To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be.
A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.
The crime of loving is forgetting.
At the funeral of a great Hasidic master, a disciple was asked what was most important to his teacher. He responded, “Whatever he happened to be doing at the moment.”
The situation of the soul in contemplation is something like the situation of Adam and Eve in paradise. Everything is yours, but on one infinitely important condition: that it is all given. There is nothing that you can claim, nothing that you can demand, nothing that you can take. And as soon as you try to take something as if it were your own — you lose your Eden.
God is love, but get it in writing.
If your everyday practice is to open to all your emotions, to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter, without closing down, trusting that you can do that — then that will take you as far as you can go. And then you’ll understand all the teachings that anyone has ever taught.
Three things help me get through life successfully: an understanding husband, an extremely good analyst, and millions and millions of dollars.
“You Europeans think it disgraceful to expose your bodies,” a Japanese once told me, “but you shamelessly expose your minds. Everybody knows how men and women are made, so we see no shame in uncovering our bodies. We think it improper to uncover our thoughts.”
Freedom is a very great reality. But it means, above all, freedom from lies.
A group of political activists were attempting to show the master how their ideology would change the world. The master listened carefully. The following day he said, “An ideology is as good or bad as the people who make use of it. If a million wolves were to organize for justice would they cease to be a million wolves?”
And this is the simple truth — that to live is to feel oneself lost. He who accepts it has already begun to find himself to be on firm ground.
When one is young one doesn’t feel a part of it yet, the human condition. One does things, but they are not for good, everything is a rehearsal . . . to be put right when the curtain goes up in earnest. One day you know that the curtain was up all the time. That was the performance.
For Christ sake write and don’t worry about what the boys will say nor whether it will be a masterpiece nor what. I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit.
A Japanese artist was commissioned by an American to do a painting. The completed work had, in a lower corner, the branch of a cherry tree with a few blossoms and a bird perched upon it. The entire upper half of the painting was white. Unhappy, the American asked the artist to put something else in the painting because it looked, well, so bare. The Japanese refused the request. When pressed for an explanation, the artist said that if he did fill up the painting, there would be no space for the bird to fly.
God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through.
Oscar Wilde, on his deathbed, was drifting in and out of consciousness. Once, when he opened his eyes, he was heard to murmur, “This wallpaper is killing me; one of us has got to go.”