“. . . Every religion in the world has had a subset of devotees who seek a direct, transcendent experience with God, excusing themselves from fundamentalist scriptural or dogmatic study in order to personally encounter the divine. The interesting thing about these mystics is that, when they describe their experiences, they all end up describing exactly the same occurrence. Generally their union with God occurs in a meditative state, and is delivered thought an energy source that fills the entire body with euphoric, electric light . . .
The most difficult challenge, the saint wrote in her memoirs, was to not stir up the intellect during meditation, for any thoughts of the mind—-even the most fervent prayers—-will extinguish the fire of God. Once the troublesome mind ‘begins to compose speeches and dream up arguments, especially if they are clever, it will soon imagine it is doing important work.’ But if you can surpass those thoughts, Teresa explained, and ascend toward God, ‘it is a glorious bewilderment, a heavenly madness, in which true wisdom is acquired.’ Unknowingly echoing the poems of the Persian Sufi mystic Hafiz . . . .”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
“. . . I have many friends in New York who are not religious people. Most, I would say. Either they fell away from the spiritual teachings of their youth or they never grew up with any God to begin with . . . What I’m seeing in some of my friends, though, as they are aging, is a longing to have something to believe in. But this longing chafes against any number of obstacles, including their intellect and common sense. Despite all their intellect, though, these people live in a world that careens about in a series of wild and devastating and completely nonsensical lurches. Great and horrible experiences of either suffering or joy occur in the lives of all these people, just as with the rest of us, and these mega-experiences tend to make us long for a spiritual context in which to express either lament or gratitude, or to seek understanding. The problem is—what to worship, whom to pray to? . . . . “
—-Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
“The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.”
“….If you view life through the eyes of the judge and conditional love, then life is no longer a work of art; rather, it becomes a series of goals to achieve and contests to win. You are happy when things go ‘right’ and upset when they go ‘wrong.’ Viewing life this way can make for a very difficult experience.
With awareness, notice how you view the ups and downs of life today. Are you trying to ‘win,’ or are you living in the realization that everything that occurs is an artistic creation of life? Be the artist, not the judge.”
—-Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr., Living a Life of Awareness, Daily Meditations on the Toltec Path
“Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.”
“Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.”