Friday, January 31, 2014

Weekly Quotes 2014 #4



Ralph Waldo Emerson called it “provocative reading”—an approach to reading spiritual texts designed to provoke us into new ways of thinking and living.  The practice is quite straightforward:  take a short text, read it over several times, and then meditate upon its meaning for your life. (150)

[A]dherents to a particular tradition can easily succumb to the temptation of believing that their scripture is not only definitive for them, but definitive, period: for all people and all time. This temptation can lead to the sin of scriptural idolatry, the belief that the initial or current form of the scripture remains inviolable.  (151)

In a secular age, the process of establishing ethical standards is more complicated than opening a book of scripture or doing what seems right in our own minds.  (155)

Perhaps there is no one truth, only different truths embraced by different communities.  This situation is commonly known as moral relativism.  If relativism is the ultimate ethical principle, however, then tolerance becomes the highest moral virtue.  The problem is that some actions are intolerable, no matter who commits them, or when, or where.  We need a higher standard than individual preference upon which to establish our code of conduct.  (159-160)

Virtue requires both the ability to act rightly and the knowledge of what constitutes acting rightly. (163)


[I]t’s better not to see than to see wrongly.  (238)

A person who sees Quality and feels it as he works is a person who cares. A person who cares about what he sees and does is a person who’s bound to have some characteristics of Quality.  (247)

I tell him getting stuck is the commonest thing of all. Usually, I say, your mind gets stuck when you’re trying to do too many things at once.  What you have to do is try not to force words to come.  That just gets you more stuck.  What you have to do now is separate out the things and do them one at a time.  You’re trying to think of what to say and what to say first at the same time and that’s too hard.  So separate them out.  Just make a list of all the things you want to say in any old order.  Then later . . . figure out the right order.  (249)

The past cannot remember the past.  The future cannot generate the future.  (255)

The real ugliness lies in the relationship between the people who produce the technology and the things they produce, which results in a similar relationship between the people who use the technology and the things they use.  (261)


If you hear a voice within you say, “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. —Vincent van Gogh

It’s not possible for kids to always feel secure. 

Placebos work. In fact, in research conducted at Harvard Medical School, adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who were told they were taking a placebo improved as much as those on the very best IBS medications.  

When it comes to kids and worry, not feeling like trying a new or difficult activity creates a major hurdle. 

Knowing what outcome you want and really wanting that outcome can motivate you to face what you fear.  


“Some men think because they are afraid to do.”

It was one thing to slay a lion, another to hack his paw off and leave him broken and bewildered.

I never wanted to see half the things I’ve seen, and I’ve never seen half the things I wanted to. I don’t think wanting comes into it.

“The gods made men to fight, and women to bear children. . . .  A woman’s war is in the birthing bed.”

“The worst isn’t done. The worst is just beginning, and there are no happy endings.” 

When we’re mindful, we’re less likely to want life to be other than it is, at least for the moment.  (39)

Mindfulness is both knowing where our mind is from moment to moment and directing our attention in skillful ways.  (41)

Distractions are a part of meditation.  Each moment of recognizing distraction actually should be welcomed rather than used as an occasion for self-criticism, because it shows that you’ve just “woken up” from daydreaming.  (48)

This book is not written for people who want to become meditators, although some readers might develop a taste for it.  (52)

Formal meditation is never an end in itself; life is the real practice.  (52)

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