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Past Thoughts of the Day from Interlude: An Internet Retreat

6/1/23 to the present

It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.

Ram Dass

Barn's burnt down–
I can see the moon.

Mizuta Masahide
(In 1688 Masahide's house was burnt down, prompting him to write his most famous haiku)

A happy life consists of tranquility of mind.


Never confuse motion with action.

Benjamin Franklin

The undisturbed mind is like the calm body of water reflecting the brilliance of the moon.

Yagyu Jubei

We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another.

Ram Dass

Between the banks of pain and pleasure the river of life flows. It is only when the mind refuses to flow with life, and gets stuck at the banks, that it becomes a problem.

Manuel Hernandez

Do what you can on this plane to relieve suffering by constantly working on yourself to be an instrument for the cessation of suffering. To me, that's what the emerging game is all about.

Ram Dass

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.

Gail Sheehy

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.

Benjamin Disraeli

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Viktor E. Frankl

Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.

Joseph Campbell

If you can give your child only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.

Bruce Barton

Education should not be the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

William Butler Yeats

What happens to you and what you do are one and the same process. There is no real separation between one thing called you and another quite different thing called the universe. When you stop talking and naming, they are quite obviously one.

Alan Watts

The world is a great mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving and friendly to you.

Thomas Dreier

Every human is an artist. The dream of your life is to make beautiful art.

don Miguel Ruiz

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

Muhammad Ali

The art of happiness is to serve all, and all shall serve you.

Yogi Bhajan

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

William James

Consciousness is a phase of mental life which arises in connection with the formation of new habits. When habit is formed, consciousness only interferes to spoil our performance.

William Ralph Inge

This is the real secret of life: to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

Alan Watts

Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.

Ernest Holmes

Security is not the meaning of my life. Great opportunities are worth the risk.

Shirley Hufstedler

Good, the more communicated, more abundant grows.

John Milton

No one has ever become poor by giving.

Anne Frank

When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun by nettles.

Horace Walpole

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.

Henry Ward Beecher

A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.

Max Muller

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.

Maya Angelou

The more complicated the world gets and the more intrusive it becomes on our personal psychological space and privacy, the more important it will be to practice non-doing.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Be wiser than other people if you can, but do not tell them so.

Lord Chesterfield

It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.

Ursula Le Guin

The important thing is somehow to begin.

Henry Moore

Never let the odds keep you from pursuing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.

Satchel Paige

The highest form of bliss is living with a certain degree of folly.

Desiderius Erasmus

To live means to finesse the processes to which one is subjugated.

Bertolt Brecht

It is our mind, and that alone, that chains us or sets us free.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Life is movement. The more life there is, the more flexibility there is. The more fluid you are, the more you are alive.

Rnaud Desjardins

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.

Abram L. Urban

The brain, like the rest of the body, can be altered intentionally. Just as aerobics sculpt the muscles, so mental training sculpts the gray matter in ways scientists are only beginning to fathom.

Richard Davidson

In the point of rest at the center of our being, we encounter a world where all things are at rest in the same way. Then a tree becomes a mystery, a cloud a revelation, each man a cosmos of whose riches we can only catch glimpses. The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable.

Dag Hammarskjöld

Follow what you are genuinely passionate about and let that guide you to your destination.

Diane Sawyer

Nobody, as long as he moves about among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble.

Carl Jung

I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries.

Theodore Isaac Rubin

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

Martin Luther King, Jr

Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.

Brian Tracy

You want to know how to overcome despair? I will tell you. By helping others overcome despair.

Elie Wiesel

When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.

Buckminster Fuller

Doubt is a great tool for reality testing; it is debilitating as a place of residence. So, think of doubt as a momentary friend.

Jeanie Marshall

While you are walking, smile and be in the here and now, and you will transform that place into paradise.

Thich Nhat Hanh

People occasionally come up to me and say: 'I want what you seem to have. Can you either give it to me or show me how to get it?' And I say to them: 'You have it already. You just can't feel it, because your mind is making too much noise. Quiet your mind, and it's yours.'

Eckhart Tolle, from The Power of Now

The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.

Shirley MacLaine

Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.

Peter F. Drucker

Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one's head.

Mark Twain

Do not rely on meditation to avoid problems. Without problems the seeking spirit could go mad. Therefore the sage says: reach liberation in the middle of turbulences.

