and ever-changing circumstances. When we share from the heart our work becomes timeless and universal.
Diana Rowan (The Bright Way: Five Steps to Freeing the Creative Within)
I had ceased to be a writer of tolerably poor tales and essays, and had become a tolerably good Surveyor of the Customs. That was all. But, nevertheless, it is any thing but agreeable to be haunted by a suspicion that one's intellect is dwindling away; or exhaling, without your consciousness, like ether out of a phial; so that, at every glance, you find a smaller and less volatile residuum. Of the fact, there could be no doubt; and, examining myself and others, I was led to conclusions in reference to the effect of public office on the character, not very favorable to the mode of life in question. In some other form, perhaps, I may hereafter develop these effects. Suffice it here to say, that a Custom-House officer, of long continuance, can hardly be a very praiseworthy or respectable personage, for many reasons; one of them, the tenure by which he holds his situation, and another, the very nature of his business, which—though, I trust, an honest one—is of such a sort that he does not share in the united effort of mankind. An effect—which I believe to be observable, more or less, in every individual who has occupied the position—is, that, while he leans on the mighty arm of the Republic, his own proper strength departs from him. He loses, in an extent proportioned to the weakness or force of his original nature, the capability of self-support. If he possess an unusual share of native energy, or the enervating magic of place do not operate too long upon him, his forfeited powers may be redeemable. The ejected officer—fortunate in the unkindly shove that sends him forth betimes, to struggle amid a struggling world—may return to himself, and become all that he has ever been. But this seldom happens. He usually keeps his ground just long enough for his own ruin, and is then thrust out, with sinews all unstrung, to totter along the difficult footpath of life as he best may. Conscious of his own infirmity,—that his tempered steel and elasticity are lost,—he for ever afterwards looks wistfully about him in quest of support external to himself. His pervading and continual hope—a hallucination, which, in the face of all discouragement, and making light of impossibilities, haunts him while he lives, and, I fancy, like the convulsive throes of the cholera, torments him for a brief space after death—is, that, finally, and in no long time, by some happy coincidence of circumstances, he shall be restored to office. This faith, more than any thing else, steals the pith and availability out of whatever enterprise he may dream of undertaking. Why should he toil and moil, and be at so much trouble to pick himself up out of the mud, when, in a little while hence, the strong arm of his Uncle will raise and support him? Why should he work for his living here, or go to dig gold in California, when he is so soon to be made happy, at monthly intervals, with a little pile of glittering coin out of his Uncle's pocket? It is sadly curious to observe how slight a taste of office suffices to infect a poor fellow with this singular disease. Uncle Sam's gold—meaning no disrespect to the worthy old gentleman—has, in this respect, a quality of enchantment like that of the Devil's wages. Whoever touches it should look well to himself, or he may find the bargain to go hard against him, involving, if not his soul, yet many of its better attributes; its sturdy force, its courage and constancy, its truth, its self-reliance, and all that gives the emphasis to manly character.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter)
When I wasn’t in the barn garden, helping out, sorting seeds or checking hoses I’d spend time alone, usually in the bathroom adjacent to Joel’s room, staring into the shattered mirror as my hand gently caressed my baby bump. More often than not I would cry. Not because my pregnancy upset me, or that my hormones were getting the better of me, but because I missed Joel, my baby’s father. That the baby would grow up without a dad made me anxious. Then again, if he had survived, what irreparable damage would he have suffered and how would his pain translate to his child? Jesus, I was studying myself in the very mirror he’d smashed the night he chose to take his own life. The bump had grown slowly in the last couple of months. With these limited resources, I didn’t have the privilege of eating whatever I craved. Had that been the case, I was sure I would have been bigger by now. Still, I tried to eat as well and as often as I could and the size of my belly had proven that my attempts at proper nutrition were at least growing something in there. Nothing made me happier than feeling my baby move. It was a constant source of relief for me. In our present circumstances, with no vitamins and barely any meat products save the recent stash of jerky Earl had found in an abandoned trailer, my diet consisted of berries, lettuce, and canned beans for the most part. Feeling the baby move inside me was an experience I often enjoyed alone. I would think of Joel then as well. Imagining his hand on my belly, with mine guiding his to the kicks and punches.
Michael Poeltl (Rebirth (The Judas Syndrome, #2))
Even Diotima and Amheim were shy of using it without a modifier, for it is still possible to speak of having a great, noble, craven, daring, or debased soul, but to come right out with "my soul" is something one simply cannot bring oneself to do. It is distinctly an older person's word, and this can only be understood by assuming that in the course of life people become more and more aware of something for which they urgently need a name they cannot find until they finally resort, reluctantly, to the name they had originally despised. How to describe it, then? Whether one is at rest or in motion, what matters is not what lies ahead, what one sees, hears, wants, takes, masters. It forms a horizon, a semicircle before one, but the ends of this semicircle are joined by a string, and the plane of this string goes right through·the middle of the world. In front, the face and hands look out of it; sensations and strivings run ahead of it, and no one doubts that whatever one does·is always reasonable, or at least passionate. In other words, outer circumstances call for us to act in a way everyone can understand; and if, in the toils of passion, we do something incomprehensible, that too is, in its own way, understandable.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities: Volume I)
On the other hand, she happily kept him informed about plans she had with other people, providing a steady flow of information about excursions that were about to happen, details of dates or parties that were always this close to coming together. As long as he listened, without complaint, to an endless description of activities that were supposed to happen without him, there was a 30 percent chance, at least, that Anna would change her mind at the last minute, claim to be unable to handle the unbearable burden of whatever her social plans were supposed to be, and decide to hang out with him instead. She'd arrive at his house and collapse in exaggerated relief: "I am so glad we're doing this, I was so not in the mood for another party at Maria's." As though they were both equally at the mercy of circumstance, similarly oblivious to the power dynamic that governed their "friendship.
