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Past Thoughts of the Day from Interlude: An Internet Retreat

12/1/20 to 5/31/21

In seeking wisdom, the first stage is silence, the second listening, the third, remembrance, the fourth practicing, the fifth, teaching

Solomon Ibn Gabirol

If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything.

Win Borden

When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

Audre Lorde

The world gives itself to us. It gives itself freely to us, if we just allow it. It showers us with gifts.

David Steindl-Rast

As one may bring himself to believe almost anything he is inclined to believe, it makes all the difference whether we begin or end with the inquiry, 'What is truth?'

Richard Whately

Enthusiasm moves the world.

Arthur Balfour

The habit of ignoring our present moments in favor of others yet to come leads directly to a pervasive lack of awareness of the web of life in which we are embedded.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

Bertrand Russell

An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.

Victor Hugo

Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.

George Orwell

In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.

Leonardo da Vinci

To live in the presence of great truths and eternal laws, to be led by permanent ideals—that is what keeps a man patient when the world ignores him, and calm and unspoiled when the world praises him.

Honore De Balzac

People should not worry so much about what they should do; rather about what they should be. If we and our ways are good, then what we do will be radiant.

Meister Eckhart

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."


We can be spacious yet full of loving kindness; full of compassion, yet serene. Live like the strings of a fine instrument---not too taut but not too loose.

The Buddha

Only when you awaken do you realize you were dreaming.

John Wareham

Life is the only game in which the object of the game is to learn the rules.

Ashleigh Brilliant

It takes a real storm in the average person's life to make him realize how much worrying he has done over the squalls.

Bruce Barton

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.

Carl Gustav Jung

The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.

Alfred Adler

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.

Erich Fromm

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.

Carl Gustav Jung

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.

Abraham Maslow

Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.

M. Scott Peck

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.


Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.

Chuang Tzu

There is a famous saying: "If the mind is not contrived, it is spontaneously blissful, just as water, when not agitated, is by nature transparent and clear."

Sogyal Rinpoche

The purpose of meditation practice is not enlightenment; it is to pay attention even at extraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-in-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each event of ordinary life.

Peter Matthiessen

When reality is perceived in its nature of ultimate perfection, the practitioner has reached a level of wisdom called non-discrimination mind—a wondrous communion in which there is no longer any distinction made between subject and object.

Thich Nhat Hahn

You can't have a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

John Wooden

All our discontents about what we want appeared to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.

Daniel Defoe

Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.

George Santayana

Evil does exist, but we do not have to accept it as an inevitable fact of life.


Failure is not fatal but failure to change might be.

John Wooden

It is in giving oneself that one receives.

St. Francis of Assisi

Those who seek the easy way do not seek the true way.


Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.

Pearl S. Buck

Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there's all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens.

Arthur Gordon

The secret of a good memory is attention, and attention to a subject depends upon our interest in it. We rarely forget that which has made a deep impression on our minds.

Tryon Edwards

Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow.

Thornton Wilder

The mind denies that which it cannot understand. In valuing the mind as much as we do, we have a tendency to deny mystery, to deny the spiritual.

Rachel Naomi Remen

When you become more quiet you are more open, you are more able to hear, to listen and to love.

Huong Zu

One must know oneself. If this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life and there is nothing better.

Blaise Pascal

All your dreams are unreal, even the dream you call the waking state. The only reality is the screen on which they appear. When you identify with the screen and not the pictures, you will know what is real and what is unreal.

Sri Poonjaji

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.

Margaret B. Runbeck

Like all other living things, we must make our descent into the darkness then wait for some new kind of wisdom to take root.

Valerie Andrews

In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds.

Robert Green Ingersoll

It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow man who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.

Alfred Adler

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

Charles Dickens

Valor grows by daring, fear by holding back.

Publilius Syrus

You are really rich when you enjoy yourself as you are, when you are contented with what you have.


All of you are perfect just as you are and you could use a little improvement.

Shunryu Suzuki

Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.

Alan Watts

Optimism enables us to claim the future for ourselves and not abandon it to chance.

Ray Gatchalian

To live at this time is an inestimable privilege, and a sacred obligation devolves upon you to make right use of your opportunities.

Grenville Kleiser

I vow to offer joy to one person in the morning and to help to relieve the grief of one person in the afternoon.
I vow to live simply and sanely, content with just a few possessions, and to keep my body healthy.
I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.

Thich Nhat Hanh

You do not have to be rich to be generous. If you have the spirit of true generosity, a pauper can give like a prince.

Corinne U. Wells

When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life.

Greg Anderson

Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes.

Chinese Proverb

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.

Albert Einstein

I look for what needs to be done. After all, that's how the universe designs itself.

