"A society which disregards those who are weak and non-productive risks exaggerating the development of reason, organization, aggression and the desire to dominate.
It becomes a society without heart, without kindness — a rational and sad society, lacking celebration, divided within itself and given to competition, rivalry and, finally violence.”
~Jean Vanier from Man and Woman, God Made Them
Hear more of Jean Vanier in The Wisdom of Tenderness
Photo by Craig Allen / Flickr, cc by nc-nd-2.0
"Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect.
In either case, we learn nothing.
If we read or listen with an open mind and an open heart, the rain of the Dharma will penetrate the soil of our consciousness.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh from Heart of Buddha’s Teaching
Hear more Thich Nhat Hanh in Brother Thay: A Radio Pilgrimage
photo by Martina K. / Flickr, cc by 2.0
"Your mindfulness will only be as robust as the capacity of your mind to be calm and stable. Without calmness, the mirror of mindfulness will have an agitated and choppy surface, and will not be able to reflect things with any accuracy."
~Jon Kabat-Zinn from Wherever You Go, There You Are
Hear more of Jon Kabat-Zinn in Opening to Our Lives
Photo by Giampaolo Macorig / Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0
"The tendency nowadays to wander in wildernesses is delightful to see.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
~John Muir from The Writings of John Muir
Read more about wilderness in “The Last Quiet Places" with Gordon Hempton
Photo by Jeremy Dunlop / Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0
"The main thing is the YOU beneath the clothes and skin — the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world.
Don’t shrink from new experiences and custom. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bed-room. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not.
Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul.”
~W.E.B. Du Bois in a letter to his daughter Yolande (1914)
photo by Matteo Mazzadri / Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0
"I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person…they have a certain appearance of fragility, but they are really strong."
~Tennessee Williams, from Conversations with Tennessee Williams
Photo by Emmanuele Contini / Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0
"Intellect, worshipped by all, brings us as far as natural science, and this science, although very great, is incomplete. Redemption from mere nature is the work of feeling and of the awakened eye of the Spirit.
The body, she says, is subject to the force of gravity. But the soul is ruled by levity, pure.”
~Saul Bellow from Him With His Foot in His Mouth: And Other Stories
photo by Sheree Zielke / Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0
"The fact that nature talks mathematics, I find it miraculous. I spent my early days calculating very, very precisely how electrons ought to behave. Well, then somebody went into the laboratory and the electron knew the answer. The electron somehow knew it had to resonate at that frequency which I calculated. So that, to me, is something at the basic level we don’t understand. Why is nature mathematical? But there’s no doubt it’s true. And, of course, that was the basis of Einstein’s faith."
~Freeman J. Dyson,from Einstein’s God
Photo by An Nguyen / Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0
"Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone.
Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
~Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus
Photo by Courtney Carmody/Flickr, cc by 2.0