Kristen Roupenian (You Know You Want This)
Law is never so necessary as when it has no ethical significance whatever, and is pure law for the sake of law. The law that compels me to keep to the left when driving along Oxford Street is ethically senseless, as is shewn by the fact that keeping to the right answers equally well in Paris; and it certainly destroys my freedom to choose my side; but by enabling me to count on everyone else keeping to the left also, thus making traffic possible and safe, it enlarges my life and sets my mind free for nobler issues. Most laws, in short, are not the expression of the ethical verdicts of the community, but pure etiquette and nothing else. What they express is the fact that over most of the field of social life there are wide limits within which it does not matter what people do, though it matters enormously whether under given circumstances you can depend on their all doing the same thing.
George Bernard Shaw (The Sanity of Art)
Whatever evolution this or that popular character has gone through between the book covers, his fate is fixed in our minds, and, similarly, we expect our friends to follow this or that logical and conventional pattern we have fixed for them. Thus X will never compose the immortal music that would clash with the second-rate symphonies he has accustomed us to. Y will never commit murder. Under no circumstances can Z ever betray us. We have it all arranged in our minds, and the less often we see a particular person the more satisfying it is to check how obediently he conforms to our notion of him every time we hear of him. Any deviation in the fates we have ordained would strike us as not only anomalous but unethical. We would prefer not to have known at all our neighbor, the retired hot-dog stand operator, if it turns out he has just produced the greatest book of poetry his age has ever seen.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
A man who has once perceived, however temporarily and however briefly, what makes greatness of soul, can no longer be happy if he allows himself to be petty, self-seeking, troubled by trivial misfortunes, dreading what fate may have in store for him. The man capable of greatness of soul will open wide the windows of his mind, letting the winds blow freely upon it from every portion of the universe. He will see himself and life and the world as truly as our human limitations will permit; realizing the brevity and minuteness of human life, he will realize also that in individual minds is concentrated whatever of value the known universe contains. And he will see that the man whose mind mirrors the world becomes in a sense as great as the world. In emancipation from the fears that beset the slave of circumstance he will experience a profound joy, and through all the vicissitudes of his outward life he will remain in the depths of his being a happy man.
Bertrand Russell (The Conquest of Happiness)
Let us use Buddhism as a specific example. It is a system that is gaining a following among many in Hollywood. It is often very simplistically defined as a religion of compassion and ethics. The truth is that there is probably no system of belief more complex than Buddhism. While it starts off with the four noble truths on suffering and its cessation, it then moves to the eightfold path on how to end suffering. But as one enters the eightfold path, there emerge hundreds upon hundreds of other rules to deal with contingencies. From a simple base of four offenses that result in a loss of one’s discipleship status is built an incredible edifice of ways to restoration. Those who follow Buddha’s teachings are given thirty rules on how to ward off those pitfalls. But before one even deals with those, there are ninety-two rules that apply to just one of the offenses. There are seventy-five rules for those entering the order. There are rules of discipline to be applied—two hundred and twenty-seven for men, three hundred and eleven for women. (Readers of Buddhism know that Buddha had to be persuaded before women were even permitted into a disciple’s status. After much pleading and cajoling by one of his disciples, he finally acceded to the request but laid down extra rules for them.) Whatever one may make of all of this, we must be clear that in a nontheistic system, which Buddhism is, ethics become central and rules are added ad infinitum. Buddha and his followers are the originators of these rules. The most common prayer for forgiveness in Buddhism, from the Buddhist Common Prayer, reflects this numerical maze: I beg leave! I beg leave, I beg leave. . . . May I be freed at all times from the four states of Woe, the Three Scourges, the Eight Wrong Circumstances, the Five Enemies, the Four Deficiencies, the Five Misfortunes, and quickly attain the Path, the Fruition, and the Noble Law of Nirvana, Lord.4 Teaching
Ravi Zacharias (Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message)
Social media has exploded our narcissism. “Facebragging” has become a new slang term for the way that social media has enabled us to shamelessly self-promote, self-congratulate, and generally make public fools of ourselves. As Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, authors of The Narcissism Epidemic, have pointed out, there’s a kind of democratization on the web, where everyone’s opinion has been elevated (or deflated) to a common level. Journalists who fight to present information with clarity and objectivity find themselves contradicted and shouted down by raging bloggers and commenters with no actual knowledge of whatever circumstance they may be reporting. Self-expression on the web has led to a sense of entitlement, a belief that “everybody’s opinion is just as valid as everyone else’s.”2 Andrew Keen refers to the phenomenon as “ignorance meets egoism, meets bad taste, meets mob rule.”3 It’s a world where the way up is to be louder, more flashy, more harsh and outspoken.
