Spiritual Quotes and Inspiring Poems
I’ve been collecting spiritual quotes and poems for some time now. Please enjoy and pass them on!
“I am larger and better than I thought. I did not think I held so much goodness.”
~ Walt Whitman
Everything is Waiting for You
Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone. As if life were a progressive and cunning crime with no witness to the tiny hidden transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely, even you, at times, have felt the grand array; the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding out your solo voice.
You must note the way the soap dish enables you, or the window latch grants you freedom. Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. The kettle is singing even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots have left their arrogant aloofness and seen the good in you at last. All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably themselves.
Everything is waiting for you.
~ David Whyte
It happens all the time in heaven,
And some day
It will begin to happen
Again on earth—
That men and women…
Who give each other
Often will get down on their knees
And … With tears in their eyes,
Will sincerely speak, saying,
How can I be more loving to you;
How can I be more
“You are destined to fly, but that cocoon has to go.”
~ Nelle Morton quoted in Writing from Life by Susan Witting Albert
Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves.
The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind.
I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath.
Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else.
In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.”
~Thich Nhat Hahn
Let life touch you.Let yourself be moved. Yes, it will hurt sometimes. But far, far deeper would be the pain if you were to build an impenetrable wall around yourself. Let it all reach into you, for you have what it takes to handle the experience. Immerse yourself in the intensity of life. You were born not to hide but to live, so do it every day. Go ahead and laugh, go ahead and cry. Jump and smile and hug and sing, run and dance and shout. Let life get to you. And be truly moved by the awesome wonder of it all.
~ Ralph Marston
“In meditation we discover our inherent restlessness.
Sometimes we get up and leave. Sometimes we sit there but our bodies wiggle and squirm and our minds go far away.
This can be so uncomfortable that we feel’s it’s impossible to stay. Yet this feeling can teach us not just about ourselves but what it is to be human…we really don’t want to stay with the nakedness of our present experience.
It goes against the grain to stay present. These are the times when only gentleness and a sense of humor can give us the strength to settle down…so whenever we wander off, we gently encourage ourselves to “stay” and settle down.
Are we experiencing restlessness? Stay! Are fear and loathing out of control? Stay! Aching knees and throbbing back? Stay! What’s for lunch? Stay! I can’t stand this another minute! Stay!””
~ Pema Chodron
“The inner is foundation of the outer.
The still is master of the restless.
The Sage travels all day yet never leaves his inner treasure”
~ Lao Tzu
“Sometimes, simply by sitting, the soul collects wisdom. ”
“The mental suffering you create is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgement. The intensity of the suffering depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment.”
“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
“When you realize how perfect everything is
you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”
~ Gautama Siddhartha Buddha
Written in honor of the Indian Festival of Lights which has just passed (new moon in October), but the message is still relevant.
“A Sanskrit verse states:
paropakarakam yesham jagartim hridaye satam
nashyanti vipadah tesham sampadah syuh pade pade
“For those whose hearts are always eager to serve, difficulties are eradicated and prosperity arises in every step of life.”
We should learn to live for others. When we live for others, our hearts and minds are purified, and love and compassion flow more deeply. One who serves others seeks opportunities to help others.
When we walk at night with a lamp in hand, walking is easy, and we can help others see. When I was young, many people would walk to the local market and return in the evening with the help of a flashlight held by one person. There was no electricity, and many could not afford a flashlight. When I remember the evening walk of the village people, I remember how to live a life of sharing. Knowledge and love multiply when shared. When a lamp lights many other lamps, a flood and festival of light ensues.
Just as we light lamps in our homes, let our body-houses be decorated with light. In every door of the body house, the sense organs, the inner chamber of the heart, the mind, let our lives be filled with knowledge, love, and actions that make our lives beautiful and productive.
During this time, let us all pray for world peace by cultivating inner peace, compassion, and lives of service.
Again, I am praying for all of you. Please pray and meditate as you can and serve whenever and wherever possible.”
~ Paramahamsa Prajnanananda
“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”
~ Dalai Lama
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
When I met my Guru, he told me: “You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense ‘I am’, find your real Self.”
I obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence. And what a difference it made, and how soon!
My teacher told me to hold on to the sense ‘I am’ tenaciously and not to swerve from it even for a moment. I did my best to follow his advice and in a comparatively short time I realized within myself the truth of his teaching. All I did was to remember his teaching, his face, his words constantly. This brought an end to the mind; in the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am — unbound.
I simply followed (my teacher’s) instruction which was to focus the mind on pure being ‘I am’, and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the ‘I am’ in my mind and soon peace and joy and a deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared — myself, my Guru, the life I lived, the world around me. Only peace remained and unfathomable silence.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance.
Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and
choose the path that leads to wisdom.”
Place your mind before the mirror of eternity.
Place your heart in the image of the divine essence and transform yourself by contemplation utterly into the image of His divinity,
that you too may feel what His friends feel as they taste the hidden sweetness that God Himself has set aside from the beginning for those who love Him.
