Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

  • Don’t confuse the teacher with the lesson, the ritual with the ecstasy, the transmitter of the symbol with the symbol itself.
    • The Tradition is linked to our encounter with the forces of life and not with the people who bring this about.
  • Pity those who seek for shepherds, instead of longing for freedom!
  • Everything moves, and everything moves to a rhythm. And everything that moves to a rhythm creates a sound.
  • What is a teacher? I’ll tell you: it isn’t someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.
    • The true teacher gives the disciple the courage to throw his or her world off balance, even though the disciple is afraid of things already encountered and more afraid still of what might be around the next corner.
  • It’s the same thing with repetition: it may seem the same, but it’s always different.
  • In order to forget the rules, you must know them and respect them.
  • The important thing is to allow fate to intervene in our lives and to decide what is best for everyone.
  • Like all storms, it will pass. The more violent it is, the more quickly it will pass.
  • We don’t believe that God made the universe. We believe that God is the universe and that we are contained in Him, and He in us.
    • … here we are part of everything and we celebrate rather than pray.
  • The truth is that with each step we take, we arrive.
    • You are on the right path… arriving with each step you take.
  • When we step out of our normal world and leave behind us all the usual barriers and prejudices, we tend to become more adventurous.
  • Everything is worship if you are focus on the present moment.
    • When you are washing up, pray. Be thankful that there are plates to be washed; that means there was food, that fed someone, that you’ve lavished care on one or more people, that you cooked and laid the table.
  • Laugh at your worries and insecurities. View your anxieties with humor.
  • … because we all know everything: it’s merely a question of believing.
  • Live now what others will only live in the future.
  • [Love] It cannot be held prisoner because it is a river and will overflow its banks. Anyone who tries to imprison love will cut off the spring that feeds it, and the trapped water will grow stagnant and rank.
  • Anyone who believes they have failed will always fail. Anyone who has decided that they cannot behave any differently will be destroyed by routine. Anyone who has decided to block all changes will be transformed into dust.
  • … there were two traditions, one that makes us repeat the same thing for centuries at a time, and another that opens the door into the unknown.
  • … common sense will prevail and religions will revert to being a refuge for the weak, who are always in search of guidance.
  • In order for the more substantial pieces of wood to catch fire, the kindling must burn first. In order for us to liberate the energy of our strength, our weakness must first have a chance to reveal itself.

The Order of the Star in the East was founded in 1911 to proclaim the coming of the World Teacher. Krishnamurti was made Head of the Order. On August 3, 1929, the opening day of the annual Star Camp at Ommen, Holland, Krishnamurti dissolved the Order before 3000 members. Below is the full text of the talk he gave on that occasion. 

“We are going to discuss this morning the dissolution of the Order of the Star. Many people will be delighted, and others will be rather sad. It is a question neither for rejoicing nor for sadness, because it is inevitable, as I am going to explain. “You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, “What did that man pick up?” “He picked up a piece of Truth,” said the devil. “That is a very bad business for you, then,” said his friend. “Oh, not at all,” the devil replied, “I am going to let him organize it.”

I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.

So that is the first reason, from my point of view, why the Order of the Star should be dissolved. In spite of this, you will probably form other Orders, you will continue to belong to other organizations searching for Truth. I do not want to belong to any organization of a spiritual kind, please understand this. I would make use of an organization which would take me to London, for example; this is quite a different kind of organization, merely mechanical, like the post or the telegraph. I would use a motor car or a steamship to travel, these are only physical mechanisms which have nothing whatever to do with spirituality. Again, I maintain that no organization can lead man to spirituality.

If an organization be created for this purpose, it becomes a crutch, a weakness, a bondage, and must cripple the individual, and prevent him from growing, from establishing his uniqueness, which lies in the discovery for himself of that absolute, unconditioned Truth. So that is another reason why I have decided, as I happen to be the Head of the Order, to dissolve it. No one has persuaded me to this decision. “This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies. Then you will naturally ask me why I go the world over, continually speaking. I will tell you for what reason I do this: not because I desire a following, not because I desire a special group of special disciples. (How men love to be different from their fellow-men, however ridiculous, absurd and trivial their distinctions may be! I do not want to encourage that absurdity.) I have no disciples, no apostles, either on earth or in the realm of spirituality. “Nor is it the lure of money, nor the desire to live a comfortable life, which attracts me. If I wanted to lead a comfortable life I would not come to a Camp or live in a damp country! I am speaking frankly because I want this settled once and for all. I do not want these childish discussions year after year.

One newspaper reporter, who interviewed me, considered it a magnificent act to dissolve an organization in which there were thousands and thousands of members. To him it was a great act because, he said: “What will you do afterwards, how will you live? You will have no following, people will no longer listen to you.” If there are only five people who will listen, who will live, who have their faces turned towards eternity, it will be sufficient. Of what use is it to have thousands who do not understand, who are fully embalmed in prejudice, who do not want the new, but would rather translate the new to suit their own sterile, stagnant selves? If I speak strongly, please do not misunderstand me, it is not through lack of compassion. If you go to a surgeon for an operation, is it not kindness on his part to operate even if he cause you pain? So, in like manner, if I speak straightly, it is not through lack of real affection–on the contrary.

As I have said, I have only one purpose: to make man free, to urge him towards freedom, to help him to break away from all limitations, for that alone will give him eternal happiness, will give him the unconditioned realization of the self.

Because I am free, unconditioned, whole–not the part, not the relative, but the whole Truth that is eternal–I desire those, who seek to understand me to be free; not to follow me, not to make out of me a cage which will become a religion, a sect. Rather should they be free from all fears–from the fear of religion, from the fear of salvation, from the fear of spirituality, from the fear of love, from the fear of death, from the fear of life itself. As an artist paints a picture because he takes delight in that painting, because it is his self-expression, his glory, his well-being, so I do this and not because I want anything from anyone. “You are accustomed to authority, or to the atmosphere of authority, which you think will lead you to spirituality. You think and hope that another can, by his extraordinary powers–a miracle–transport you to this realm of eternal freedom which is Happiness. Your whole outlook on life is based on that authority.

You have listened to me for three years now, without any change taking place except in the few. Now analyze what I am saying, be critical, so that you may understand thoroughly, fundamentally. When you look for an authority to lead you to spirituality, you are bound automatically to build an organization around that authority. By the very creation of that organization, which, you think, will help this authority to lead you to spirituality, you are held in a cage.