Daniel Montgomery (Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journey)
In meditation which is a continuous flow of staying in the state at all times and in every circumstance there is neither suppression nor production of dwelling and proliferation; if there is dwelling, that is the dharmakaya’s own face and if there is proliferation, that is preserved as the self-liveliness of wisdom, so, “Then, whether there is proliferation or dwelling,” Whatever comes from mind’s liveliness as discursive thoughts, be it the truth of the source—afflictions of anger, attachment, and so on—or the truth of unsatisfactoriness—the flavours of experience which are the feelings of happiness, sadness, and so on—if the nature of the discursive thoughts is known as dharmata, they become the shifting events of the dharmakaya, so, “Anger, attachment, happiness, or sadness,” That does not finish it though; generally speaking if they are met with through the view but not finished with by bringing them to the state with meditation, they fall into ordinary wandering in confusion and if that happens, you are bound into cyclic existence by the discursive thoughts of your own mindstream and, dharma and your own mindstream having remained separate, you become an ordinary person who has nothing special about them. Not to be separated from a great non-meditated self-resting is what is needed . . . Additionally, whatever discursive thought or affliction arises, it is not something apart from dharmakaya wisdom, rather, the nature of those discursive thoughts is actual dharmakaya, the ground’s luminosity. If that, which is called ‘the mother luminosity resident in the ground’, is recognized, there is self-recognition of the view of self-knowing luminosity previously introduced by the guru and that is called ‘the luminosity of the practice path’. Abiding in one’s own face of the two luminosities of ground and path become inseparable is called ‘the meeting of mother and son luminosities’ so, “The previously-known mother luminosity joins with the son.
Patrul Rinpoche (The Feature of the Expert, Glorious King: “Three Lines That Hit the Key Points.” Root text and commentary by Patrul Rinpoche)
I used to have a pretty dim view of humanity,” Tony said. “But since I started traveling—particularly to places where I anticipated being treated badly—I am on balance pretty convinced that generally speaking the human race are doing the best they can to be as good as they can, under the circumstances, whatever they may be. I guess my hope is the more people see of the world, in person hopefully, or even on television, they see ordinary people doing ordinary things, so when news happens at least they have a better idea of who we’re talking about. Put a face to some empathy, to some kinship, to some understanding. This surely is a good thing. I hope it’s a useful thing.” “And this is why a show like yours is terrific,” the president said. “Because it reminds people that actually there’s a whole bunch of the world that on a daily basis is going about its business, eating at restaurants, taking their kids to school, trying to make ends meet, playing games. The same way we are back home.
Tom Vitale (In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain)
Some might say what I’m recommending amounts to electoral nihilism. We would end up giving the presidency over to Republicans and their extremist base. The Supreme Court would turn Red for the next thirty years. We would see the undoing of the health care law and the further erosion of the social safety net. And the country would be left in the hands of libertarians and corporatists, a remarkably high price to pay for all Americans. But these same people who shout gloom and doom fail to advocate for dramatic change to take back the country from these folks. This is the scare tactic that clouds our imaginations: that no matter the circumstances, choosing the lesser of two evils is always better. By this logic, we are imprisoned in a political cage—to accept matters as they are. I refuse to do so, because the political terrain as it is currently laid out has left black and other vulnerable communities throughout this country in shambles. I want to choose another path. I want to remake American democracy, because whatever this is, it ain’t democracy.
Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul)
This is so whether the said body of citizens or its prevailing part does this directly of itself, or commits the task to another or others who are not and cannot be the legislator in an unqualified sense but only in a certain respect and at a certain time and in accordance with the authority of the primary legislator. And in consequence of this I say that laws and anything else instituted by election must receive their necessary approval from the same primary authority and no other: whatever may be the situation concerning various ceremonies or solemnities, which are not required for the results of an election to stand but for their good standing, and even without which the election would be no less valid. I say further that it is by the same authority that laws and anything else instituted by election must receive any addition or subtraction or even total overhaul, any interpretation and any suspension: depending on the demands of time and place and other circumstances that might make one of these measures opportune for the sake of the common advantage in such matters.