Casting aside all things in this false and troubled world that ensnare those who love them blindly, give all your love to Him who gave Himself in all for you to love, whose beauty the sun and moon admire, and whose gifts are abundant and precious and grand without end.
– Saint Clare of Assisi
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
~ Thich Nhat Hahn
The classic Vedic text known as the Upanishads declares:
“You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof.
It’s what I sense in the mud and the roots of the
trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with
its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and
makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some
spirit, some small god, who abides there.
If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing
I’m not, though I pause wherever I feel this
holiness, which is why I’m often so late coming
back from wherever I went.
~Mary Oliver, Blue Horses
“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet.
It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there –
buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day”
~ Deepak Chopra
“I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.
It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.
It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher.
And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.
That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.”
“It is of great importance, when we begin to practice prayer, not to let ourselves be frightened by our own thoughts.”
~St. Teresa of Avila
“Mindfulness is about falling awake rather than asleep.” ~Shamash Alidinas
~ “Sitting still is a pain in the ass” ~Noah Levine of Dharma Punx
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you are too busy.
Then you should sit for an hour.” ~Zen Proverb
O seeker, the simple union is the best.
Since the day when I met with my Lord,
There has been no end to the sport of our love.
I shut not my eyes, I close not my ears,
I do not mortify my body; I see with eyes open
And smile and behold his beauty everywhere:
I utter his name, and whatever I see,
It reminds me of him; whatever I do,
It becomes his worship.
The rising and the setting are one to me:
All contradictions are solved.
Wherever I go, I move round him.
All I achieve is his service: when I lie down,
I lie prostrate at his feet.
He is the only adorable one to me:
I have none other.
My tongue has left off impure words;
It sings his glory, day and night.
Whether I rise or sit down, I can never forget him,
For the rhythm of his music beats in my ears.
Kabir says: My heart is frenzied
And I disclose in my soul what is hidden.
I am immersed in that great bliss
Which transcends all pleasure and pain.
“Turn your vision inward and the whole world will be full of supreme spirit.”
When we go deep within, into the deepest recesses of our hearts, we commune with God through meditation. It is through meditation that we can know that God is both with form and without form, with attributes and without attributes.
“A good meditation, even when it is interrupted by occasional nodding, is much more beneficial than many outward religious exercises.” ~Johannes Tauler”
“A most useful approach to meditation practice is to consider it the most important activity of each day. Schedule it as you would an extremely important appointment, and unfailingly keep your appointment with the Infinite.”
~Roy Eugene Davis
I Happened To Be Standing
I don’t know where prayers go, or what they do. Do cats pray, while they sleep half-asleep in the sun? Does the opossum pray as it crosses the street? The sunflowers? The old black oak growing older every year? I know I can walk through the world, along the shore or under the trees, with my mind filled with things of little importance, in full self-attendance. A condition I can’t really call being alive. Is a prayer a gift, or a petition, or does it matter? The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way. Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not. While I was thinking this I happened to be standing just outside my door, with my notebook open, which is the way I begin every morning. Then a wren in the privet began to sing. He was positively drenched in enthusiasm, I don’t know why. And yet, why not. I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe or whatever you don’t. That’s your business. But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be if it isn’t a prayer? So I just listened, my pen in the air.
– Mary Oliver
“It’s not about having any particular experience. The practice is about opening to whatever presents itself.” – Joel Goldsmith
“Whatever forms of meditation you practice, the most important point is to apply mindfulness continuously, and make a sustained effort. It is unrealistic to expect results from meditation within a short period of time. What is required is continuous sustained effort.” ~Dalai Lama
What to Remember When Waking
In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.
What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.
You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.
Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?
Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?
~ David Whyte
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
”The mental suffering you create is always some form of non-acceptance,
some form of unconscious resistance to what is.
On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgement.
The intensity of the suffering depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”
Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion or cultural system.
I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all. I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or in the next, did not descend from Adam and Eve or any origin story.
My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one and that one call to and know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being.
“My meditation is my soul’s
with my Inner Pilot.”
On this sacred path of Radical Acceptance, rather than striving for perfection, we discover how to love ourselves into wholeness.”
~ Tara Brach
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
~ Carl Rogers
Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt – marvelous error! –
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from all my old failures
~ Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly
“It’s not about having any particular experience.
The practice is about opening to whatever presents itself.”
~ Joel Goldsmith
She Let Go
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t
bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.
~ Rev. Saphire Rose
“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Meditation is like giving a hug to ourselves, getting in touch with that awesome reality in us.
~ Paramahamsa Yogananda
I AM SAFE
Life force flows through me….
and resides in me.
I hold the spark of Eternity within me…..
When I open my mind to this possibility..
All is well in my world.
I align with Universal Truth and Harmony
As I choose to love,
I am loved tenfold.
As I choose to see Light,
my eyes are opened even further.
~ Marlene Rose
“Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings.”
~ Tao Te Ching
Men are not free when they are doing just what they like. Men are only free when they are doing what the deepest self likes. And there is getting down to the deepest self! It takes some diving.
~ D H. Lawrence