If I talk frankly, please remember that I do so, not out of harshness, not out of cruelty, not out of the enthusiasm of my purpose, but because I want you to understand what I am saying. That is the reason why you are here, and it would be a waste of time if I did not explain clearly, decisively, my point of view. “For eighteen years you have been preparing for this event, for the Coming of the World Teacher. For eighteen years you have organized, you have looked for someone who would give a new delight to your hearts and minds, who would transform your whole life, who would give you a new understanding; for someone who would raise you to a new plane of life, who would give you a new encouragement, who would set you free–and now look what is happening! Consider, reason with yourselves, and discover in what way that belief has made you different–not with the superficial difference of the wearing of a badge, which is trivial, absurd. In what manner has such a belief swept away all the unessential things of life? That is the only way to judge: in what way are you freer, greater, more dangerous to every Society which is based on the false and the unessential? In what way have the members of this organization of the Star become different? “As I said, you have been preparing for eighteen years for me. I do not care if you believe that I am the World–Teacher or not. That is of very little importance. Since you belong to the organization of the Order of the Star, you have given your sympathy, your energy, acknowledging that Krishnamurti is the World–Teacher– partially or wholly: wholly for those who are really seeking, only partially for those who are satisfied with their own half-truths.

You have been preparing for eighteen years, and look how many difficulties there are in the way of your understanding, how many complications, how many trivial things. Your prejudices, your fears, your authorities, your churches new and old–all these, I maintain, are a barrier to understanding. I cannot make myself clearer than this. I do not want you to agree with me, I do not want you to follow me, I want you to understand what I am saying. “This understanding is necessary because your belief has not transformed you but only complicated you, and because you are not willing to face things as they are. You want to have your own gods–new gods instead of the old, new religions instead of the old, new forms instead of the old–all equally valueless, all barriers, all limitations, all crutches. Instead of old spiritual distinctions you have new spiritual distinctions, instead of old worships you have new worships. You are all depending for your spirituality on someone else, for your happiness on someone else, for your enlightenment on someone else; and although you have been preparing for me for eighteen years, when I say all these things are unnecessary, when I say that you must put them all away and look within yourselves for the enlightenment, for the glory, for the purification, and for the incorruptibility of the self, not one of you is willing to do it. There may be a few, but very, very few. So why have an organization?

Why have false, hypocritical people following me, the embodiment of Truth? Please remember that I am not saying something harsh or unkind, but we have reached a situation when you must face things as they are. I said last year that I would not compromise. Very few listened to me then. This year I have made it absolutely clear. I do not know how many thousands throughout the world–members of the Order–have been preparing for me for eighteen years, and yet now they are not willing to listen unconditionally, wholly, to what I say.

As I said before, my purpose is to make men unconditionally free, for I maintain that the only spirituality is the incorruptibility of the self which is eternal, is the harmony between reason and love. This is the absolute, unconditioned Truth which is Life itself. I want therefore to set man free, rejoicing as the bird in the clear sky, unburdened, independent, ecstatic in that freedom . And I, for whom you have been preparing for eighteen years, now say that you must be free of all these things, free from your complications, your entanglements. For this you need not have an organization based on spiritual belief. Why have an organization for five or ten people in the world who understand, who are struggling, who have put aside all trivial things? And for the weak people, there can be no organization to help them to find the Truth, because Truth is in everyone; it is not far, it is not near; it is eternally there.

Organizations cannot make you free. No man from outside can make you free; nor can organized worship, nor the immolation of yourselves for a cause, make you free; nor can forming yourselves into an organization, nor throwing yourselves into works, make you free. You use a typewriter to write letters, but you do not put it on an altar and worship it. But that is what you are doing when organizations become your chief concern.

“How many members are there in it?” That is the first question I am asked by all newspaper reporters. “How many followers have you? By their number we shall judge whether what you say is true or false.” I do not know how many there are. I am not concerned with that. As I said, if there were even one man who had been set free, that were enough.

Again, you have the idea that only certain people hold the key to the Kingdom of Happiness. No one holds it. No one has the authority to hold that key. That key is your own self, and in the development and the purification and in the incorruptibility of that self alone is the Kingdom of Eternity.

So you will see how absurd is the whole structure that you have built, looking for external help, depending on others for your comfort, for your happiness, for your strength. These can only be found within yourselves.

You are accustomed to being told how far you have advanced, what is your spiritual status. How childish! Who but yourself can tell you if you are beautiful or ugly within? Who but yourself can tell you if you are incorruptible? You are not serious in these things.

But those who really desire to understand, who are looking to find that which is eternal, without beginning and without an end, will walk together with a greater intensity, will be a danger to everything that is unessential, to unrealities, to shadows. And they will concentrate, they will become the flame, because they understand. Such a body we must create, and that is my purpose. Because of that real understanding there will be true friendship. Because of that true friendship–which you do not seem to know–there will be real cooperation on the part of each one. And this not because of authority, not because of salvation, not because of immolation for a cause, but because you really understand, and hence are capable of living in the eternal. This is a greater thing than all pleasure, than all sacrifice.

So these are some of the reasons why, after careful consideration for two years, I have made this decision. It is not from a momentary impulse. I have not been persuaded to it by anyone. I am not persuaded in such things. For two years I have been thinking about this, slowly, carefully, patiently, and I have now decided to disband the Order, as I happen to be its Head. You can form other organizations and expect someone else. With that I am not concerned, nor with creating new cages, new decorations for those cages. My only concern is to set men absolutely, unconditionally free.”

  • Vagabonding defined:
    • The act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time.
    • A privately meaningful manner of travel that emphasizes creativity, adventure, awareness, simplicity, discovery, independence, realism, self-reliance, and the growth of the spirit.
    • A deliberate way of living that makes freedom to travel possible.
    • Latin-derived term that refers to a wanderer with no fixed home.
    • Vagabonding has always been a private choice within a society that is constantly urging us to do otherwise.
  • This book views long-term travel not as an escape but as an adventure and a passion – a way of overcoming your fears and living life to the fullest.

Research your own experiences for the truth… Absorb what is useful… Add what is specifically your own… The creating individual is more than any style or system. – Bruce Lee

  • Out of insane duty to fear, fashion, and monthly payments on things we don’t really need – we quarantine our travels to short, frenzied bursts. In this way, as we throw our wealth at an abstract notion called “lifestyle,” travel becomes just another accessory – a smooth-edged, encapsulated experience that we purchase the same way we buy clothing and furniture.
    • Ultimately, this shotgun wedding of time and money has a way of keeping us in a holding pattern. The more we associate experience with cash value, the more we think money is what we need to live. And the more we associate money with life, the more we convince ourselves that we are too poor to buy our freedom.
    • In reality, long-term travel has nothing to do with demographics – age, ideology, income – and everything to do with personal outlook.
    • Vagabonding is about using the prosperity and possibility of the information age to increase your personal options instead of your personal possessions.
    • Vagabonding is about looking for adventure in normal life, and normal life within adventure.

[We end up spending] the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it. – Henry David Thoreau

  • … rooting ourselves to a home or a career and using the future as a kind of phony ritual that justifies the present.
  • Vagabonding is the ongoing practice of looking and learning, of facing fears and altering habits, of cultivating new fascination with people and places.
    • Vagabonding is a personal act that demands only realignment of self.