R. Buckminster Fuller

There exists only the present instant... a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.

Meister Eckhart

Only the person who has experienced light and darkness, war and peace, rise and fall, only that person has truly experienced life.

Stefan Zweig

Although you may spend your life killing, you will not exhaust all your foes. But if you quell your own anger, your real enemy will be slain.


Always be a little kinder than necessary.

J.M. Barrie

Many times a day I realise how much my own life is built upon the labours of others, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.

Albert Einstein

Happiness is a butterfly which, if pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly may alight upon you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Those who drink the water should remember with gratitude those who dug the well.

Chinese Proverb

We do not so much need the help of our friends as the confidence of their help in need.


We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.


I don't like that man; I must get to know him.

Abraham Lincoln

As long as you can admire and love, then one is young forever.

Pablo Casals

Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

Mark Twain

You'll acquire the vices and virtues of your closest associates. The fragrance of their lives will pervade yours.

John Maxwell

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

Helen Keller

It is almost impossible for anyone, even the most ineffective among us, to continue to choose misery after becoming aware that it is a choice.

William Glasser

Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.

Lin Yutang

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts.

Abraham Lincoln

I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.

Langston Hughes

Confidence…thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Without the human community one single human being cannot survive.

Dalai Lama

If we live in peace ourselves, we in turn may bring peace to others. A peacable man does more good than a learned one.

Thomas A Kempis

To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.


As the blazing fire reduces wood to ashes, similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge reduces all Karma to ashes.

Bhagavad Gita

Nothing would be done at all if we waited until we could do it so well that no one could find fault with it.

John Henry Newman

If you are still being hurt by an event that happened to you at twelve, it is the thought that is hurting you now.

James Hillman

Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.

George Sand

Your difficulties are not obstacles on the spiritual path, they are the path.

Ezra Bayda

Your children will see what you're all about by what you live rather than what you say.

Wayne Dyer

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.

Thomas Szasz

Someday perhaps the inner light will shine forth from us, and then we'll need no other light.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The intuitive part of our being is equally as significant, and from my point of view perhaps more significant, and the rational mind is a beautiful instrument to be used with wisdom and discriminately. But knowledge must be used with wisdom.

Ram Dass

How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.

Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams

A life directed chiefly toward the fulfillment of personal desires will sooner or later always lead to bitterness.

Albert Einstein

I will love the light for it shows me the way. Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.

Og Mandino

Quite often a flash of enlightenment will give you this message: Go back to where you started and learn to love it more.

Thaddeus Golas

If you don't set a baseline standard for what you'll accept in life, you'll find it's easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that's far below what you deserve.

Anthony Robbins

I have accepted fear as a part of life—specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says turn back.

Erica Jong

Human beings who leave behind them no great achievements, but only a sequence of small kindnesses, have not had wasted lives.

Charlotte Gray

Perhaps a man's character was like a tree, and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of it, the tree is the real thing.

Abraham Lincoln

He does not seem to me to be a free man who does not sometimes do nothing.

Marcus T. Cicero

Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough.

Gustave Flaubert

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.

Theodore Isaac Rubin

Life without idealism is empty indeed. We must have hope or starve to death.

Pearl Buck

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.

M. Scott Peck

If it's never our fault, we can't take responsibility for it. If we can't take responsibility for it, we'll always be its victim.

Richard Bach

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Viktor Frankl - from Man's Search For Meaning

The world is not to be put in order; the world is order, incarnate. It is for us to harmonize with this order.

Henry Miller

Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time.

Mahatma Gandhi

The formula for achieving a successful relationship is simple: you should treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster.

Quentin Crisp

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

Benjamin Disraeli

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

Ursula K. LeGuin

Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.

Rainer Maria Rilke

The more willing you are to surrender to the energy within you, the more power can flow through you.

Shakti Gawain

It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is from the top.

Arnold Bennett

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

Denis Waitley

Enlightenment consciously chosen means to relinquish your attachment to past and future and to make the Now the main focus of your life.

Eckhart Tolle

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall - think of it, ALWAYS.

Mahatma Gandhi

Most true happiness comes from one's inner life, from the disposition of the mind and soul. Admittedly, a good inner life is hard to achieve, especially in these trying times. It takes reflection and contemplation and self-discipline.

William L. Shirer

A step in the wrong direction is better than staying on the spot all your life. Once you're moving forward you can correct your course as you go. Your automatic guidance system cannot guide you when you're standing still.

Maxwell Maltz

Love is infallible; it has not errors, for all errors are the want of love.

