Once again, as in the sixties, many of us sense the door of collective awareness opening, albeit slightly, allowing for the possibility that our lives together, as a society, could be lived with more consciousness and compassion.
It may be that we are doomed, that there is no hope for us, any of us, but if that is so then let us set up a last agonizing, bloodcurdling howl, a screech of defiance, a war whoop! Away with lamentation! Away with elegies and dirges! Away with biographies and histories, and libraries and museums! Let the dead eat the dead. Let us living ones dance about the rim of the crater, a last expiring dance. But a dance!
Sometimes it happens that love is sweetly awakened in the soul and joyfully arises and stirs itself in the heart without any help from human acts.
The point of nonviolence is to build a floor, a strong new floor, beneath which we can no longer sink. A platform which stands a few feet above napalm, torture, exploitation, poison gas, A and H bombs, the works. Give man a decent place to stand.
[The nurse] talked happily of former patients returning to see her when their hair had grown back; chemotherapy sounded like a problem of grooming. When hair returns, all is forgotten. But when all is forgotten, nothing is learned. Her way of seeing missed the ritual, which is a passage through real and symbolic dangers in preparation for the opportunity of a life enhanced by that passage.
Facts call us to reflect, even as the tossings of a capsizing vessel cause the crew to rush on deck and to climb the masts.
Where do we come from? Where are we going? What is the meaning of this life? That is what every heart is shouting, what every head is asking as it beats on chaos.
But he wanted you to be proud of him, so he invented the telephone before he called.
Once I had abandoned the search for everyone else’s truth, I quickly discovered that the job of defining my own truth was far more complex than I had anticipated.
Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.
Have you ever really looked anybody in the face?
Not long ago, but before World War II was over, a young Negro girl was asked how she would punish Hitler. Answer: “Paint him black and bring him over here.”
Is not one of our problems today that we have separated ourselves from the poor and the wounded and the suffering? We have too much time to discuss and theorize and have lost the yearning for God which comes when we are faced with the sufferings of people.
Faith and doubt both are needed, not as antagonists but working side by side, to take us around the unknown curve.
Rabbi Yoshua ben Levi asked Elijah, “When will the Messiah come?”
Elijah replied, “Go and ask him yourself.”
“Where is he?”
“Sitting at the gates of the city.”
“How shall I know him?”
“He is sitting among the poor covered with wounds. The others unbind all their wounds and bind them up again. But he unbinds them one at a time and then binds it up again, saying to himself, ‘Perhaps I shall be needed. If so, I must always be ready so as not to delay for a moment.’ ”
There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.