Marsilius of Padua (The Defender of the Peace (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought))
The difficulties connected with my criterion of demarcation (D) are important, but must not be exaggerated. It is vague, since it is a methodological rule, and since the demarcation between science and nonscience is vague. But it is more than sharp enough to make a distinction between many physical theories on the one hand, and metaphysical theories, such as psychoanalysis, or Marxism (in its present form), on the other. This is, of course, one of my main theses; and nobody who has not understood it can be said to have understood my theory. The situation with Marxism is, incidentally, very different from that with psychoanalysis. Marxism was once a scientific theory: it predicted that capitalism would lead to increasing misery and, through a more or less mild revolution, to socialism; it predicted that this would happen first in the technically highest developed countries; and it predicted that the technical evolution of the 'means of production' would lead to social, political, and ideological developments, rather than the other way round. But the (so-called) socialist revolution came first in one of the technically backward countries. And instead of the means of production producing a new ideology, it was Lenin's and Stalin's ideology that Russia must push forward with its industrialization ('Socialism is dictatorship of the proletariat plus electrification') which promoted the new development of the means of production. Thus one might say that Marxism was once a science, but one which was refuted by some of the facts which happened to clash with its predictions (I have here mentioned just a few of these facts). However, Marxism is no longer a science; for it broke the methodological rule that we must accept falsification, and it immunized itself against the most blatant refutations of its predictions. Ever since then, it can be described only as nonscience—as a metaphysical dream, if you like, married to a cruel reality. Psychoanalysis is a very different case. It is an interesting psychological metaphysics (and no doubt there is some truth in it, as there is so often in metaphysical ideas), but it never was a science. There may be lots of people who are Freudian or Adlerian cases: Freud himself was clearly a Freudian case, and Adler an Adlerian case. But what prevents their theories from being scientific in the sense here described is, very simply, that they do not exclude any physically possible human behaviour. Whatever anybody may do is, in principle, explicable in Freudian or Adlerian terms. (Adler's break with Freud was more Adlerian than Freudian, but Freud never looked on it as a refutation of his theory.) The point is very clear. Neither Freud nor Adler excludes any particular person's acting in any particular way, whatever the outward circumstances. Whether a man sacrificed his life to rescue a drowning, child (a case of sublimation) or whether he murdered the child by drowning him (a case of repression) could not possibly be predicted or excluded by Freud's theory; the theory was compatible with everything that could happen—even without any special immunization treatment. Thus while Marxism became non-scientific by its adoption of an immunizing strategy, psychoanalysis was immune to start with, and remained so. In contrast, most physical theories are pretty free of immunizing tactics and highly falsifiable to start with. As a rule, they exclude an infinity of conceivable possibilities.
Karl Popper
Often, during times when I am in a state of absolute bliss and gratitude, those are the times that people will ask me, “Are you happy or are you sad?” It’s funny, because when you are happy in a way that most people are happy in, that is, when you are jumping up and down and laughing and smiling and giggling, people will recognize that as happiness. But when you go beyond that state and on into the state of blissfulness— nirvana— only a very few number of people are going to be able to recognize and understand that. Why? Because only very few people have gone beyond the level of obvious happiness, to experience actual nirvaana. Nirvana is what I describe as being in a state of worship; you see, you go beyond just feeling happy and grateful, and you enter into a state of mind that allows you to worship what you have been given or what you have attained or achieved, or whatever circumstance you are in that is making you happy. You stop and you worship the person, the place, the thing, the feeling. I’m easily flung into that state, so, I often find it strange that I can be in an absolute state of bliss, meanwhile, the other person can be asking me if I am either happy or sad. But I am worshipping.
C. JoyBell C.
The question of ponderance has been am I the creator or is God the creator? How about God and I Am One creator together, with no disconnect whatsoever. To say that I Am God may sound controversial to some. But I am not God that rules over others, I am God that rules over my own being. As one with God I have the gift to control how I am. However I am being is all of my own doing. I, choose to be happy, sad, angry, or at peace. Whatever state of being I Am, determines the state of conditions that I attract. So if I elevate my state of being to one of acceptance and allowance, I will be at peace with whatever that occurs. Will I be able to control the circumstances around me? Control, no, but influence, yes. All that resonate with my being, I shall attract, thus expanding the circle of those with peaceful intentions. All of those with like thoughts would come together. The entire circle of peace is a connection of oneness. When united are the intentions of peace, the force of good shall rule the land. But when I say rule, it is not the ruling that forces against one's own free will, it is the ruling that the natural soul yearns for every being, to be at peace with one another. Want to know what harmony looks like? Look at this image.
Jason Micheal Ratliff
Hume’s philosophy, whether true or false, represents the bankruptcy of eighteenth-century reasonableness. He starts out, like Locke, with the intention of being sensible and empirical, taking nothing on trust, but seeking whatever instruction is to be obtained from experience and observation. But having a better intellect than Locke’s, a greater acuteness in analysis, and a smaller capacity for accepting comfortable inconsistencies, he arrives at the disastrous conclusion that from experience and observation nothing is to be learnt. There is no such thing as a rational belief: “If we believe that fire warms, or water refreshes, ’tis only because it costs us too much pains to think otherwise.” We cannot help believing, but no belief can be grounded in reason. Nor can one line of action be more rational than another, since all alike are based upon irrational convictions. This last conclusion, however, Hume seems not to have drawn. Even in his most sceptical chapter, in which he sums up the conclusions of Book I, he says: “Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.” He has no right to say this. “Dangerous” is a causal word, and a sceptic as to causation cannot know that anything is “dangerous.