Kyong Ho

Faith and doubt both are needed–not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.

Lillian Smith

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.

Henry David Thoreau

Just look away from all that happens in your mind and bring it to the feeling "I am". The "I am" is not a direction. It is the negation of all direction. Ultimately even the "I am" will have to go, for you need not keep on asserting what is obvious.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.

Samuel Johnson

Be good, be kind, be humane, and charitable; love your fellows; console the afflicted; pardon those who have done you wrong.


Wisdom and knowledge are not the same thing. The intellect can never lead one to a complete insight. One has to use one's entire being to come into contact with the truth.


It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

You cannot perceive beauty but with a serene mind.

Henry David Thoreau

Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.

Louisa May Alcott

If you're in a bad situation, don't worry it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry it'll change.

John A. Simone, Sr.

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.

Mohandas Gandhi

But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!

Friedrich Nietzsche

How can I be still? By flowing with the stream.

Lao Tzu

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope.

Winston Churchill

The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.

Variously attributed to Epictetus or Epicurus

All I can do is engage with complete sincerity. Then whatever happens, there is no regret.

The Dalai Lama

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Max Erhmann in Desiderata

No one is a failure who is enjoying life.

William Feather

The world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.

Helen Keller

Man is so intelligent that he feels impelled to invent theories to account for what happens in the world. Unfortunately, he is not quite intelligent enough, in most cases, to find correct explanations. So that when he acts on his theories, he behaves very often like a lunatic.

Aldous Huxley

Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

Thomas Paine, Rights of Man

Everything has a bright and dark side to it. Those who see only the dark side of things bring sorrow and pain upon themselves. To those who are able to see at the same time the bright side of it, every day is a good day.


The more faithfully you listen to the voices within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside.

Dag Hammarskjold

Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Howard Thurman

Be wise in the use of time. The question in life is not how much time do we have. The question is: what shall we do with it?

Anna Robertson Brown

Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.

Garrison Keillor

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and a willingness to remain vulnerable.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Mind your speech a little lest you should mar your fortunes.

William Shakespeare

The most difficult thing of all—yet the most essential—is to love life, even when you suffer, because life is all.

Leo Tolstoy

You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don't know anything about…

Richard Feynman

What we have to learn, in both meditation and in life, is to be free of attachment to the good experiences, and free of aversion to the negative ones.

Sogyal Rinpoche

When confusion reigns, it is easy to remember this truth: I am not my thoughts, nor my emotions, nor my sensory perceptions, nor my experiences. I am not the contents of my life. I am Life. I am the space in which everything happens. I am consciousness. I am the Present. I Am.

Eckhart Tolle

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.

Herman Melville

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

Carl Jung

All joy in this world comes from wanting others to be happy, and all suffering in this world comes from wanting only oneself to be happy.


All sentient beings developed through natural selection in such a way that pleasant sensations serve as their guide, and especially the pleasure derived from sociability and from loving our families.

Charles Darwin

Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

One is never as fortunate or as unfortunate as one imagines.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Never confuse motion with action.

Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanac

Loving-kindness and compassion are the basis for wise, powerful, sometimes gentle, and sometimes fierce actions that can really make a difference–in our own lives and those of others.

Sharon Salzberg

If it is not right, do not do it.

Marcus Aurelius

Doing is the great thing. For if, resolutely, people do what is right, in time they will come to like doing it.

John Ruskin

Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.

Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.

Ralph W. Emerson

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.

Anthony Robbins

Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.

Shunryu Suzuki

I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.

Dalai Lama

This is the only meditation I know.
While I eat, I eat.
While I walk, I walk.
And while I feel sleepy, I sleep.
Whatsoever happens, happens.
I never interfere.


Perpetual inspiration is as necessary to the life of goodness, holiness and happiness as perpetual respiration is necessary to animal life.

Andrew Bonar Law

The more clearly you understand yourself and your emotions, the more you become a lover of what is.

Baruch Spinoza

We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.

Tom Robbins

Through meditation and by giving full attention to one thing at a time, we can learn to direct attention where we choose.

Eknath Easwaran

We are fallible. We certainly haven't attained perfection. But we can strive for it, and the virtue is in the striving.

Carlos P. Romulo

©2023 Tom Barrett