And they say in truth that a man is made of desire. As his desire is, so is his faith. As his faith is, so are his works. As his works are, so he becomes. – The Supreme Teaching of the Upanishads

Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month? The boy who made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this – or the body who had… received a Rodger’s penknife from his father? Which would be most likely to cut his fingers? – Henry David Thoreau

  • [Trustafarians] Because they never worked for their freedom, their travel experiences have no personal reference – no connection to the rest of their lives.
    • They are spending plenty of time and money on the road, but they never spent enough of themselves to begin with. Thus, their experience of travel has a diminished sense of value.
  • The “meaningful” part of travel always starts at home, with a personal investment in the wonders to come.
  • Work is how you settle your financial and emotional debts – so that your travels are not an escape from your real life but a discovery of your real life.

Wanting to travel reflects a positive attitude. You want to see, to grow in experience, and presumably to become more whole as a human being. Vagabonding takes this a step further: it promotes the chances of sustaining and strengthening this positive attitude. As a vagabond, you begin to face your fear now and then instead of continuously sidestepping them in the name of convenience. You build an attitude that makes the life more rewarding, which in turn makes it easier to keep doing it. It’s called positive feedback, and it works. – Ed Buryn, Vagabonding in Europe and North Africa

  • However you choose to fund your travel freedom, keep in mind that your work is an active part of your travel attitude.

We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis. – Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

  • List the job skills travel has taught you: independence, flexibility, negotiation, planning, boldness, self-sufficiency, improvisation.

A lot of us first aspired to far-ranging travel and exotic adventure early in our teens; these ambitions are, in fact, adolescent in nature, which I find an inspiring idea… Thus, when we allow ourselves to imagine as we once did, we know, with a sudden jarring clarity, that if we don’t go right now, we’re never going to do it. And we’ll be haunted by our unrealized dreams and know that we have sinned against ourselves gravely. – Tim Cahill, Exotic Places Made Me Do  It

  • …travel allows you to experience the nuances of the world in a way that mass media never will.
  • Indeed, the freedom to go vagabonding has never been determined by income level; it’s fund through simplicity – the conscious decision of how to use what income you have.
    • Simplicity merely requires a bit of personal sacrifice: an adjustment of your habits and routines within consumer society itself.
    • At times, the biggest challenge in embracing simplicity will be the vague feeling of isolation that comes with it, since private sacrifice doesn’t garner much attention in the frenetic world of mass culture.

Our crude civilization engenders a multitude of wants… Our forefathers forges chains of duty and habit, which bind us notwithstanding our boasted freedom, and we ourselves in desperation, add link to link, groaning and making medicinal laws for relief. – John Muir, Kindred and Related Spirits

… the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn’t really want… general junk you always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of [it] impersonal in a system of work, produce, consume. – Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

  • … neither self nor wealth can be measured in terms of what you consume or own.

[Seeking happiness in one’s material desires is absurd as] suffering because a banana tree will not bear mangos. – Buddha

  • Despite several millennia of such warnings, however, there is still an overwhelming social compulsion – an insanity of consensus, if you will – to get rich from life rather than live richly, to “do well” in the world instead of living well.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing. – Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

By switching to a new game, which in this case involves vagabonding, time becomes the only possession and everyone is equally rich in it by biological inheritance. Money, of course, is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live. So, save what little money you possess to meet basic survival requirements, but spend your time lavishly in order to create the life values that make the fire worth the candle. – Ed Buryn

Travel can be a kind of monasticism on the move: one the road, we often live more simply, with no more possession than we can carry, and surrendering ourselves to chance. This is what Camus meant when he said that “what gives value to travel is fear.” – disruption, in other words (or emancipation), from circumstance and all the habits behind which we hide. – Pico Iyer, Why We Travel

  • There are three general methods to simplifying your life: stopping expansion, reining in your routine, and reducing clutter.

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

  • Vagabonding is, was, and always will be a private undertaking – and its goal is to improve your life not in relation to your neighbors but in relation to yourself.
  • Indeed, not only does simplicity save you money and buy you time; it also makes you more adventuresome, forces you into sincere contact with locals, and allows you the independence to follow your passions and curiosities down exciting new roads.

My greatest skill has been to want little. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  • Vagabonding is not just a process of discovering the world but a way of seeing – an attitude that prepares you to find the things you weren’t looking for.

It is fatal to know too much at the outset; boredom comes as quickly to the traveler who knows his routes as the novelist who is overcertain of his plot. – Paul Theroux, To the Ends of the Earth

  • The key to preparation is to strike a balance between knowing what’s out there and being optimistically ignorant.
  • The gift of the information age is knowing your options – not your destiny – and those people who plan their travels with the idea of eliminating all uncertainty and unpredictability are missing out on the whole point of leaving home in the first place.
  • The goal of preparation is not knowing exactly where you’ll go but being confident nonetheless that you’ll get there. This means that your attitude will be more important than your itinerary, and that the simple willingness to improvise more vital, in the long run, than research.

Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity… no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

  • A lot of media information – especially day-to-day news – should be approached with a healthy amount of skepticism. This is because so many media outlets are more in the business of competing for your attention than giving you a balanced picture of the world.

A good traveler has no fixed plan, and is not intent on arriving. – Laozi, The Way of Life

  • Human-centered adventures

When the virus of restlessness begins to take possession of a wayward man, and the road away from Here seems broad and straight and sweet, the victim must first find in himself a good and sufficient reason for going. This to practical bum is not difficult. He has built-in garden of reason to choose from. Next he must plan his trip in time and space, choose a direction and a destination. – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and its fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgment. The traveler was a student of what he sought. – Paul Fussell, Abroad

  • … moderate the amount of time you spend online as you travel – since nothing stifles your vagabonding flexibility quite like the compulsive urge to stay connected to the modern world.
  • Vagabonding is not like bulk shopping: The value of our travels does not hinge on how many stamps you have in your passport when you get home – and the slow, nuanced experience of a single country is always better than the hurried, superficial experience of forty counties.
  • Never underestimate your ability to learn and adapt quickly – and don’t waste time fretting about every possibility that might come your way on the road.
    • Simple courage is worth far more than detailed logistics, and a confident, positive, ready-to-learn attitude will make up for any travel savvy you lack at the outset.

Travel, there is no path
path are made by walking. – Antonio Machado, Cantores

  • Buddhists believe that we live our everyday lives as if inside an eggshell. Just a an unhatched chicken has few clues about what life is truly like, most of us are only vaguely aware of the greater world that surrounds us.

