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Past Thoughts of the Day from Interlude: An Internet Retreat

12/1/17 to 5/31/18

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

The chief pang of most trials is not so much the actual suffering itself as our own spirit of resistance to it.

William Grimshaw

Reflect that life, like every other blessing, derives its value from its use alone.

Samuel Johnson

When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death - that is heroism.

Robert Green Ingersoll

The more virtuous any man is, the less easily does he suspect others to be vicious.


A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.

Albert Einstein
(Some women may have been involved as well).

Become aware that there are no accidents in our intelligent universe. Realize that everything that shows up in your life has something to teach you. Appreciate everyone and everything in your life.

Wayne Dyer

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

William James

We do not receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.

Marcel Proust

Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.

David Hume

Enlightenment is a rare combination of innocence and intelligence, having words for expression and, at the same time, being very silent. In that state, the mind is fully in the present moment. Whatever is necessary is revealed to you in such a natural and spontaneous way, you just sit and the song of the nature flows through you.

Sri Sri Ravishankar

Everything is dependent on everything else, everything is connected, nothing is separate. Therefore everything is going in the only way it can go. If people were different everything would be different. They are what they are, so everything is as it is.

G.I. Gurdjieff

Human beings only learn and evolve through relationship. The only way we can see ourselves objectively is through the reflection of others. We can go off and sit in a cave and meditate for years, but we only really find out what happened in that cave when we come out and get involved with other people. So we need each other if we want to evolve.

Andrew Cohen

We all came into this world gifted with innocence, but gradually, as we became more intelligent, we lost our innocence. We were born with silence and as we grew up, we lost the silence and were filled with words. We lived in our hearts and as time passed, we moved into our heads.

Now the reversal of this journey is enlightenment. It is the journey from the head back to the heart, from words back to silence; getting back to our innocence in spite of our intelligence. Although very simple, this is a great achievement.

Eckhart Tolle

People adopt ideas when social, personal and financial trends intersect--a confluence that may seem random but usually happens "by design."

Clement Mok

Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.

Joyce Brothers

Friendship is a mysterious power: you show your friend your weakness, and somehow you are both the stronger.

Martin Amis

Happiness is a how, not a what; a talent, not an object.

Hermann Hesse

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls... A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.

Mother Teresa

Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

William Jennings Bryan

Don't ever belittle someone's suffering. That's where (the loss of humanity) starts.

Ishmael Beah

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting -- a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.

Frederick Franck, The Zen of Seeing

We classify too much and enjoy too little.

Okakura Kakuzo

Since the house is on fire let us warm ourselves.

Italian Proverb

He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient.

W.J. Cameron

Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.

Bruce Lee

Every year of my life I grow more convinced that it is wisest and best to fix our attention on the beautiful and the good, and dwell as little as possible on the evil and the false.

Richard Cecil

No man or woman of the humblest sort can really be strong, gentle and good, without the world being better for it, without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness.

Phillips Brooks

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes
Because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad.

Eckhart Tolle

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.

Abraham Lincoln

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

Baruch Spinoza

Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world.

Thomas Carlyle

The mind is like a clear mirror. At all times we must strive to polish it, and must not let the dust collect.


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

Chinese Proverb

Meditation doesn't necessarily mean sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed. Simply observing how your mind is responding to the sense world as you go about your business - walking, talking, shopping, whatever - can be a really perfect meditation and bring a perfect result.

Thubten Yeshe

The most important thing I have learned is trust. Trust in the knowledge that I do have the ability to make choices and trust that living in the moment will take me through my decision cycle quite naturally.

Lynda Standley Richardson

A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.

Albert Schweitzer

Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.

Lao Tzu

Life is the movie you see through your own unique eyes. It makes little difference what's happening out there. It's how you take it that counts.

Dennis Waitley

By choosing your thoughts, and by selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the quality of your Light. You determine the effects that you will have upon others, and the nature of the experiences of your life.

Gary Zukav in Seat Of The Soul

Whatever a person's mind dwells on intensely and with firm resolve, that is exactly what he becomes.


Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.

Marcel Morin

It is not hard to live through a day, if you can live through a moment. What creates despair is the imagination, which pretends there is a future, and insists on predicting millions of moments, thousands of days, and so drains you that you cannot live the moment at hand.

