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Past Thoughts of the Day from Interlude: An Internet Retreat

1/1/23 to 5/31/23

It's no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying “really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.” By then, pigs will be your style.

Quentin Crisp

When we act out of our negativity, the effect is like carving it into stone. The imprint remains for a long, long time.

Genpo Merzel

We can sense the ever-changing waves around us, and breathe and relax. We can rest in the eternal present, the stillpoint. We can learn that no matter what happens, we are home.

Jack Kornfield

A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.

Soren Kierkegaard

What do we live for; if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?

T.S. Eliot

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

Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire

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

Marcel Proust

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

James Madison

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

John Adams

The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border.

Pablo Casals

I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I'm a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.

Malcolm X

The person resolute in the Way must from the beginning never lose sight of it, whether in a place of calm or in a place of strife. Beware of clinging to quiet places and shunning those where there is disturbance.


How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.

Wayne Dyer

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.

Peter F. Drucker

There is no end to the beauty for the person who is aware. Even the cracks between the sidewalk contain geometric patterns of amazing beauty.

Matthew Fox

Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection–or compassionate action.

Daniel Goleman

The real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

Often attributed to Helen Keller. Also attributed to Joseph Addison.

When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.

Chinese proverb

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.

Leon Joseph Suenens

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.

Martha Washington

Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy.

Chogyam Trungpa

Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, more or less accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realizing on the contrary that the mind is itself the principal element of creation.

Rabindranath Tagore

To be temperate is the greatest excellence. And wisdom is speaking the truth and acting with knowledge in accordance with nature.


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

John Ruskin

Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.

William James

Imperfection is not our personal problem–it is a natural part of existing.

Tara Brach

I see nothing wrong with the human trait to desire. In fact, I consider it integral to our success mechanism. Becoming attached to what we desire is what causes the trouble. If you must have it in order to be happy, then you are denying the happiness of the here and now.

Peter McWilliams

It's impossible to change the past or the present: you can only accept all that as it is. But you can tend to the causes of a better future.

Rick Hanson, Ph.D. Buddha's Brain

The mind can assert anything and pretend it has proved it. My beliefs I test on my body, on my intuitional consciousness, and when I get a response there, then I accept.

D. H. Lawrence

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.

Mohandas Gandhi

Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.


The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

Henry Miller

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

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.

Samuel Johnson

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

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.


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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

Ralph W. Emerson

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.


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Steve Jobs

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

Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.

Swami Sivananda

Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.

Miguel de Cervantes

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

You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success–or are they holding you back

Clement Stone

If you are called to be a streetsweeper, you should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

Yogi Berra

Associate with those who help you believe in yourself.

Brooks Robinson

Treat those who are good with goodness,
And also treat those who are not good with goodness.
Thus goodness is attained.


Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

Mary Anne Radmacher

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

Martin Luther King, Jr

The world stands aside to let anyone pass who knows where he is going.

David Starr Jordan

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

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Evil is not an actual substance, but absence of good; just as darkness is nothing but absence of light.

Abba Evagrius

Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot learn from masters.

Saint Bernard of Clairvoux

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


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

A good indignation brings out all one's powers.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.

Chinese Proverb

To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.

Helen Keller

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

Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Finding inner peace, this is a point of no return. You can never go back into the struggle. The struggle is over now because you will to do the right thing, and you don't need to be pushed into it.

Peace pilgrim

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.


Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow.

Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability…To be alive is to be vulnerable.

Madeleine L'Engle

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

Robert A. Heinlein

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.


Giving thanks for abundance is sweeter than the abundance itself.


Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your misfortunes, of which all men have some.

Charles Dickens

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

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

Mohandas Gandhi

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

Will Rogers

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

Eric Hoffer

Thought held in mind reproduces after its kind, just like a seed in the ground that's nourished reproduces after its kind. In this moment, you are free to plant again.

Mary Manin Morrissey

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

Carl Jung

To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.

J. Krishnamurti

Happiness is a quality of mind. It is something we possess within…if we do not have it within, nothing outside can give it to us.


The wise see in every form the divine form; in every heart they see the divine light shining.

Hazrat Inayat Khan

It is impossible for the human mind to remain completely without thought for long times. On the other hand, too many small, unimportant thoughts can fill the mind to the extent that no meaningful thought takes place.

Tomio Hirai in Zen Meditation Therapy

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

Gloria Steinem

Learn to watch your drama unfold while at the same time knowing you are more than your drama.

Ram Dass

We are one, after all, you and I. Together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other.

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours.

Richard Bach

Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

John Muir

In those whom I like, I can find no common denominator; in those whom I love I can: they all make me laugh.

W.H. Auden

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

William James

Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.


If you see good in people, you radiate a harmonious loving energy which uplifts those who are around you. If you can maintain this habit, this energy will turn into a steady flow of love.

Annamalai Swami

Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.


An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.


We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.

Henry David Thoreau

The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.

Leo Tolstoy

It is not from reason that justice springs, but goodness is born of wisdom.

Maurice Maeterlinck

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

Joanne Kathleen Rowling

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie

Intelligence is not to make no mistakes, but quickly to see how to make them good.

Bertolt Brecht

The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.

G. K. Chesterton

If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time.

Edith Wharton

Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.

Mignon McLaughlin

Observation, not old age, brings wisdom.

Publius Syrus

Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we're frantic, life will be frantic. If we're peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace.

Marianne Williamson

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

Carl Gustav Jung

To undertake a genuine spiritual path is not to avoid difficulties but to learn the art of making mistakes wakefully, to bring to them the transformative power of our heart.

Jack Kornfield

True love is no game of the faint-hearted and the weak. It is born of strength and understanding.

Meher Baba

And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.

Helen Keller

You can't do what you want till you know what you're doing.

Moshe Feldenkrais

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The contemplation of truth and beauty is the proper object for which we were created, which calls forth the most intense desires of the soul, and of which it never tires.

William Hazlitt

Consequently: he who wants to have right without wrong, order without disorder, does not understand the principles of heaven and earth. He does not know how things hang together.

Chuang Tzu

Mastery of the world is achieved by letting things take their natural course.

Tao Te Ching

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!

Hamilton Wright Mabie

If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.

Arabian Proverb

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little–do what you can.

Sydney Smith

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

If you cannot be compassionate to yourself, you will not be able to be compassionate to others.

Thich Nhat Hanh

If you keep saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of being a prophet.

Isaac B. Singer

Nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches as to conceive how others can be in want.

Jonathan Swift

The more we know, the better we forgive. Those who feel deeply feel for all living beings.

Madame De Stael

Remember that if the opportunities for great deeds should never come, the opportunities for good deeds are renewed day by day. The thing for us to long for is the goodness, not the glory.

F.W. Faber

Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.

Anton Chekhov

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.

Robert Kennedy

Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.

John Muir

What you see in yourself is what you see in the world.

Afghan proverb

The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart–this you will build your life by, and this you will become.

James Allen

Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.

Napoleon Hill

When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Abraham Maslow

We are realizing that in an interconnected world, not only are problems interwoven, but the solutions are interconnected as well, which means whatever we do to help ourselves and our world, we must do it together.

David Spangler

If there was already a path it would have to be someone else's; the whole point is to find your own way.

Joseph Campbell

We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone–but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.

Walter Anderson

I began to understand that the promises of the world are for the most part vain phantoms, and that to have faith in oneself and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course.


If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.

Ancient Buddhist Saying

By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. By practicing reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive.

Albert Schweitzer

What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labour, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?

George Eliot

©2023 Tom Barrett