Excitement and depression, fortune and misfortune, pleasure and pain are storms in a tiny, private, shell-bound realm – which we take to be the whole fo existence. Yet we can break out of this shell and enter a new world. – Eknath Easwaran

Travel in general, vagabonding in particular, produces an awesome density of experiences… a cramming together of incidents, impressions and life detail that is both stimulating and exhausting. So much new and different happens to you so frequently, just when you’re most sensitive to it… You may be excited, bored, confused, desperate and amazed all in the same happy day. – Ed Buryn

I don’t want to hurry it. That itself is a poisonous twentieth-century attitude. When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things. – Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

  • At home, you’re conditioned to get to the point and get things done, to favor goals and efficiency over moment-by-moment distinction.

When you travel you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don’t even understand the language the people speak.. You begin to be more accessible to others, because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. – Paulo Coelho

Did you think you should enter the Garden of Bliss without such trials as came to those who passed before you? – The Koran

  • In other words, tourist attractions are defined by their collective popularity, and that very popularity tends to devalue the individual experience of such attractions.

The practice of soulful travel is to discover the overlapping point between history and everyday life, the way to find the essence of every place, every day: In the markets, small chapels, out-of-the-way parks, craft shops. Curiosity about the extraordinary in the ordinary moves the heart of the traveler intent on seeing behind the veil of tourism. – Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage

Bear in mind that the special advantage of vagabonding is the experience not really knowing what happens next, which you can obtain at bargain rates in all cases… The challenges you face offer no alternative but to cope them. And doing that , your life is being lived fully. – Ed Buryn, Vagabonding in Europe and North America

We see as we are. – The Buddha

Those who visit foreign nations, but associate only with their own countrymen, change their climate, but not their customs. They see new meridians, but the same men; and with heads as empty as their pockets, return home with traveled bodies, but untraveled minds. – Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon

We do not need to understand other people and their customs fully to interact with them and learn in the process; it is making the effort to interact without knowing all the rules, improvising certain situations, that allow us to grow. – Mary Catherine Bateson, Peripheral Visions

We need sometimes to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazards, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment no matter what. – George Santayana, The Philosophy of Travel

Exploration is not so much a covering surface distance as a study in depth: a fleeting episode, a fragment of landscape or a remark overheard that may provide the only means of understanding and interpreting areas which would otherwise remain barren of meaning. – Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques

  • The secret of adventure is not to carefully seek it out but to travel in such a way that it finds you.
    • To do this, you first need to overcome the protective habit of home and open yourself up to unpredictability.

Explore your own higher latitude. Be a Columbus to whole new continents within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

The man who is truly good and wise will bear with dinginity whatever fortune sends, and will always make the best of his circumstances. – Aristotle

We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them… How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquesioningly. Everything … we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is golden for him who has the vision to realize it as such. – Henry Miller

Our eyes find it easier on a given occasion to produce a picture already often produced, than to seize upon the divergence and novelty of an impression. It is difficult and painful for the ear to listen to anything new; we hear strange music badly. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Traveler vs. Tourist

The traveler sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he has come to see. – GK Chesterton

The traveler was active, he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. – Daniel Boorstin

Tourists don’t know where they’ve been; travelers don’t know where they’re going. – Paul Theroux

Travelers are those who leave their assumptions at home, and [tourists are] those who don’t. – Pico Iyer

  • With escape in mind, vacationers tend to approach their holiday with a grim resolve, determined to make their experience live up to their expectation; on the vagabonding road, you prepare for the long haul knowing that the predictable and the unpredictable, the pleasant and the unpleasant are not separate but part of the same ongoing reality.
  • In this way, “seeing” as you travel is somewhat of a spiritual exercise: a process not of seeking interesting surroundings, but of being continually interested in whatever surrounds you.

Most people are on the world, not in it – having no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them – undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate. – John Muir, The Wilderness World of John Muir

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints. – Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes

  • The best way to confront reality is not with a set method of interpretation but with a sincere attitude of open-mindedness.

Luxury, then, is a way of being ignorant, comfortably. – Leroi Jones, Political Poem

  • Cling too fiercely to your ideologies and you’ll miss the subtle realities that politics can’t address.
  • Just as skepticism should not be confused with cynicism, however, embracing realism need not be confused with falling into pessimism.

The evaluation of tourism cannot be accomplished against a static background. Some of what we see as destruction is construction. Some is the result of a lack of any other viable option; and some the result of choices that could be made differently. – Davydd J. Greenwood

  • One particular potent strain of traveler pessimism is the notion that modern influences are destroying native societies, or that certain cultures were more “real” sometimes in the not-too-distant past. According to this assumption, any given society was somehow better twenty years ago, before it was “spoiled.” What such reflexive pessimism overlooks, of course, is that societies have always changed, and that “tradition” is a dynamic phenomenon.
    • … much of concern about the evils of change within premodern culture is less an interest in the quality of local life than our own desire to experience an “untainted” culture.
    • The purest way to see a culture is simply to accept and experience it as it is now.

While I complain of being able to glimpse no more than the shadow of the past, I may be insensitive to reality as it is taking shape at this very moment… A few hundred years hence, in this same place, another traveler, as despairing as myself, will mourn the disappearance of what I might have seen, but failed to see. – Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques

The unreal never is: the Real never is not. This truth indeed has been seen by those who can see the true. – Bhagavad Gita

The drug vision remain a sort of dream that cannot be brought over into daily life. Old mist may be banished, that is true, but the alien chemical agent forms another mist, maintaining the separation of the ‘I” from the true experience of the ‘One.’ – Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard

  • The problem with marijuana, however, is that it’s the travel equivalent of watching television: It replaces real sensation with artificially enhanced ones. Because it doesn’t force you to work for a feeling, it creates passive experiences that are only vaguely connected to the rest of your life.

I never took drugs because I am drugs. – Salvador Dali

  • Strive to be drugs as you travel, to patiently embrace the raw, personal sensation of unmediated reality – an experience far more affecting than any intoxicant can promise.

Often I feel I got to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am… Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of your food, your closet full of your clothes, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That’s not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating. – Michael Crichton, Travels

We all have stuck in us deep somewhere a keenness for excitement, a savoring for the kooky, a leap-for-life outlook. From this comes the catalytic impetus, without which all other requirements mean nothing. Everyday types are as likely to have this sine qua non as the obvious icon-kickers. The person who strikes off for himself is no hero, nor necessarily even unconventional, but to a greater degree than most people, he or she thinks and acts independently. The vagabond frees in himself the latent urge to live closer to the edge of experience. – Ed Buryn

  • …what most people consider “paradise” is defined in contrast to the stresses of home.
  • In knowing my possibilities, I also knew my limitations.
  • Aboriginal walkabout – walkabout acts as a kind of remedy when the duties and obligations of life cause one to lose track of his or her true self. To correct this, one merely leaves behind all possessions and starts walking.
    • There is no physical goal: It simply continues until one becomes whole again.