Andre Dubus

Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

To him who is in fear, everything rustles.


There is nothing so disagreeable, that a patient mind cannot find some solace for it.


Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.

Eckhart Tolle

Millions of items in the outward order are present to my senses which never properly enter into my experience. Why? Because they have no interest for me. My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind -- without selective interest, experience is an utter chaos.

William James, Principles of Psychology, 1890

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.

Elbert Hubbard

A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice.

Ed Howe

Everything you do should be done with peace. That is the best medicine for your body, mind, and soul. It is the most wonderful way to live.

Paramahansa Yogananda

In every seed is the promise of thousands of forests. But the seed must not be hoarded; it must give its intelligence to the fertile ground. Through its giving, its unseen energy flows into material manifestation.

Deepak Chopra in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.

Dalai Lama

Genius means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.

William James

The creation of someting new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.

Carl Jung

We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

Howard Zinn

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.

R. Buckminster Fuller

There is a distance between believing the Truth and embodying that Truth. We may know that we are children of God with divine capacities, but until we act on that belief, it remains a foggy awareness. Using spiritual practices moves us from believing in God to becoming aware of the reality of God moving in and through us.

Mary Manin Morrissey

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

People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

Albert Einstein

When a friend is in trouble, don't annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it.

Edgar Watson Howe

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

Shirley MacLaine

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

Strive to create a balanced life but understand that in order to do so, you may have to become unbalanced for a while. Why? Because you have to give things up to achieve your dreams.

Ruben Gonzalez

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

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.


There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle.

Robert Alden

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

Charles Dickens

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

Khalil Gibran

A good conscience fears no witness, but a guilty conscience is solicitous even in solitude.


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

At any moment in time, our reality is based on whatever we focus on.

Anthony Robbins

In everything the middle course is best: all things in excess bring trouble to men.


You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent them from nesting in your hair.

Swedish proverb

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

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

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

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

Elie Wiesel

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

Helen Keller

Man did not weave the web of life - he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Ted Perry (Erroneously attributed to Chief Seattle)

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

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

Satchel Paige

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

Sign hanging in Albert Einstein's office at Princeton.

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air, however slight, lest be become unwitting victims of the darkness.

Justice William O. Douglas

Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint.

Robert Frost

Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy

Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.

Alfred Painter

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.

Henry Ward Beecher

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

Muhammad Ali

You can't see the light in others until you see it in yourself.
Once you see it in yourself, there is no one in whom you do not see the light.
It does not matter if they see it or not. You know it's there.
And it is the light you address when you speak to them.

Paul Ferrini

Do not fear death so much but rather the inadequate life.

Bertolt Brecht

Quiet water acts as a mirror, whereas nothing can be reflected in rushing or disturbed water. The mind is the same way. Reflection happens in mental stillness. Distortion happens in the blur of having too many thoughts.

Holiday Mathis

Choose to live from the heart. When fear thoughts come, treat them as you would an unwelcome guest: Refuse to entertain them and eventually they go away. Lavish attention instead on thoughts of love.

Mary Manin Morrissey

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

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.

Gail Sheehy

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

Eleanor Roosevelt

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

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

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

Good, the more communicated, more abundant grows.


Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

Maya Angelou

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

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

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

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

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

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

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)

What is to give light must endure burning.

Viktor E. Frankl

The greatest discovery of the 20th Century is that our attitude of mind determines our quality of life, not circumstances.

William James

You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.

Barbara Sher

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

Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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

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

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

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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

Pablo Casals

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

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

People have the power to redeem the work of fools.

Patti Smith

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.


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.


Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

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

Deep in the sea are riches beyond compare. But if you seek safety, it is on the shore.

Saadi of Shiraz

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.

Albert Einstein

It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.

George Harrison

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

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

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.

Charles M. Schulz

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

Washington Irving

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

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 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

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Mahatma Gandhi

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

From the time we are born, there is a wildish urge within us that desires our souls lead our lives, for the ego can only understand just so much.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

Henry Ford

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

He is a man of sense who does not grieve for what he has not, but rejoices in what he has.


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


©2017-2018 Tom Barrett