Heaven and Hell are in the present moment, and we are either in Heaven or Hell as we live out our lives each day.
Earth’s crammed with Heaven, and
every common bush afire with God.
But then, at the moment of my greatest despair, from my unconscious there came a sequence of words, like a strange disembodied oracle from a voice that was not mine: “The only real security in life lies in relishing life’s insecurity.” Even if it meant being crazy and out of step with all that seemed holy, I had decided to be me.
Powerful “addictions” — whether to smoking cigarettes or injecting heroin — are actually both very difficult and very easy to overcome. . . . What is relevant is whether “the addiction” . . . is or is not part of an internally significant dramatic production in which the “patient-victim” is the star. So long as it is (and if it is, the struggle to combat the addiction is only a part of the play), the person will find it difficult or impossible to give up his habit; whereas once he has decided to close down the play and leave the stage, he will find the grip of the habit broken and will “cure” himself of the “addiction” with surprising ease.
How is it, Lord, that we are cowards in everything save in opposing thee?
It was not my anger or my frustration that got in the way of my poetry but the fact that I viewed each anger and each frustration as unique — something to be converted into poetry as one would exchange foreign money. I learned this from the English Department (and from the English Department of the Spirit — that great quagmire that lurks at the bottom of us all), and it ruined ten years of my poetry.
There is in man a fear of joy as keen as the fear of suffering, because true joy precludes the pleasant feeling of self-importance just as suffering precludes all the comforts of self-pity. No man can know the one without the other.
Don’t be humble. You’re not that great.
Until it was decided by dictate that you’re not allowed to see things other people don’t see, hear things other people don’t hear, or smell things other people don’t smell, we all didn’t have to hear, smell, and see things the same way. This was never the case in the history of humanity. The ordinary human might, when depressed, see the sky become dark or the sun cloud over. The whole world was once part of man’s psyche. But no longer. Everything now has got to be experienced all the time in the same way as everyone else. Experience has become homogenized.
On all sides God surrounds you, staring out upon you from the mountains and from the face of the rocks, and of men, and of animals. Will you rush past forever insensate and blindfold, hurrying breathless from one unfinished task to another, and to catch your ever-departing trains, always flying from His face?
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structures of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
I never saw a wild thing
Sorry for itself.
I’ve painted for a very long time, but I don’t get tired or bored by it; I love to do it. If I don’t paint one day, I don’t feel well physically or mentally. My eyes bother me when I don’t paint. But when I paint a full day, I feel satisfied and everything seems to be OK. I would never stop, never retire. I don’t see how people can retire; I don’t understand that. My brother Moses died while he was painting. He was actually working on a painting, and the last words he said were to the model: “Phoebe, don’t frown.” Then he died. He worked to the very last minute.