Andrew Bonar Law

We were made to enjoy music, to enjoy beautiful sunsets, to enjoy looking at the billows of the sea and to be thrilled with a rose that is bedecked with dew...Human beings are actually created for the transcendent, for the sublime, for the beautiful, for the truthful...and all of us are given the task of trying to make this world a little more hospitable to these beautiful things.

Desmond Tutu

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

Truth lives, in fact, for the most part on a credit system. Our thoughts and beliefs pass, so long as nothing challenges them, just as bank-notes pass so long as nobody refuses them.

William James

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

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

Jack Kornfield

The more I can love everything--the trees, the land, the water, my fellow men, women and children, and myself—the more health I am going to experience and the more of myself I am going to be.

Carl Simonton

We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Abraham Lincoln

Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.

Martin Luther King Jr

A man needs self-acceptance or he can't live with himself; he needs self-criticism or others can't live with him.

James A. Pike

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


When you hear the words renunciation and austerity, they refer to this—the renunciation of the insanity of the ego. That's what has to be given up. And that's where true freedom is found.

Andrew Cohen

When a deep injury is done us, we can never recover until we forgive.

Alan Paton

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

Dr. Seuss

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.

James A. Baldwin

A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

I'm erecting a barrier of simplicity between myself and the world.

Andre' Gide

Evil (ignorance) is like a shadow—it has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stomp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it.

Shakti Gawain

If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All beings are owners of their Karma. Whatever volitional actions they do, good or evil, of those they shall become their heir.

Gautama Buddha

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.

Deepak Chopra

Openness, respect, integrity - these are principles that need to underpin pretty much every other decision that you make.

Justin Trudeau

True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.

William Penn

To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

The door to the human heart can be opened only from the inside.

Spanish proverb

All things are parts of one single system, which is called Nature; the individual life is good when it is in harmony with Nature.

Zeno of Citium (300-260 BC)

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.

Hal Borland

O Mother Earth, You are the earthly source of all existence. The fruits which you bear are the source of life for the Earth peoples. You are always watching over Your fruits as does a mother. May the steps which we take in life upon You be sacred and not weak.

Oglala Sioux prayer

The outward freedom that we shall attain will only be in exact proportion to the inward freedom to which we may have grown at a given moment. And if this is a correct view of freedom, our chief energy must be concentrated on achieving reform from within.

Mahatma Gandhi

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

Winston Churchill

The wise man does not lay up his treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.


We must all live so that our children do not have to pay for our deeds.

Andrejs Upits

Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul is the work of the soul, and good for either is the work of the other.

Henry David Thoreau

We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.

Joseph Campbell

Family life is too intimate to be preserved by the spirit of justice. It can be sustained by a spirit of love which goes beyond justice.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.

Nicholas Murray Butler

There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.

Carl Jung

Live more and more in the Present, which is ever beautiful and stretches away before and beyond the limits of the past and the future.

Meher Baba

This very moment is the perfect teacher, and it's always with us.

Pema Chodron

When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.

Helen Keller

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.

Henry David Thoreau

It is not the mountain that we conquer but ourselves.

Sir Edmund Hillary

First there must be order and harmony within your own mind. Then this order will spread to your family, then to the community, and finally to your entire kingdom.


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!


The mind should be a vastness like the sky. Mental events should be allowed to disperse like clouds.


My fine strong horse can pull a heavy plough and never tire. Yet it can also gallop through a wild country. I am working hard at love, with the wind in my hair.

José Morazán

There is in the body a current of energy, affection and intelligence, which guides, maintains and energizes the body and mind. Discover that current and stay with it.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

The sun and the moon are not mirrored in cloudy water. Thus the almighty cannot be mirrored in a heart that is obsessed by the idea of me and mine.


Thinking, or more precisely identification with thinking, gives rise to and maintains the ego, which, in our Western society in particular, is out of control. It believes it is real and tries hard to maintain its supremacy. Negative states of mind, such as anger, resentment, fear, envy, and jealousy, are products of the ego.

Eckhart Tolle

The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.

Thich Nhat Hanh

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It's common to say that trees come from seeds. But how can a tiny seed create a huge tree? Seeds do not contain the resources need to grow a tree. These must come from the medium or environment within which the tree grows. But the seed does provide something that is crucial: a place where the whole of the tree starts to form. As resources such as water and nutrients are drawn in, the seed organizes the process that generates growth. In a sense, the seed is a gateway through which the future possibility of the living tree emerges.

Peter Senge

Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.

Eliza Tabor

The burden of self is lightened when I laugh at myself.

Rabindranath Tagore

The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.

Earl Nightingale

The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply.

Kahlil Gibran

We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.

R. Buckminster Fuller


©2021 Tom Barrett