Bertrand Russell (A History of Western Philosophy: And Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day)
Before leaving the earth altogether, let us as: How does Music stand with respect to its instruments, their pitches, the scales, modes and rows, repeating themselves from octave to octave, the chords, harmonies, and tonalities, the beats, meters, and rhythms, the degrees of amplitude (pianissimo, piano, mezzo-piano, mezzo-forte, forte, fortissimo)? Though the majority go each day to the schools where these matters are taught, they read when time permits of Cape Canaveral, Ghana, and Seoul. And they’ve heard tell of the music synthesizer, magnetic tape. They take for granted the dials on radios and television sets. A tardy art, the art of Music. And why so slow? Is it because, once having learned a notation of pitches and durations, musicians will not give up their Greek? Children have been modern artists for years now. What is it about Music that sends not only the young but adults too as far into the past as they can conveniently go? The module? But our choices never reached around the globe, and in our laziness, when we changed over to the twelve-tone system, we just took the pitches of the previous music as though we were moving into a furnished apartment and had no time to even take the pictures off the walls. What excuse? That nowadays things are happening so quickly that we become thoughtless? Or were we clairvoyant and knew ahead of time that the need for furniture of any kind would disappear? (Whatever you place there in front of you sits established in the air.) The thing that was irrelevant to the structures we formerly made, and this was what kept us breathing, was what took place within them. Their emptiness we took for what it was – a place where anything could happen. That was one of the reasons we were able when circumstances became inviting (chances in consciousness, etc.) to go outside, where breathing is child’s play: no walls, not even the glass ones which, though we could see through them, killed the birds while they were flying.
John Cage (A Year from Monday: New Lectures and Writings)
And was Mr. Rochester now ugly in my eyes? No, reader: gratitude, and many associations, all pleasurable and genial, made his face the object I best liked to see; his presence in a room was more cheering than the brightest fire. Yet I had not forgotten his faults; indeed, I could not, for he brought them frequently before me. He was proud, sardonic, harsh to inferiority of every description: in my secret soul I knew that his great kindness to me was balanced by unjust severity to many others. He was moody, too; unaccountably so; I more than once, when sent for to read to him, found him sitting in his library alone, with his head bent on his folded arms; and, when he looked up, a morose, almost a malignant, scowl blackened his features. But I believe that his moodiness, his harshness, and his former faults of morality (I say FORMER, for now he seemed corrected of them) had their source in some cruel cross of fate. I believed he was naturally a man of better tendencies, higher principles, and purer tastes than such as circumstances had developed, education instilled, or destiny encouraged. I thought there were excellent materials in him; though for the present they hung together somewhat spoiled and tangled. I cannot deny that I grieved for his grief, whatever that was, and would have given much to assuage it.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
If, then, we wish to make large-scale reforms which will not stultify themselves in the process of application, we must choose our measures in such a way that no violence or, at the worst, very little violence will be needed to enforce them. (It is worth noting in this context that reforms carried out under the stimulus of the fear of violence from foreign neighbours and with the aim of using violence more efficiently in future international wars are just as likely to be self-stultifying in the long run as reforms which cannot be enforced except by a domestic terror. The dictators have made many large-scale changes in the structure of societies they govern without having had to resort to terrorism. The population gave consent to these changes because it had been persuaded by means of intensive propaganda that they were necessary to make the country safe against "foreign aggression." Some of these changes have been in the nature of desirable reforms; but in so far as they were calculated to make the country more efficient as a war-machine, they tended to provoke other countries to increase their military efficiency and so to make the coming of war more profitable. But the nature of modern was is such that it is unlikely that any desirable reform will survive the catastrophe. Thus it will be seen that intrinsically desirable reforms, accepted without opposition, may yet be self-stultifying if the community is persuaded to accept them by means of propaganda that plays upon its fear of future violence on the part of others, or stresses the glory of future violence on the part of others, or stresses the glory of future violence when successfully used by itself.) Returning to our main theme, which is the need for avoiding domestic violence during the application of reforms, we see that a reform may be intrinsically desirable, but so irrelevant to the existing historical circumstances as to be practically useless. This does not mean that we should make the enormous mistake committed by Hegel and gleefully repeated by every modern tyrant with crimes to justify and follies to rationalize-the mistake that consists in affirming that the real is the rational, that the historical is the same as the ideal. The real is not the rational; and whatever is, is not right. At any given moment of history, the real, as we know it, contains certain elements of the rational, laboriously incorporated into its structure by patient human effort; among the things that are, some are righter than others.