One must not delude oneself that we are all alike or destined to be members of some sort of global family. – Jeffrey Taylor, Ex-Peace Corps worker

  • Acknowledging differences and avoiding superficial cures is not just a valuable lesson of volunteer work – it’s often the first step in actually solving the problems that you seek to fix.

He who stays at home beside his hearth and is content with the information which he may acquire concerning his own region, cannot be on the same level as one who divides his life span between different lands and spends his days journeying in search of precious and original knowledge. – al-Masudi, The Meadows of Gold

People say that we are all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we are seeking is an experience of being alive. – Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

[Travel as a form of asceticism] is a way of surrendering to reduced circumstances in a manner that enhances the whole person. It is a radical way of knowing exactly who, what, and where you are, in defiance of those powerful forces in society that aim to make us forget. – Kathleen Norris

  • Travel compels you to discover your spiritual side by simply elimination: Without all the rituals, routines, and possessions that give your life meaning at home, you are forced to look for meaning within yourself.
  • Words are symbols, and symbols never resonate the same for everyone.

There is no God but reality. – Sufi saying

  • it is not a declaration of unbelief. Rather, it is a warning to avoid turning inspiration into fetish and tradition into dogma; it is an admonition to never reduce the spiritual realm to the narrow borders of your own perceptions, prejudices, and ideals.

Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we sense them. The least we can do is try to be there. – Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

http://www.vagabonding.net/resources/

Posted: January 21, 2012 in Quotes
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To suppose that God Almighty has confined his goodness to this world, to the exclusion of all others, is much similar to the idle fancies of some individuals in this world, that they, and those of their communion or faith, are the favorites of heaven exclusively; but these are narrow and bigoted conceptions, which are degrading to a rational nature, and utterly unworthy of God, of whom we should form the most exalted ideas.

– Ethan Allen

Posted: December 23, 2011 in Quotes
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People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

― Mother Teresa

  • Rarely do we realize that we are in the midst of the extraordinary. Miracles occur all around us, signs from God show us the way, angels plead to be heard, but we pay little attention to them because we have been taught that we must follow certain formulas and rules if we want to find God. We do not recognize God is wherever we allow Him/Her to enter.
  • Traditional religious practices are important: they allow us to share with others the communal experience of adoration and prayer. But we must never forget that spiritual experience is above all a practical experience of love. And with love, there are no rules. Some may try to control their emotions and develop strategies for their behavior; others may turn to reading  books of advice from “experts” on relationships – but this is all folly. The heart decides, and what it decides is all that really matters.
  • True love is an act of total surrender.
    • Those who love conquer the world and have no fear of loss.
  • Sooner or later, we have to overcome our fears, because the spiritual path can only be traveled through the daily experience of love.
  • One doesn’t love in order to do what is good or to help or to protect someone. If we act that way, we are perceiving the other as a simple object, and we are seeing ourselves as wise and generous persons. This has nothing to do with love. To love is to be in communion with the other and to discover in that other the spark of God.
  • … love can only survive when the hope exists that you will be able to win over the person you desire.
  • But love is much like a dam: if you allow a tiny crack to form through which only a trickle of water can pass, that trickle will quickly bring down the whole structure, and soon no one will be able to control the force of the current. For when those walls come down, then love takes over, and it no longer matters what is possible or impossible; it doesn’t even matter whether we can keep the loved one at our side. To love is to lose control.
  • I’ve paid a considerable price for the little I have gained. I’ve been forced to deny myself many things I’ve wanted, to abandon so many roads that were open to me. I’ve sacrificed my dreams in the name of a larger dream — a peaceful soul. I didn’t want to give up that peace.
  • Life takes us by surprise and orders us to move toward the unknown — even when we don’t want to and when we think we don’t need to.
  • God is love. But the one who understands this best is the Virgin… The Virgin understands the mystery of total surrender.
    • She was normal. She had already had other children. The Bible tells us that Jesus had two brothers. Virginity, as it relates to Jesus, is based on a different thing: Mary initiated a new generation of grace. A new era began. She is the cosmic bride, Earth, which opens to the heavens and allows itself to be fertilized.
    • Because of the courage She showed in accepting her destiny, She allowed God to come down to earth and She was transformed into the Great Mother… She is the feminine face of God. She has her own divinity.
  • The gods throw the dice, and they don’t ask whether we want to be in the game or not. They don’t care if when you go, you leave behind a lover, a home, a career, or a dream. The gods don’t care whether you have it all, whether it seems that your every desire can be met through hard work and persistence. The gods don’t want to know about your plans and your hopes. Somewhere they’re throwing the dice — and you are chosen. From then on, winning or losing is only a question of luck.
    • The gods throw the dice, freeing love from its cage. And love can create or destroy — depending on the direction of the wind when it is set free.
  • The universe always helps us fight for our dreams, no matter how foolish they may be. Our dreams are our own, and only we can know the effort required to keep them alive.
  • Why is water the symbol of the feminine face of God?
    • She normally chooses that medium to manifest Herself. Maybe because She is the source of life; we are generated in water, and for nine months we live in it. Water is the symbol of the power of woman, the power that no man—no matter how enlightened or perfect he may be—can capture.
  • Love doesn’t need to be discussed; it has its own voice and speaks for itself.
  • But love is always new. Regardless of whether we love once, twice, or a dozen times in our life, we always face a brand-new situation. Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere. We simply have to accept it, because it is what nourishes our existence. If we reject it, we die of hunger, because we lack the courage to stretch out a hand and pluck the fruit from the branches of the tree of life. We have to take love where we find it, even if that means hours, days, weeks of disappointment and sadness.
    • The moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us… And to save us.
  • Truth resides where there is faith.
    • The Buddhists were right, the Hindus were right, the Muslims were right, and so were the Jews. Whenever someone follows the path to faith — sincerely follows it — he or she is able to unite with God and to perform miracles.
  • … I am always better than I think and stronger than I believe.

Thy will be done, my Lord. Because you know the weakness in the heart of your children, and you assign each of them only the burden they can bear. May you understand my love — because it is the only thing I have that is really mine, the only thing that I will be able to take with me into the next life. Please allow it to be courageous and pure; please make it capable of surviving the snares of the world.

