“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment.”
The Untethered Mind
“The transformation of the world is brought about by the transformation of oneself, because the self is the product and a part of the total process of human existence. To transform oneself, self-knowledge is essential; without knowing what you are, there is no basis for right thought, and without knowing yourself there cannot be transformation. One must know oneself as one is, not as one wishes to be, which is merely an ideal and therefore fictitious, unreal; it is only that which is that can be transformed, not that which you wish to be. To know oneself as one is requires an extraordinary alertness of mind, because what is is constantly undergoing transformation, change; and to follow it swiftly the mind must not be tethered to any particular dogma or belief, to any particular pattern of action.. If you would follow anything, it is no good being tethered. To know yourself, there must be awareness, the alertness of mind in which there is freedom from all beliefs, from all idealization, because beliefs and ideals only give you a color, perverting true perception. If you want to know what you are, you cannot imagine or have belief in something which you are not. If I am greedy, envious, violent, merely having an ideal of non-violence, of non-greed, is of little value … The understanding of what you are, whatever it be – ugly or beautiful, wicked or mischievous – the understanding of what you are, without distortion, is the beginning of virtue. Virtue is essential, for it gives freedom.”
“When we lay claim to the evil in ourselves, we no longer fear its occurring outside of our control. For example, a patient comes into therapy complaining that he does not get along well with other people; somehow he always says the wrong thing and hurts their feelings. He is really a nice guy, just has this uncontrollable, neurotic problem. What he does not want to know is that his “unconscious hostility” is not his problem, it’s his solution. He is really not a nice guy who wants to be good; he’s a bastard who wants to hurt other people while still thinking of himself as a nice guy. If the therapist can guide him into the pit of his own ugly soul, then there may be hope for him….Nothing about ourselves can be changed until it is first accepted.”
–Sheldon Kopp,If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him
“In my research I’ve found that the same can be said for the conspiracies we make up to justify stereotypes and to explain that fight with our partner or the disapproving look from our boss or child’s behavior at school. We make up hidden stories that tell us who is against us and who is with us. Whom we can trust and who is not to be trusted. Conspiracy thinking is all about fear-based self-protection and our intolerance for uncertainty. When we depend on self-protecting narratives often enough, they become our default stories. And we must not forget that storytelling is a powerful integration tool. We start weaving these hidden, false stories into our lives and they eventually distort who we are and how we relate to others.”
–Brene Brown, Rising Strong
“Advice to those about to acquire a Vermeer: Always look at it as it might appear in its average moments–not as it might glow in the light-dance of the fireplace, or burn from within on a fall Sunday morning when the amalgamation of the sun’s rays blasts red upon those fat dutch cheeks, or as you would make it glow when you return home flushed with the one victory or another, or with wine. None of that.
Rather think: What will this masterpiece look like at 2:45 on a February afternoon when you have run out of toilet paper and the roof leaks and a horse has just kicked in your kitchen door for the fun of it. And a dead badger is wedged high in the chimney, stinking up the house. Consider such moments as these, when you are about to acquire your Vermeer. But yes. She is as lovely as a Vermeer.”
–Roger Rosenblatt, The Book of Love
“You are not required to act in any way that sacrifices your wish to grow in spiritual strength. For example, you are not required to support the weakness of another person. Also, you are not required to relieve the anxiety of anyone whose anxiety is caused by his preference for delusion over reality.”
– Vernon Howard
“NOTE: An evening at the theatre. It occurred to me that there is something weird about someone wanting to be someone else. And even more so about someone sitting down for a couple of hours to look at someone they don’t know, pretending to be someone else, talking to someone who is also pretending to be someone else. A dialogue, furthermore, invented by somebody who imagined they were pretending to be each of these in turn.”
– Alan Fletcher
If people carry along with them a manufactured idea of how a person should be, so much so that they are in love with that idea and with fullfilling that imagination…what do they miss?
Do they gain anything?