Aldous Huxley (Ends and Means)
But overprotection is just one part of a larger trend that we call problems of progress. This term refers to bad consequences produced by otherwise good social changes. It’s great that our economic system produces an abundance of food at low prices, but the flip side is an epidemic of obesity. It’s great that we can connect and communicate with people instantly and for free, but this hyperconnection may be damaging the mental health of young people. It’s great that we have refrigerators, antidepressants, air conditioning, hot and cold running water, and the ability to escape from most of the physical hardships that were woven into the daily lives of our ancestors back to the dawn of our species. Comfort and physical safety are boons to humanity, but they bring some costs, too. We adapt to our new and improved circumstances and then lower the bar for what we count as intolerable levels of discomfort and risk. By the standards of our great-grandparents, nearly all of us are coddled. Each generation tends to see the one after it as weak, whiny, and lacking in resilience. Those older generations may have a point, even though these generational changes reflect real and positive progress. To repeat, we are not saying that the problems facing students, and young people more generally, are minor or “all in their heads.” We are saying that what people choose to do in their heads will determine how those real problems affect them. Our argument is ultimately pragmatic, not moralistic: Whatever your identity, background, or political ideology, you will be happier, healthier, stronger, and more likely to succeed in pursuing your own goals if you do the opposite of what Misoponos advised.
Greg Lukianoff (The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure)
Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God. My beloved brethren and sisters, I accept this opportunity in humility. I pray that I may be guided by the Spirit of the Lord in that which I say. I have just been handed a note that says that a U.S. missile attack is under way. I need not remind you that we live in perilous times. I desire to speak concerning these times and our circumstances as members of this Church. You are acutely aware of the events of September 11, less than a month ago. Out of that vicious and ugly attack we are plunged into a state of war. It is the first war of the 21st century. The last century has been described as the most war-torn in human history. Now we are off on another dangerous undertaking, the unfolding of which and the end thereof we do not know. For the first time since we became a nation, the United States has been seriously attacked on its mainland soil. But this was not an attack on the United States alone. It was an attack on men and nations of goodwill everywhere. It was well planned, boldly executed, and the results were disastrous. It is estimated that more than 5,000 innocent people died. Among these were many from other nations. It was cruel and cunning, an act of consummate evil. Recently, in company with a few national religious leaders, I was invited to the White House to meet with the president. In talking to us he was frank and straightforward. That same evening he spoke to the Congress and the nation in unmistakable language concerning the resolve of America and its friends to hunt down the terrorists who were responsible for the planning of this terrible thing and any who harbored such. Now we are at war. Great forces have been mobilized and will continue to be. Political alliances are being forged. We do not know how long this conflict will last. We do not know what it will cost in lives and treasure. We do not know the manner in which it will be carried out. It could impact the work of the Church in various ways. Our national economy has been made to suffer. It was already in trouble, and this has compounded the problem. Many are losing their employment. Among our own people, this could affect welfare needs and also the tithing of the Church. It could affect our missionary program. We are now a global organization. We have members in more than 150 nations. Administering this vast worldwide program could conceivably become more difficult. Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation. The terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions. This is not a matter of Christian against Muslim. I am pleased that food is being dropped to the hungry people of a targeted nation. We value our Muslim neighbors across the world and hope that those who live by the tenets of their faith will not suffer. I ask particularly that our own people do not become a party in any way to the persecution of the innocent. Rather, let us be friendly and helpful, protective and supportive. It is the terrorist organizations that must be ferreted out and brought down. We of this Church know something of such groups. The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society. We see the same thing in the present situation.
Gordon B. Hinckley
…There is some firm place in me which knows that what happened to Wally, whatever it was, whatever it is that death is as it transliterates us, moving us out of this life into what we can’t know, is kind. I shock myself, writing that. I know that many deaths are anything but gentle. I know people suffer terribly…I know many die abandoned, unseen, their stories unheard, their dignity violated, their human worth ignored. I suspect that the ease of Wally’s death, the rightness of it, the loving recognition which surrounded him, all made it possible for me to see clearly, to witness what other circumstances might obscure. I know, as surely as I know anything, that he’s all right now. And yet. And yet he’s gone, an absence so forceful it is itself a daily hourly presence. My experience of being with Wally… brought me to another sort of perception, but I can’t stay in that place, can’t sustain that way of seeing. The experience of knowing, somehow, that he’s all right, lifted in some kind process that turns at the heart of the world, gives way, as it must, to the plain aching fact that he’s gone. And doubt. And the fact that we can’t understand, that it’s our condition to not know. Is that our work in the world, to learn to dwell in such not-knowing? We need our doubt so as to not settle for easy answers. Not-knowing pushes us to struggle after meaning for ourselves…Doubt’s lesson seems to be that whatever we conclude must be provisional, open to revision, subject to correction by forces of change. Leave room, doubt says, for the unknowable, for what it will never quite be your share to see. Stanley Kunitz says somewhere that if poetry teaches us anything, it is that we can believe two completely contradictory things at once. And so I can believe that death is utter, unbearable rupture, just as I know that death is kind.
