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Past Thoughts of the Day from Interlude: An Internet Retreat

12/1/23 to 5/31/24

In spiritual practice…the goal is always the recovery of wholeness.

Thomas Matus

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.

Anne Lamott

The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.


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

Albert Einstein

To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.

Rudolf Steiner

If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.

Isaac Newton

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

R. Buckminster Fuller

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

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

Carl Sagan

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

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Patience is the homely background on which most of the brilliant achievements are woven in beautiful harmony.

Allyn King Foster

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

William James

The widest possibilities for spiritual growth lie in the give-and-take of everyday relationships.

Eknath Easwaran

The morning glory which blooms for an hour differs not at heart from the giant pine, which lives for a thousand years.

Teitoko Matsunaga

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

Abraham Maslow

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

The world is not to be put in order. The world is in order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order.

Henry Miller

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

Elbert Hubbard

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

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

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


Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances.

Thomas Jefferson

Real activity is combined with calmness which can't be ruffled. It is a balance of mind which is never disturbed, whatever happens. Only when the mind is calm and collected is the whole of its energy spent in doing good work.

Swami Vivekananda

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

Eleanor Roosevelt

Fun is fundamental. There is no way around it. You absolutely must have fun. Without fun, there is no enthusiasm. Without enthusiasm, there is no energy. Without energy, there are only shades of gray.

Doug Hall, from Jump Start Your Brain

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes.

Marcel Proust

Emotions are like waves. Watch them come and go in the vast ocean of existence.

Hindu saying

This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. 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.

attributed to Chief Seattle

The first step toward change is acceptance. Once you accept yourself, you open the door to change. That's all you have to do. Change is not something you do, it's something you allow.

Will Garcia

In the power to change yourself is the power to change the world around you.

Anwar Sadat

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.

Helen Keller

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.

Harold V Melchert

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

Elie Wiesel

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

Tara Brach

Enhance and intensify one's vision of that synthesis of truth and beauty which is the highest and deepest reality.


If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a hundred years, educate people.

Chinese proverb

What a father says to his children is not heard by the world, but it will be heard for posterity.


There is no good in arguing with the inevitable. The only argument available with an east wind is to put on your overcoat

James Russell Lowell

When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

Joseph Campbell

We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error.

Linus Pauling

Because our entire universe is made up of consciousness, we never really experience the universe directly we just experience our consciousness of the universe, our perception of it, so right, our only universe is perception.

Alan Moore

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.

Arthur Golden

Without deviation progress is not possible.

Frank Zappa

The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.

Joseph Addison

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.

Og Mandino

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

Nor do I regret that I have lived, since I have so lived that I think I was not born in vain, and I quit life as if it were an inn, not a home.


Whenevere anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.

René Descartes

Everything you need you already have. You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else. Your completeness must be understood by you and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality.

Beverly Sills

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. True nobility is being superior to your former self.

Hindu Proverb

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

Jim Ryun

The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching.

Anson Dorrance

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.

Henry David Thoreau

It is not sacrifice if you love what you're doing.

Mia Hamm

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

And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.

Ayrton Senna

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice.

Wayne Dyer

There is no great achievement that is not the result of patient working and waiting.

J. G. Holland

Go to your bosom; Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.

William Shakespeare

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.

Paulo Coelho

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.

Dr. Seuss

Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Perseverance is the ability to follow through on an idea long after the mood has passed.


Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

Miguel Ruiz

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.

Og Mandino

There is nothing to do. Just be. Do nothing. Be. No climbing mountains and sitting in caves. I do not even say 'be yourself' since you do not know yourself. Just be.


Action is the antidote to despair.

Joan Baez

Time is not a line, but a series of now points.

Taisen Deshimaru

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

William James

When the mind is possessed of reality, it feels tranquil and joyous even without music or song, and it produces a pure fragrance even without incense or tea.

Hung Tzu-ch'eng

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

Joseph Campbell

Half of the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need…I live more simply now, and with more peace.

Richard E. Byrd, explorer

We are sick with fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas. Meditation is therefore the art of suspending verbal and symbolic thinking for a time, somewhat as a courteous audience will stop talking when a concert is about to begin.

Alan Watts

Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest. The blessing is in the seed.

Muriel Rukeyser

Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination


What stay we on earth except to grow.

Robert Browning

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

Dalai Lama

(Infinite Love) is a weapon of matchless potency. It is the Summum Bonum of life. It is an attribute of the brave. In fact it is their all. It does not come within the reach of the coward. It is no wooden or lifeless dogma but a living and life-giving force. It is the special attribute of the heart.

Mohandes Gandhi

If you walk, just walk. If you sit, just sit; but whatever you do, don't wobble.


The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

William Butler Yeats

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.

Camille Pissarro

We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life.

John Cage

Emotions are like waves. Watch them come and go on the vast ocean of existence.

