There is no religion that is closer to a man than the one he invents, so I guess you can say in that sense I’m religious. . . . I think there is a destiny beyond sheer experience. It consists, for me, in creativity. I think there is a spirit that can be killed in a society and in an individual that, for want of a better word, is the life spirit — the creative spirit. . . . This is holy, and it takes great effort, a kind of prayer, to keep it alive and nurture it. Without it, we might as well not be around. Life becomes simply a series of objects and chance relationships.
Ah, don’t let my prayer seem too little to you, God. You sit up there, so white and old, with all the angels about You and the stars slipping by. And I come to You with a prayer about a telephone call. Ah, don’t laugh, God. You see, You don’t know how it feels. You’re so safe, there on Your throne, with the blue swirling under You. Nothing can touch You; no one can twist Your heart in his hands. This is suffering, God, this is bad, bad suffering.
The physical senses actually can be said to create the physical world, in that they force you to perceive an available field of energy in physical terms, and impose a highly specialized pattern upon this field of reality. Using the physical senses, you can perceive reality in no other way.
These people come home one night and they feel like there’s someone in the apartment so they go back out and call the cops. The cops go in and find a man hiding in the closet. This cop asks him what he’s doing in there and he says, “I’m looking for work.”
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
While people were saying, “Everything is always changing,” they were following a rather fixed, narrow diet of miso soup, rice, and cooked vegetables. That’s all right if you’re seventy years old and anxious to become a saint, or if you have a serious illness. But if you’re twenty-two years old and trying to discover who you are, you should travel, eat broadly, experiment, and keep an open mind. If you start where you want to end up, you’ll end up where you started.
“There is nothing to fear.” This simply states a fact. It is not a fact to those who believe in illusions, but illusions are not facts. In truth there is nothing to fear.
One day when the Sultan was in his palace at Damascus a beautiful youth who was his favorite rushed into his presence, crying out in great agitation that he must fly at once to Baghdad, and imploring leave to borrow his Majesty’s swiftest horse.
The Sultan asked why he was in such haste to go to Baghdad.
“Because,” the youth answered, “as I passed through the gardens of the palace just now, Death was standing there, and when he saw me he stretched out his arms as if to threaten me, and I must lose no time in escaping from him.”
The young man was given leave to take the Sultan’s horse and fly, and when he was gone the Sultan went down indignantly into the garden, and found Death still there. “How dare you make threatening gestures at my favorite?” he cried; but Death, astonished, answered, “I assure your Majesty I did not threaten him. I only threw up my arms in surprise at seeing him here, because I have a tryst with him tonight in Baghdad.”
Every moment and every event of every man’s life plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men. Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them. For such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere, except in the good soil of freedom, spontaneity, and love.
No nation can prosper until it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.
Good for the body is the work of the body, and good for the soul is the work of the soul, and good for either is the work of the other.
A man can only do what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day.