Mark Doty (Heaven's Coast: A Memoir)
The Coach’s head was oblong with tiny slits that served as eyes, which drifted in tides slowly inward, as though the face itself were the sea or, in fact, a soup of macromolecules through which objects might drift, leaving in their wake, ripples of nothingness. The eyes—they floated adrift like land masses before locking in symmetrically at seemingly prescribed positions off-center, while managing to be so closely drawn into the very middle of the face section that it might have seemed unnecessary for there to have been two eyes when, quite likely, one would easily have sufficed. These aimless, floating eyes were not the Coach’s only distinctive feature—for, in fact, connected to the interior of each eyelid by a web-like layer of rubbery pink tissue was a kind of snout which, unlike the eyes, remained fixed in its position among the tides of the face, arcing narrowly inward at the edges of its sharp extremities into a serrated beak-like projection that hooked downward at its tip, in a fashion similar to that of a falcon’s beak. This snout—or beak, rather—was, in fact, so long and came to such a fine point that as the eyes swirled through the soup of macromolecules that comprised the man’s face, it almost appeared—due to the seeming thinness of the pink tissue—that the eyes functioned as kinds of optical tether balls that moved synchronously across the face like mirror images of one another. 'I wore my lizard mask as I entered the tram, last evening, and people found me fearless,' the Coach remarked, enunciating each word carefully through the hollow clack-clacking sound of his beak, as its edges clapped together. 'I might have exchanged it for that of an ox and then thought better. A lizard goes best with scales, don’t you think?' Bunnu nodded as he quietly wondered how the Coach could manage to fit that phallic monstrosity of a beak into any kind of mask, unless, in fact, this disguise of which he spoke, had been specially designed for his face and divided into sections in such a way that they could be readily attached to different areas—as though one were assembling a new face—in overlapping layers, so as to veil, or perhaps even amplify certain distinguishable features. All the same, in doing so, one could only imagine this lizard mask to be enormous to the extent that it would be disproportionate with the rest of the Coach’s body. But then, there were ways to mask space, as well—to bend light, perhaps, to create the illusion that something was perceptibly larger or smaller, wider or narrower, rounder or more linear than it was in actuality. That is to say, any form of prosthesis designed for the purposes of affecting remedial space might, for example, have had the capability of creating the appearance of a gap of void in occupied space. An ornament hangs from the chin, let’s say, as an accessory meant to contour smoothly inward what might otherwise appear to be hanging jowls. This surely wouldn’t be the exact use that the Coach would have for such a device—as he had no jowls to speak of—though he could certainly see the benefit of the accessory’s ingenuity. This being said, the lizard mask might have appeared natural rather than disproportionate given the right set of circumstances. Whatever the case, there was no way of even knowing if the Coach wasn’t, in fact, already wearing a mask, at this very moment, rendering Bunnu’s initial appraisal of his character—as determined by a rudimentary physiognomic analysis of his features—a matter now subject to doubt. And thus, any conjecture that could be made with respect to the dimensions or components of a lizard mask—not to speak of the motives of its wearer—seemed not only impractical, but also irrelevant at this point in time.
Ashim Shanker (Don't Forget to Breathe (Migrations, Volume I))
Appendix 1 Seven Points and Fifty-Nine Slogans for Generating Compassion and Resilience POINT ONE Resolve to Begin 1. Train in the preliminaries. POINT TWO Train in Empathy and Compassion: Absolute Compassion 2. See everything as a dream. 3. Examine the nature of awareness. 4. Don’t get stuck on peace. 5. Rest in the openness of mind. 6. In Postmeditation be a child of illusion. POINT TWO Train in Empathy and Compassion: Relative Compassion 7. Practice sending and receiving alternately on the breath. 8. Begin sending and receiving practice with yourself. 9. Turn things around (Three objects, three poisons, three virtues). 10. Always train with the slogans. POINT THREE Transform Bad Circumstances into the Path 11. Turn all mishaps into the path. 12. Drive all blames into one. 13. Be grateful to everyone. 14. See confusion as Buddha and practice emptiness. 15. Do good, avoid evil, appreciate your lunacy, pray for help. 16. Whatever you meet is the path. POINT FOUR Make Practice Your Whole Life 17. Cultivate a serious attitude (Practice the five strengths). 18. Practice for death as well as for life. POINT FIVE Assess and Extend 19. There’s only one point. 20. Trust your own eyes. 21. Maintain joy (and don’t lose your sense of humor). 22. Practice when you’re distracted. POINT SIX The Discipline of Relationship 23. Come back to basics. 24. Don’t be a phony. 25. Don’t talk about faults. 26. Don’t figure others out. 27. Work with your biggest problems first. 28. Abandon hope. 29. Don’t poison yourself. 30. Don’t be so predictable. 31. Don’t malign others. 32. Don’t wait in ambush. 33. Don’t make everything so painful. 34. Don’t unload on everyone. 35. Don’t go so fast. 36. Don’t be tricky. 37. Don’t make gods into demons. 38. Don’t rejoice at others’ pain. POINT SEVEN Living with Ease in a Crazy World 39. Keep a single intention. 40. Correct all wrongs with one intention. 41. Begin at the beginning, end at the end. 42. Be patient either way. 43. Observe, even if it costs you everything. 44. Train in three difficulties. 45. Take on the three causes. 46. Don’t lose track. 47. Keep the three inseparable. 48. Train wholeheartedly, openly, and constantly. 49. Stay close to your resentment. 50. Don’t be swayed by circumstances. 51. This time get it right! 52. Don’t misinterpret. 53. Don’t vacillate. 54. Be wholehearted. 55. Examine and analyze. 56. Don’t wallow. 57. Don’t be jealous. 58. Don’t be frivolous. 59. Don’t expect applause.