Hindu proverb

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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

Tara Brach

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.

Rabindranath Tagore

What a father says to his children is not heard by the world, but it will be heard for posterity.


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

Tom Robbins

When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

Joseph Campbell

We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.

Thich Nhat Hanh

The faculty of imagination is both the rudder and the bridle of the senses

Leonardo da Vinci

Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error.

Linus Pauling

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

William Ralph Inge

The creation of something 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

Because our entire universe is made up of consciousness, we never really experience the universe directly we just experience our consciousness of the universe, our perception of it, so right, our only universe is perception.

Alan Moore

It must be obvious…that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.

Alan Watts

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.

Abraham Lincoln

There is sometimes a peculiar confusion in the West that equates progress to whatever is recent or whatever is new, and it is time we understood that progress has nothing to do with the chronology of an idea.

Barbara Amiel

If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.

Milton Berle

The world is indeed a mixture of truth and make-believe. Discard the make-believe and take the truth.


Meditation is to be aware of what is going on--in our bodies, in our feelings, in our minds, and in the world...Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects. Please do not think we have to be solemn to meditate. In fact, to meditate well, we have to smile a lot.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Play consists of whatever a body is not obligated to do.

Mark Twain

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Mahatma Gandhi

Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.


You can't control things by being nervous about it.

Tina Fey

Anger is mistaken as a friend because it brings extra energy, but the consequences are almost always negative.

The Dalai Lama

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To love another person is to see the face of God.

Victor Hugo

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

Mother Teresa

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.


The aspects of things that are most important to us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Men are not punished for their sins, but by them.

Elbert Hubbard

There is a destiny that makes us brothers: none goes his way alone,
All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own.

Edwin Markham

There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which…is within the souls of men.

Black Elk

Here it is–right now. Start thinking about it and you miss it.

Huang Po

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

Mother Teresa

The values by which we are to survive are not rules for just and unjust conduct, but are those deeper illuminations in whose light justice and injustice, good and evil, means and ends are seen in fearful sharpness of outline.

Jacob Bronowski

Why should we look to the past in order to prepare for the future? Because there is nowhere else to look.

James Burke

Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.

Thomas Huxley

It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.

William James

No matter how insignificant the thing you have to do, do it as well as you can, give it as much of your care and attention as you would give to the thing you regard as most important. For it will be by those small things that you shall be judged.

Mahatma Gandhi

The remarkable thing we have is a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

Charles Swindoll

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.

Henry Ford

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.

Samuel Johnson

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Kahlil Gibran

One of the most lasting pleasures you can experience is the feeling that comes over you when you genuinely forgive an enemy–whether he knows it or not.

O. A. Battista

When you choose one way out of many, all the ways you don't take are snuffed out like candles, as if they'd never existed.

Philip Pullman

Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

Robert Heinlein

Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.

Hans Margolius

Success is not built on what we accomplish for ourselves. Its foundation lies in what we do for others.

Danny Thomas

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

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The only way to find the limits of the possible is by going beyond them to the impossible.

Arthur C. Clarke

The mature person pays attention to what is happening in the innermost self.

Tzu Ssu

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

Erich Fromm

People wish to be settled. It is only as far as they are unsettled that there is any hope for them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The habit of viewing things cheerfully, and of thinking about things hopefully, may be made to grow in us like any other habits.

Samuel Smiles

The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.


There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

Thornton Wilder

Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.

George Bernard Shaw

Our life is what our thoughts make it.

Marcus Aurelius

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

Robert Louis Stevenson

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

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

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

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.

Jose Ortega y Gasset

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

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

Mohandas Gandhi

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.


Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.

Brian Tracy

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

Calvin Coolidge

Ultimately, human intentionality is the most powerful evolutionary force on this planet.

George Leonard

If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.

George MacDonald

You will find, as you look back on your life, that the moments that stand out are the moments when you have done things for others.

Henry Drummond

Once we recognize what it is we are feeling, once we recognize we can feel deeply, love deeply, can feel joy, then we will demand that all parts of our lives produce that kind of joy.

Audre Lorde

Happiness exists on earth, and it is won through prudent exercise of reason, knowledge of the harmony of the universe, and constant practice of generosity.

Jose Marti

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

Lao Tzu

The habit of looking to the future and thinking that the whole meaning of the present lies in what it will bring forth is a pernicious one. There can be no value in the whole unless there is value in the parts.

Bertrand Russell

Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you're gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.

Charles de Lint

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

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

Peter F. Drucker

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


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

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.

John Burroughs

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.

Henry Drummond

We go here, there, to this place, to that one, always looking for happiness that is there inside.


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

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

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

Kurt Vonnegut, Sirens of Titan

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

Mae West

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

Carl Jung

All great changes are preceded by chaos.

Deepak Chopra

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

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

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

Will Rogers


©2023 Tom Barrett