  • Only a man who is happy can create happiness in others.
  • You have to be committed to the place you choose. A divided kingdom cannot defend itself from its adversaries. A divided person cannot face life in a dignified way.
  • Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.
  • Love doesn’t ask many questions, because if we stop to think we become fearful. It’s an inexplicable fear; it’s difficult even to describe it. Maybe it’s the fear of being scorned, of not being accepted, or of breaking the spell. It’s ridiculous, but that’s the way it is. That’s why you don’t ask — you act. As you’ve said many times, you have to take risks.
  • A fall from the third floor hurts as much as a fall from the hundredth.
    • If I have to fall, may it be from a high place.
  • That well brought many people here, with their hopes and dreams and conflicts. Someone dared to look for water, water was found, and people gathered where it flowed. I think that when we look for love courageously, it reveals itself, and we wind up attracting even more love. If one person really wants us, everyone does. But if we’re alone, we become even more alone. Life is strange.
    • [I Ching] It says that a city can be moved but not a well. It’s around the well that lovers find each other, satisfy their thirst, build their homes, and raise their children. But if one of them decides to leave, the well cannot go with them. Love remains there, abandoned — even though it is filled with the same pure water as before.
  • Because God came to earth to demonstrate His power to us. We are a part of His dream, and He wants His dream to be a happy one. Thus, if we acknowledge that God created us for happiness, then we have to assume that everything that leads to sadness and defeat is our own doing. That’s the reason we always kill God, whether on the cross, by fire, through exile, or simply in our hearts.
  • The world itself has a soul, and at a certain moment, that soul acts on everyone and everything at the same time.
  • What can I do to try to prevent the suffering of someone who wants to return to paradise before it is time to do so?
  • The mountains are beautiful. Anyone who beholds them has to think about the grandness of creation. They are living proof of the love that God feels for us, but their fate is merely to give testimony. They are not like the rivers, which move and transform what is around them.

Give me the opportunity to learn through my love, because love has never kept anyone away from their dreams.

  • But the first climber knew what was great about it: the acceptance of the challenge of going forward. He knew that no single day is the same as any other and that each morning brings its own special miracle, its magic moment in which ancient universes are destroyed and new stars are created.
  • Every person on earth has a gift. In some, the gift manifests itself spontaneously; others have to work to discover what it is.
    • This gift is there for anyone who will accept it. One has only to believe, accept, and be willing to make mistakes.
    • Accept the gift. And then the gift manifests itself.
  • We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation.
    • It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.
  • Life existed before we were born and will continue to exist after we leave this world.
  • Love perseveres. It’s men who change.
  • Dreams mean work.

Posted: October 13, 2011 in Quotes
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Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.

– Benjamin Franklin

Posted: July 15, 2011 in Quotes
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The religion of the future: a cosmic religion. Should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Natural and the spiritual, should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description…If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.