Norman Fischer (Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong)
Little Brother, an aspiring painter, saved up all his money and went to France, to surround himself with beauty and inspiration. He lived on the cheap, painted every day, visited museums, traveled to picturesque locations, bravely spoke to everyone he met, and showed his work to anyone who would look at it. One afternoon, Little Brother struck up a conversation in a café with a group of charming young people, who turned out to be some species of fancy aristocrats. The charming young aristocrats took a liking to Little Brother and invited him to a party that weekend in a castle in the Loire Valley. They promised Little Brother that this was going to be the most fabulous party of the year. It would be attended by the rich, by the famous, and by several crowned heads of Europe. Best of all, it was to be a masquerade ball, where nobody skimped on the costumes. It was not to be missed. Dress up, they said, and join us! Excited, Little Brother worked all week on a costume that he was certain would be a showstopper. He scoured Paris for materials and held back neither on the details nor the audacity of his creation. Then he rented a car and drove to the castle, three hours from Paris. He changed into his costume in the car and ascended the castle steps. He gave his name to the butler, who found him on the guest list and politely welcomed him in. Little Brother entered the ballroom, head held high. Upon which he immediately realized his mistake. This was indeed a costume party—his new friends had not misled him there—but he had missed one detail in translation: This was a themed costume party. The theme was “a medieval court.” And Little Brother was dressed as a lobster. All around him, the wealthiest and most beautiful people of Europe were attired in gilded finery and elaborate period gowns, draped in heirloom jewels, sparkling with elegance as they waltzed to a fine orchestra. Little Brother, on the other hand, was wearing a red leotard, red tights, red ballet slippers, and giant red foam claws. Also, his face was painted red. This is the part of the story where I must tell you that Little Brother was over six feet tall and quite skinny—but with the long waving antennae on his head, he appeared even taller. He was also, of course, the only American in the room. He stood at the top of the steps for one long, ghastly moment. He almost ran away in shame. Running away in shame seemed like the most dignified response to the situation. But he didn’t run. Somehow, he found his resolve. He’d come this far, after all. He’d worked tremendously hard to make this costume, and he was proud of it. He took a deep breath and walked onto the dance floor. He reported later that it was only his experience as an aspiring artist that gave him the courage and the license to be so vulnerable and absurd. Something in life had already taught him to just put it out there, whatever “it” is. That costume was what he had made, after all, so that’s what he was bringing to the party. It was the best he had. It was all he had. So he decided to trust in himself, to trust in his costume, to trust in the circumstances. As he moved into the crowd of aristocrats, a silence fell. The dancing stopped. The orchestra stuttered to a stop. The other guests gathered around Little Brother. Finally, someone asked him what on earth he was. Little Brother bowed deeply and announced, “I am the court lobster.” Then: laughter. Not ridicule—just joy. They loved him. They loved his sweetness, his weirdness, his giant red claws, his skinny ass in his bright spandex tights. He was the trickster among them, and so he made the party. Little Brother even ended up dancing that night with the Queen of Belgium. This is how you must do it, people.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear)
First, READ this book a chapter a day. We suggest at least five days a week for the next seven weeks, but whatever works for your schedule. Each chapter should only take you around ten minutes to read. Second, READ the Bible each day. Let the Word of God mold you into a person of prayer. We encourage you to read through the Gospel of Luke during these seven weeks and be studying it through the lens of what you can learn from Jesus about prayer. You are also encouraged to look up and study verses in each chapter that you are unfamiliar with that spark your interest. Third, PRAY every day. Prayer should be both scheduled and spontaneous. Choose a place and time when you can pray alone each day, preferably in the morning (Ps. 5:3). Write down specific needs and personal requests you’ll be targeting in prayer over the next few weeks, along with the following prayer: Heavenly Father, I come to You in Jesus’ name, asking that You draw me into a closer, more personal relationship with You. Cleanse me of my sins and prepare my heart to pray in a way that pleases You. Help me know You and love You more this week. Use all the circumstances of my life to make me more like Jesus, and teach me how to pray more strategically and effectively in Your name, according to Your will and Your Word. Use my faith, my obedience, and my prayers this week for the benefit of others, for my good, and for Your glory. Amen. May we each experience the amazing power of God in our generation as a testimony of His goodness for His glory! My Scheduled Prayer Time ___:___ a.m./p.m. My Scheduled Prayer Place ________________________ My Prayer Targets Develop a specific, personalized, ongoing prayer list using one or more of the following questions: What are your top three biggest needs right now? What are the top three things you are most stressed about? What are three issues in your life that would take a miracle of God to resolve? What is something good and honorable that, if God provided it, would greatly benefit you, your family, and others? What is something you believe God may be leading you to do, but you need His clarity and direction on it? What is a need from someone you love that you’d like to start praying about? 1. ______________________________________________ 2. ______________________________________________ 3. ______________________________________________ 4. ______________________________________________ 5. ______________________________________________ 6. ______________________________________________
Stephen Kendrick (The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies)