We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it — and stop there — lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again — and that is well; but she will also never sit down on a cold one anymore.

Mark Twain

Suppose someone were to say, “Imagine this butterfly exactly as it is, but ugly instead of beautiful.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

In language we have to try to balance the extreme particularity of our unique personal experience and the generality of human experience. Vital speech involves a balancing of both concerns. Personal experience, one’s particular experience, if it doesn’t seek its place in the general human experience, is incommunicable. And general human experience, if it isn’t felt in the terms of particular experience, is virtually incommunicable, too, and, moreover, tyrannical.

Wendell Berry

We are perceivers. We are an awareness. We are not objects. We are boundless. The world of objects and solidity is a way of making our passage on Earth convenient. It is only a description that was created to help us.

Don Juan Mateus

Put down your opinion, your condition, your situation, then you will not be stuck. Always stay open. Working in a gas station will be no problem, or cleaning someone’s house. If you are holding your idea, “I want a high class job, or a house, or a car,” then you will have a problem. Zen means put everything down. Then you can control any situation or condition.

Seung Sahn

I judge as the sunlight judges, falling upon a helpless thing.

Walt Whitman

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Be happy. It’s one way of being wise.


Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn’t just a fiction; it’s a part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space, and is inside us, like the teeth in our mouth. It can’t be forever violated with impunity.

Boris Pasternak

You walk on carrying on your shoulders a glass door to some house that’s not been found. There’s no handle. You can’t insure it. Can’t put it down.

W.S. Merwin

Sleep faster. We need the pillows.

Yiddish proverb

It is impossible to forgive whoever has done us harm if that harm has lowered us. We have to think that it has not lowered us but revealed our true level.

Simone Weil

One must not cheat anybody, not even the world of its triumph.


Love Winter when the plant says nothing.

Thomas Merton

Where did the truth go? The key was mislaid in an army of doors, it was there on its ring with the others, but the lock is nowhere in the world. No world for the key to get lost in, no true or false, in the end.

Pablo Neruda

All the arts we practise are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.

M.C. Richards

For example, everyone automatically assumes that the present is the result of the past. Turn it around, and consider whether the past may not be a result of the present. The past may be streaming back from the now, like the country as seen from an airplane.

Alan Watts

When they tell you to grow up, they mean stop growing.

Tom Robbins