Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn’t matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honored. Dying… or busy with other assignments. Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life. There as well: “To do what needs doing.” Look inward. Don’t let the true nature of anything elude you.
Only there, delight and stillness… when jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and don’t lose the rhythm more than you can help. You’ll have a better grasp of harmony if you keep going back to it.
~ Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations
Birthdays! What music in the world! In these unresting times, when nothing intellectual, economic, social, political, seems stable; when customs and traditions hoary with age are mixed with explosive elements, this oldest of institutions is not in danger of yielding to destructive forces.
~J.R. Macduff, Birthdays, 1893
In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.
~ Rachel Carson
We’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention. In some ways, this is getting far afield. I mean, we are – as far as we know – the only part of the universe that’s self-conscious. We could even be the universe’s form of consciousness. We might have come along so that the universe could look at itself. I don’t know that, but we’re made of the same stuff that stars are made of, or that floats around in space. But we’re combined in such a way that we can describe what it’s like to be alive, to be witnesses. Most of our experience is that of being a witness. We see and hear and smell other things. I think being alive is responding.
~ Mark Strand
The waves broke and spread their waters swiftly over the shore. One after another they massed themselves and fell; the spray tossed itself back with the energy of their fall. The waves were steeped deep-blue save for a pattern of diamond-pointed light on their backs which rippled as the backs of great horses ripple with muscles as they move. The waves fell; withdrew and fell again, like the thud of a great beast stamping.
~ Virginia Woolf, The Waves
Love is a force that connects us to every strand of the universe, an unconditional state that characterizes human nature, a form of knowledge that is always there for us if only we can open ourselves to it.
~Emily H. Sell
All our time disappears on us. This is an incredible fact. You are so knitted into a day. You are within it; the day is as close as your skin. It is around your eyes; it is inside your mind. The day moves you, often it can weigh you down; or again it can raise you up. Yet the amazing fact is, this day vanishes. When you look behind you, you do not see your past standing there in a series of day shapes. You cannot wander back through the gallery of your past. Your days have disappeared silently and forever. Your future time has not arrived yet. The only ground of time is the present moment.
In our culture, we place a great and worthy emphasis on the importance and sacredness of experience. In other words, what you think, believe, or feel remains a fantasy if it does not actually become part of the fabric of your experience. Experience is the touchstone of verification, credibility, and deep intimacy. Yet the future of every experience is its disappearance. This raises a fascinating question: Is there a place where our vanished days secretly gather?
~ John O’Donohue, Anam Cara