It is not your obligation to complete your work, but you are not at liberty to quit.
God is in the details.
The only thing that’s been a worse flop than the organization of nonviolence has been the organization of violence.
I have been waiting twenty years for someone to say to me, “You have to fight fire with fire” so that I could reply, “That’s funny — I always use water.”
The monks of a neighboring monastery asked the master’s help in a quarrel that had arisen among them. They had heard the master say he had a technique that was guaranteed to bring love and harmony to any group.
On this occasion he revealed it. “Any time you are with anyone, or think of anyone, you must say to yourself: I am dying and this person too is dying, attempting the while to experience the truth of the words you are saying. If every one of you agrees to practice this, bitterness will die out, harmony will arise.”
It’s a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than “try to be a little kinder.”
I have on my wall a great quote from Sir Laurence Olivier. He and Charlton Heston had done a play about twenty-five years ago, and they’d gotten slaughtered. Heston said, “Well, I guess you’ve just got to forget the bad reviews.” And Olivier said, “No, you’ve got to forget the good ones.”
It requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun. Yet, is it any more unusual to find grace in the texture and softly curved silhouette of a bun than to reflect lovingly on . . . the arrangement of textures and colors in a butterfly’s wing?
Don’t let me catch anyone talking about the Universe in my department.
We must have no illusions. We must not be naive. If we listen to the voice of God, we make our choice, get out of ourselves, and fight nonviolently for a better world. We must not expect to find it easy; we shall not walk on roses, people will not throng to hear us and applaud, and we shall not always be aware of divine protection. If we are to be pilgrims of justice and peace, we must expect the desert.
If we could only placate the world’s rage with a drop of poetry or of love — but only the struggle, and the daring heart, are able to do that.
Love does not help to understand The logic of the bursting shell.
Even stones have a love, a love that seeks the ground.
I say to my breath once again, little breath come from in front of me, go away behind me, row me quietly now, as far as you can, for I am an abyss that I am trying to cross.
He had stuffed his own emptiness with good work like a glutton.
In the last century, a tourist from America paid a visit to a renowned Polish rabbi, Hofetz Chaim. He was astonished to see that the rabbi’s home was only a simple room filled with books, plus a table and a bench. “Rabbi,” asked the tourist, “where is your furniture?” “Where is yours?” replied Hofetz Chaim. “Mine?” asked the puzzled American. “But I’m only passing through.” “So am I,” said the rabbi.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has his foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
I mark Henry James’s sentence: observe perpetually. Observe the oncome of age. Observe greed. Observe my own despondency. By that means it becomes serviceable.
. . . a final comfort that is small, but not cold: the heart is the only broken instrument that works.