– Albert Einstein

  • The word which is “creation” in English language is in Sanskrit exactly “projection.”
    • Western Creation: Something that coming out of nothing.
    • Vedanta Creation: Projection of that which already existed.
  • We are all one, and the cause of evil is the perception of duality.
    • As soon as I begin to feel that I am separate from this universe, then first comes fear, and then comes misery.
    • In reality there is one, but in Maya it is appearing as many.
    • The real is one. It is the mind which makes it appear as many. When we perceive diversity, the unity has gone; and as soon as we perceive the unity, the diversity has vanished.
  • Behind everything the same divinity is existing, and out of this comes the basis of morality. Do not injure another. Love everyone as your own self, because the whole universe is one. In injuring another, I am injuring myself; in loving another, I am loving myself.
  • Just as when a farmer wants to water his field from the canals that pass near, he has only to lift his gate – so each man is the Infinite already, only these bars and bolts and different circumstances shut him in; but as soon as these are removed, he rushes out and expresses himself.
  • Concentrating the powers of the mind is the only way to knowledge.
    • Knowledge is a lower state; it is only in Maya that we can have knowledge.
  • Religion always takes three steps. The first is dualism. Then man gets to a higher state, partial non-dualism. And at last he finds he is one with the universe.
    • When a man first hears it, he must reason on it, so that he does not believe it ignorantly, but knowingly; and after reasoning what it is, he must meditate upon it, and then realize it. And that is religion. Belief is no part of religion. We say religion is a super-conscious state.
  • “Why” cannot be asked beyond the limit of causation. It can only be asked within Maya.
  • [Yoga] One ounce of practice is worth a thousand pounds of theory.
  • Of all scriptures of the world it is the Vedas alone that declare that even the study of the Vedas is secondary. The real study is “that by which we realize the unchangeable.” And that is neither reading, nor believing, nor reasoning, but super-conscious perception, or Samadhi.
  • In the unconditioned there cannot be time, space, or causation.
  • Ignorance makes the illusion.
    • Not that we do not know, or that we are ignorant; but it is above knowledge, and cannot be brought down to the plane of knowledge.
    • There are certain things which we can never know, because they are much higher than the highest vibration of knowledge.
    • Knowledge cannot be the goal, because knowledge is a compound. It is compound of power and freedom, and it is freedom alone that is desirable. Simply the possession of power would not be knowledge.
    • It is not law that we want but ability to break law. We want to be outlaws.
  • If you think you are free, free you will be.
  • There is really no difference between matter, mind, and spirit. They are only different phases of experiencing the One.
  • Reason is not perfect. It is, however, the only possible rational system that the human mind can conceive.
  • Why should God need any purpose? If He had any, He would be bound by it. There would be something besides Him which was greater.
  • As soon as we react, we become slaves.
  • This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything know about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.
    • The first result of this illusion is that our attitude to the world “outside” us is largely hostile. We are forever “conquering” nature, space, mountains, deserts, bacteria, and insects instead of learning to cooperate with them in a harmonious order.
    • The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events – that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies – and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.
  • Religions are divisive and quarrelsome. They are a form of one-upmanship because they depend upon separating the “saved” from the “damned,” the true believers from the heretics, the in-group from the out-group. Even religious liberals play the game of “we’re-more-tolerant-than-you.”
    • Furthermore, as systems of doctrine, symbolism, and behavior, religious harden into institutions that must command loyalty, be defended and kept “pure,” and because all belief is fervent hope, and thus a cover-up for doubt and uncertainty – religions must make converts.
    • No considerate God would destroy the human mind by making it so rigid and inadaptable as to depend upon one book, the Bible, for all the answers. For the use of words, and thus of a book, is to point beyond themselves to a world of life and experience that is not mere words or even ideas.
  • Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, openness – an act of trust in the unknown.
  • The Book that I would like to slip to my children would itself be slippery. It would slip them into a new domain, not of ideas alone, but of experience and feeling. It would be a temporary medicine, not a diet; a point of departure, not a perpetual point of reference.
  • The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego.
  • …myself does not reside in the drop alone, but in the whole surge of energy which ranges from the galaxies to the nuclear fields in my body. At this level of existence “I” am immeasurably old; my forms are infinite and their comings and goings are simply the pulses or vibrations of a single and eternal flow of energy.
  • Genuine love comes from knowledge, not from a sense of duty or guilt.
  • Yet remember, this story of the cycles of the world’s appearance and disappearance is myth, not science, parable rather than prophecy.
  • The very things that we believe to exist are always on/offs. Ons alone and offs alone do not exist.
    • Although sounds of high vibration seem to be continuous, to be pure sound, they are not. Every sound is actually sound/silence, only the ear does not register this consciously when the alternation is too rapid.
    • Light, too, is not pure light, but light/darkness.
  • Space is the relationship between bodies; and without it there can be neither energy nor motion.
    • Things are said to move only when compared with others that are relatively still, for motion is motion/stillness.
    • But the mistake in the beginning was to think of solids and space as two different things, instead of as two aspects of the same thing. The point is that they are different but inseparable.
      • Take away the crest of the wave, and there is no trough.
  • Attention is narrowed perception.
    • It is a way of looking at life bit by bit, using memory to string the bits together – as when examining a dark room with a flash light having a very narrow beam.
    • The narrow slit in the fence is much like the way in which we look at life by conscious attention, for when we attend to something we ignore everything else.
    • To these we attend, and the rest we ignore – for which reason conscious attention is at the same time ignorance despite the fact that it gives us a vividly clear picture of whatever we choose to notice.
    • We also speak of attention as noticing. To notice is to select, to regard some bits of perception, or some features of the world, as more noteworthy, more significant, than others.
  • It is hard to notice anything for which the languages available to us (whether verbal, mathematical, or musical) have no description.
  • We do not play the Game of Black-and-White – the universal game of up/down, on/off, solid/space, and each/all. Instead, we play the game of Black-versus-White or more usually, White-versus-Black.
    • …We are doing something as crazy as trying to keep the mountains and get rid of the valleys.
  • Imagination cannot grasp simple nothingness and must therefore fill the void with fantasies…
  • Power is not necessarily wisdom. I may have virtual omnipotence in the government of my body and my physical environment, but how am I to control myself so as to avoid folly and error in its use?
  • The question is then whether technical progress actually “gets anywhere” in the sense of increasing the delight and happiness of life.
    • …all too soon these new contrivances are taken for granted, and we find ourselves oppressed with the new predicaments which they bring with them.
  • However much we divide, count, sort, or classify this wiggling into particular things and events, this is no more than a way of thinking about the world: it is never actually divided.
  • Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way, like the problem of cause and effect.
  • The definition of a thing or event must include definition of its environment, we realize that any given thing goes with a given environment so intimately and inseparably that it is more difficult to draw a clear boundary between the thing and its surroundings.
    • Asking “What does it do?” is not enough. We must also ask, “In what surroundings is it doing it?”
  • Your soul, or rather your essential Self, is the whole cosmos as it is centered around the particular time, place, and activity called John Doe. Thus the soul is not in the body, but the body in the soul, and the soul is the entire network of relationships and processes which make up your environment, and apart from which you are nothing.
    • The human individual is not built as a car is built. He does not come into being by assembling parts, by screwing a head onto a neck, by wiring a brain to a set of lungs, or by welding veins to a heart. Head, neck, heart, lungs, brain, veins, muscles, and glands are separate names but not separate events, and these events grow into being simultaneously and interdependently. In precisely the same way, the individual is separate from his universal environment only in name. when this is not recognized, you have been fooled by your name.
  • Double-bind – a person is put in a double-bind by a command or request which contains a concealed contradiction.
    • Stop being self-conscious!
    • Try to relax.
  • The social double-bind game:
    • The first rule of this game is that it is not a game.
    • Everyone must play.
    • You must love us.
    • You must go on living.
    • Be yourself, but play a consistent and acceptable role.
    • Control yourself and be natural.
    • Try to be sincere.
  • Instead of giving our children clean and explicit explanations of the game rules of the community, we befuddle them hopelessly because we – as adults – were once so befuddled, and, remaining so, do not understand the game we are playing.
  • Faith – in life, in other people, and in oneself – is the attitude of allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its own time. That is, of course, risky because life and other people do not always respond to faith as we might wish.
    • But to take the gamble out of the game, to try to make winning a dead certainty, is to achieve a certainty which is indeed dead.
    • The alternative to a community based on mutual trust is a totalitarian police-state, a community in which spontaneity is virtually forbidden.
  • Every individual is a unique manifestation of the Whole, as every branch is a particular outreaching of the tree.
    • Differentiation is not separation.
  • Because he is now so largely defined as a separate person caught up in a mindless and alien universe, his principal task is to get one-up on the universe and to conquer nature. This is palpably absurd, and since the task is never achieved, the individual is taught to live and work for some future in which the impossible will at last happen, if not for him, then at least for his children. We are thus breeding a type of human being incapable of living in the present – that is, of really living.
    • You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, “Now, I’ve arrived!” Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now.
  • For our pleasures are not material pleasures but symbols of pleasure – attractively packaged but inferior in content.
  • Gestalt theory of perception – no figure is ever perceived except in relation to a background.
  • We do not easily notice that all features of the world hold their boundaries in common with the areas that surround them – that the outline of the figure is also the inline of the background.
  • The difficulty is that most languages are arranged so that actions (verbs) have to be set in motion by things (nouns), and we forget that rules of grammar are not necessarily rules, or patterns, of nature.
    • For the organism is sometimes a running process, sometimes a standing process, sometimes a sleeping process, and so on, and in each instance the “cause” of the behavior is the situation as a whole, the organism/environment. Indeed, it would be best to drop the idea of causality and use instead the idea of relativity.
  • It is what it does. More precisely, the organism, including its behavior, is a process which is to be understood only in relation to the larger and longer process of its environment.
    • The whole is a pattern which has no separate parts.
    • Parts are fictions of language – parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing.
  • It is easy enough to see that an intelligent human being implies an intelligent human society, for thinking is a social activity – a mutual interchange of messages and ideas based on such social institutions as languages, sciences, libraries, universities, and museums.
  • No current will “flow” through a wire until the positive pole is connected with the negative, or, to put it very simply, no current will start unless it has a point of arrival, and a living organism is a “point of arrival” apart from which there can never be the “currents” or phenomena of light, heat, weight, hardness, and so forth.

The fool who persists in his folly will become wise. – William Blake

  • We have lacked the proper self-respect of recognizing that I, the individual organism, am a structure of such fabulous ingenuity that it calls the whole universe into being.
    • We have lacked the real humility of recognizing that we are members of the biosphere, the “harmony of contained conflicts” in which we cannot exist at all without the cooperation of [everything].

…the world cannot be analyzed correctly into distinct parts; instead, it must be regarded as an indivisible unit in which separate parts appear as valid approximations only in the classical [i.e. Newtonian] limit…Thus at the quantum level of accuracy, an object does not have any “intrinsic” properties (for instance, wave or particle) belonging to itself alone; instead, it shares all its properties mutually and indivisibly with the systems with which it interacts. Moreover, because a given object, such as an electron, interacts at different potentialities, it undergoes…continual transformation between the various forms (for instance, wave or particle form) in which it can manifest itself.

Although such fluidity and dependence of form on the environment have not been found, before the advent of quantum theory, at the level of elementary particles in physics, they are not uncommon…in fields, such as biology, which deal with complex systems. Thus, under suitable environmental conditions, a bacterium can develop into a spore stage, which is completely different in structure, and vice versa. – David Bohm, Quantum Theory

  • For eternally and always there in only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.
  • Man so defined and so experienced is, of course, incapable of pleasure and contentment, let alone creative power. Hoaxed into the illusion of being an independent, responsible source of actions, he cannot understand why what he does never comes up to what he should do, to a society which has defined him as separate cannot persuade him to behave as if he really belonged. Thus he feels chronic guilt and makes the most heroic efforts to placate his conscience.
    • The separate person is without content, in both senses of the word. He lives perpetually on hope, on looking forward to tomorrow, having been brought up this way from childhood…
  • If you know what you want, and will be content with it, you can be trusted.
    • But if you do not know, your desires are limitless and no one can tell how to deal with you. For whom that does not know what he wants, everyone suspects that there are limitless strings attached to his gifts.
  • No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.

Part of the blessedness of the saints in Heaven was that they could look over the battlements and enjoy the “proper justice” of the sinners squirming in Hell. – Saint Thomas Aquinas

  • All winners need losers; all saints need sinners; all sages need fools.

If I am I because you are you, and if you are you because I am I, them I am not I, you are not you. – A Hassidic rabbi

  • How to get over the sensation of being locked out from everything “other,” of being only oneself – an organism flung into unavoidable competition and conflict with almost every “object” in its experience?
  • Nothing unites a community so much as common cause against an external enemy, yet, in the same moment, that enemy becomes the essential support of social unity.
    • Therefore larger societies require larger enemies.
  • The more resolute you plumb the question “Who or what am I?” – the more you unavoidable is the realization that you are nothing at all apart from everything else.
  • When this feeling of separateness is approached and accepted like any other sensation, it evaporates like the mirage that it is.
  • There is, indeed, no compulsion unless there is also freedom of choice, for the sensation of behaving involuntarily is known only by contrast with that of behaving voluntarily.

When purpose has been used to achieve purposelessness, the thing has been grasped. – The Secret of the Golden Flower

  • To play so as to be relaxed and refreshed for work is not to play, and no work is well and finely done unless it, too, is a form of play.
  • The word is a spell (in Latin, Fascinum), an enchantment (being thrilled by a chant), an amazement (being lost in a maze), an arabesque of such stunning rhythm and a plot so intriguing that we are drawn by its web into a state of involvement where we forget that it is a game…It is simultaneously the purest nonsense and the utmost artistry.
  • The universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate “you” to get something out of it, as if life were a bank to be robbed. The only real “you” is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For “you” is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new. What we see as death, empty space, or nothingness is only the trough between the crests of this endlessly waving ocean. It is all part of the illusion that there should seem to be something to be gained in the future, and that there is an urgent necessity to go on and on until we get it. Yet just as there is no time but the present, and no one except the all-and-everything, there is never anything to be gained – though the zest of the game is to pretend that there is.
  • If we want justice for minorities and cooled wars with our natural enemies, whether human or nonhuman, we must first come to terms with the minority and the enemy in ourselves and in our own hearts, for the rascal is there as much as anywhere in the “external” world – especially when you realize that the world outside your skin is as much yourself as the world inside.
  • The goal of action is always contemplation – knowing and being rather than seeking and becoming.
  • Nothing so eludes conscious inspections consciousness itself. This is why the root of consciousness has been called, paradoxically, the unconsciousness.
  • Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself.
  • Anyone who thinks at all must be a philosopher – a good one or a bad one – because it is impossible to think without premises, without basic (and in this sense, metaphysical) assumptions about what is sensible, what is the good life, what is beauty, and what is pleasure. To hold such assumptions, consciously or unconsciously, is to philosophize.
  • Chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy are special fascination with the details of our environment, but metaphysics is fascination with the whole thing.
  • Thought and sensation are analytical and selective, and thus present the world as no more than a multiplicity of things and events.

What guarantee is there that the five senses, taken together, do cover the whole of possible experience? They cover simply our actual experience, our human knowledge of facts or events. There are gaps between the fingers; there are gaps between the senses. In these gaps is the darkness which hides the connection between things…This darkness is the source of our vague fears and anxieties, but also the home of the gods. They alone see the connections, the total relevance of everything that happens; that which now comes to us in bits and pieces, the “accidents” which exist only in our heads, in our limited perceptions. – Idris Parry

  • All knowledge is a recognition of the mutual relations between sense experiences and/or things and events.
    • All things are known by their differences from and likeness to each other.
  • Enantiodromia – the attainment of any extreme position is the point where it begins to turn into its own opposite.
  • Listen intently to a voice singing without words. It may charm you into crying, force you to dance, fill you with rage, or make you jump for joy. You can’t tell where the music ends and the emotions begin, for the whole thing is a kind of music – the voice playing on your nerves as the breath plays on a flute. All experience is just that, except that its music has many more dimension than sound. It vibrates in the dimensions of sight, touch, taste, and smell, and in the intellectual dimension of symbols and words – all evoking and playing upon each other.
  • For this unity is not mere oneness as opposed to multiplicity, since these two terms are themselves polar. The unity, or inseparability, of one and many is therefore referred to in Vedanta philosophy as “non-duality” (advaita) to distinguish it from simply uniformity.
    • Language can no more transcend duality than paintings or photographs upon a flat surface can go beyond two dimensions. Yet by the convention of perspective, certain two-dimensional lines that slant towards a “vanishing-point” are taken to represent the third dimension of depth.
    • In a similar way, the dualistic term “non-duality” is taken to represent the “dimension” in which explicit differences have implicit unity.
  • What lies beyond opposites must be discussed, if at all, in terms of opposites, and this means using the language of analogy, metaphor, and myth.
  • The difficulty is not only that language is dualistic, insofar as words are labels for mutually exclusive classes. The problem is that IT is so much more myself than I thought I was, so central and basic to my existence, that I cannot make it an object. There is no way to stand outside IT, and, in fact, no need to do so. For so long as I am trying to grasp IT, I am implying that IT is not really myself. If it were possible, I am losing the sense of it by attempting to find it. This is why those who really know that they are IT invariably say they do not understand it, for IT understands understanding – not the other way around. One cannot, and need no, go deeper than deep!
  • It is difficult not to feel the force of the image, because images sway our emotions more deeply than conceptions.

Nothing is left to you at this moment but to have a good laugh! – Zen saying

  • We [The separate selves] do not trust the universe to repeat what it has already done – to “I” itself again and again. We see it as a eternal arena in which the individual is no more than a temporary stranger – a visitor who hardly belongs – for the thin ray of consciousness does not shine upon its own source. In looking out upon the world, we forget that the world is looking at itself – through our eyes and IT’s.