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Past Thoughts of the Day from Interlude: An Internet Retreat

6/1/17 to the present

When the idea of any pleasure strikes your imagination, make a just computation between the duration of the pleasure and that of the repentance that is likely to follow it.


There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.

Leo Tolstoy

If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call to make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

Stephen Levine

I have no doubt whatever that most people live whether physically, intellectually, or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness...much like the man who, out of his whole body organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger...We all have reservoirs of life to draw upon, of which we do not dream!

William James

I believe it is true that humility is the only just response in a confrontation with the universe, but not a humility that prevents us from seeking the nature of the universe we are admiring. If we seek that nature, then love can be informed by truth instead of being based on ignorance or self-deception.

Carl Sagan

Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.

Albert Einstein

Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.

Mark Victor Hansen

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.

Mahatma Gandhi

The best preparedness is the one that disarms the hostility of other nations and makes friends of them.

Helen Keller

The capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest meaning and significance.

Pablo Casals

The secret of change consists in concentrating one's energy to create the new, and not to fight against the old.

Dan Millman

The world is a spell, an enchantement, an amazement, an arabesque of such stunning rhythm and a plot so intriguing that we are drawn by its web into a state of involvement where we forget that it is a game.

Alan Watts

There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

Vincent van Gogh

It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.

Helen Keller

Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human.

Viktor E. Frankl

Next to a lost battle, nothing is so sad as a battle that has been won.

Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesley

Of the desires expressed the one which is most right is the desire to be 'master of oneself,' because without this nothing else is possible.

G. I. Gurdjieff

The various religions are like different roads converging on the same point. What difference does it make if we follow different routes, provided we arrive at the same destination?

Mohandas K. Gandhi

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.


We are kept from the experience of spirit because our inner world is cluttered with past traumas... As we begin to clear away this clutter, the energy of divine light and love begins to flow through our beings.

Thomas Keating

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.


Practice no vice because it's trivial. Neglect no virtue because it's so.

Chinese Proverb

Patience is power; with time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes silk.

Chinese Proverb

The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.

Eric Hoffer

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.

Rabindranath Tagore

A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party: there is no battle unless there be two.


I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is
to be useful
to be responsible
to be compassionate.
It is, above all
to matter
to count
to stand for something
to have made some difference that you lived at all.

Leo Rosten

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson

...for most people think they sufficiently understand a thing when they have ceased to wonder at it.

Baruch Spinoza

That all things are possible to him who believes; that they are less difficult to him who hopes; that they are more easy to him who loves, and still more easy to him who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues.

Brother Lawrence

Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand.

Neil Armstrong

Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.


How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice

We find comfort among those who agree with us--growth among those who don't.

Frank A. Clark

Learning a new thought process will be easier when you learn a new way to move along with it. Physical movement cements knowledge. Changing how you move changes who you are.

Holiday Mathis

Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop, than when we soar.

William Wordsworth

What we call the "Self" is not a separate object with an independent destiny and life, but more a process that continues until "Nirvana".


Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.

Anne Frank

The meaning of life is to live moment to moment. Just follow the flow of life from childhood to old age. Be born when it is time to be born and die when it is time to die.

Zhuang Zi

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.

James Oppenheim

One has to keep the mind unruffled and not be affected by the fleeting phenomena around one. When the mind is unmoved, one will not be enslaved by worldly events.


A person's life--a future--hinges on each of a thousand choices. Living is making choices.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.

Richard P. Feynman

There is no need to run outside for better seeing, nor to peer from a window. Rather abide at the center of your being; for the more you leave it, the less you learn. Search your heart and see if he is wise who takes each turn: The way to do is to be.


Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.

Winston Churchill

Take full account of what excellencies which you possess, and in gratitude remember how you would hanker after them, if you had them not.

Marcus Aurelius

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.


Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that's real power.

Clint Eastwood

One comes to be of just such stuff as that on which the mind is set.


Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.

John Adams

A good conscience is to the soul what health is to the body; it preserves constant ease and serenity within us; and more than countervails all the calamities and afflictions which can befall us from without.

Joseph Addison

There are many paths to enlightenment. Be sure to take the one with a heart.

Lao Tzu

When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world. Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form.

Eckhart Tolle in Stillness Speaks

Empty handed I entered the world,
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going...
Two simple happenings-that got entangled

Kozan Ichikyo

It is because of our attachment to things that we suffer. By letting go we find that we have not lost anything except our attachment.

Sogyal Rinpoche

Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is true prosperity.

Eckhart Tolle

Energy is wasted enormously when one gets angry. The whole nervous system is shattered by an outburst of anger.


"Nature" is what we see--
The Hill--the Afternoon--
Squirrel--Eclipse--the Bumble bee--
Nay--Nature is Heaven--
Nature is what we hear--
The Bobolink--the Sea--
Thunder--the Cricket--
Nay--Nature is Harmony--
Nature is what we know--
Yet have no art to say--
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.

Emily Dickinson

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

Rabindranath Tagore

Every time and every place is uniquely different. There is no need to compare it with any other time and place. Just carefully taste the present - that is enough!

Zen saying

Everything in this world is transitory and fleeting...No man was ever born who could stop his body from changing constantly. Body is the name of a series of changes.


Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't.

Richard Bach

Believing someone will change won't make it so. If you're going to invest in a belief, invest in the belief that acceptance heals. The only change you control is your own, and that's found through acceptance, too.

Holiday Mathis

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

If you want congenial companionship, if you want to be loved, you must first think thoughts of love and good-will.

Emmet Fox

So you want to know what my secret is? You see, I don't mind what happens.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.

Upton Sinclair

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Theodore Roosevelt

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

Sun Tzu

Always remember that the only thought that you need to concern yourself with is the present one. The thoughts of yesterday or of last year do not matter now, because if you can get the present thought right it will make everything else right here and now.

Emmet Fox

When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.

Will Rogers

In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.

Bertrand Russell

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment; and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey.

Harold B. Melchart

The goal of life is living in agreement with nature.

Zeno of Citium

Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.

Phillippians 4:8

I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.

Kurt Vonnegut

We have an opportunity to live in joy. Do not postpone happiness until the debts are settled and relationships rearranged. Joy doesn't exist out in the world somewhere; we find it inside.

Rev. Mary Manin Morrissey

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give.

Eleanor Roosevelt

A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.

Kurt Vonnegut, Sirens of Titan

Your cravings as a human animal do not become a prayer just because it is God whom you ask to attend to them.

Dag Hammarskjold

Is there a difference between happiness and inner peace?
Yes. Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not.

Eckhart Tolle

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Albert Einstein

While meditating I sit quietly and rest in the nature of mind; I don't question or doubt whether I am in the "correct" state or not. There is no effort, only rich understanding, wakefulness, and unshakable certainty. When I am in the nature of mind, the ordinary mind is no longer there. There is no need to sustain or confirm a sense of being: I simply am.

Sogyal Rinpoche

Peace starts within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share peace with neighboring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.

Dalai Lama

If you understand, things are as they are.
If you do not understand, things are as they are.


Master, will you please write for me some maxims of the highest wisdom? Ikkyu immediately took his brush and wrote the word "Attention."

Zen story

The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.

Abraham Lincoln

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.

Albert Clarke

Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.

Richard P. Feynman

Our minds are finite, and yet even in these circumstances of finitude we are surrounded by possibilities that are infinite, and the purpose of life is to grasp as much as we can out of that infinitude.

Alfred North Whitehead, in Time/Infinity

The mark of a good action is that it appears inevitable in retrospect.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

When the idea of any pleasure strikes your imagination, make a just computation between the duration of the pleasure and that of the repentance that is likely to follow it.


There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.

Leo Tolstoy

If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

Stephen Levine

Good judgment comes from experience... and a lot of that comes from bad judgment!

Will Rogers

We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.


Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.

Eric Hoffer

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Mohandas Gandhi

A person desperately searching for love is like a fish desperately searching for water.

Deepak Chopra

When we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

Don't feel sorry for yourself if you have chosen the wrong road - turn around!

Edgar Cayce

Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.

Helen Keller

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

George Bernard Shaw

The best way to know God is to love many things.

Vincent Van Gogh

If you want to know your past life, look into your present condition;
if you want to know your future life, look at your present actions.


Every child looses his innocence, becomes corrupted, and then searches for the lost paradise. Meditation is the royal method to pierce through the smoke screen of mind, to find integration again.


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

When we cannot find contentment in ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

Fancois La Rochefoucauld

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

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

Maya Angelou

Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.

Mahatma Gandhi

You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live.

Joan Baez

It's said that 'power corrupts,' but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. When they do act, they think of it as service, which has limits. The tyrant, though, seeks mastery, for which he is insatiable, implacable.

David Brin, The Postman

Neither genius, fame, nor love show the greatness of the soul. Only kindness can do that.

Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire

Wherever I go it will be well with me, for it was well with me here, not on account of the place, but of my judgments which I shall carry away with me, for no one can deprive me of these; on the contrary, they alone are my property, and cannot be taken away, and to possess them suffices me wherever I am or whatever I do.


Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is "timing." It waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.

Fulton J. Sheen

True peace is not the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr

Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.

St. Augustine

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Thomas Edison

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.


The willing, Destiny guides them; the unwilling, Destiny drags them.


It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.

Upton Sinclair

To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.

Thomas Merton

Even as a youngster, though, I could never bring myself to believe that when knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance. To me, it always seemed the answer had to be wisdom. You did not refuse to look at the danger, rather you learned to handle it safely.

Isaac Asimov

The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.

John Ruskin

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you can, help others.
If you can't, at least don't hurt others

The Dalai Lama

Contempt is the weapon of the weak and a defense against one's own despised and unwanted feelings.

Alice Miller

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so to have the life that is waiting for us.

Joseph Campbell

Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.

May Sarton

Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.

Thomas Merton

Thoughts are like breath, they come and go. Continue breathing and you will find that once you let a thought go, you are back in the gift of life, the present.

Ozzie Gontang

Enthusiasm is that secret and harmonious spirit which hovers over the production of genius.

Isaac D'Israeli

A job is something we do to get a paycheck and pay our bills. Jobs are legitimate, at times, but work is why we are here in the universe. Work and calling often go together.

Matthew Fox


©2017 Tom Barrett