Wisdom for the Soul Wisdom for the Soul Thoughts to live by


Related States & Conditions | Syntonic | Dystonic

To destroy an undesirable rate of mental vibration, concentrate on the opposite vibration to the one to be suppressed … What is the source of sadness but feebleness of the mind? What gives it power but the want of reason? Rouse yourself to the combat, and it quits the field before you strike.
Khemetic Saying
Temt Tchaas: Egyptian Proverbs, Muata Ashaya Ashby, ed., 1994

Avoid the trap of increasing distress by sinking into states of depression. Inner feelings of inadequacy must be overcome. The strengthening of spiritual practice will help one to overcome the feelings of inner oppression which lead to exhaustion.
Yi Jing
c. 1150 BCE, Chinese Oracle
"Oppression" in The Photographic I Ching, Dhiresha McCarver, tr., 1997

Depression never brings me what I want;
My virtue will be warped and marred by it.
If there is a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for despondency?
And if there is no help for it,
What use is there in being sad?
7th Century Indian Buddhist Scholar
The Way of the Boddhisattva, Padmakara, tr., 1997

No matter how bad a state of mind you may get into, if you keep strong and hold out, eventually the floating clouds must vanish and the withering winds must cease.
Eihei Dogen
1200-1253, Japanese Zen Master, Philosopher, Poet, Painter, Soto School Founder
in The Pocket Zen Reader, Thomas Cleary, ed., 1999

Despair is a mental state which exaggerates not only our misery but also our weakness.
Marquis de Vauvenargues
1715-1747, French Militarist, Moralist

Keep aloof from sadness for sadness is a sickness of the soul. Life has, indeed, many ills, but the mind that views every object in its most cheering aspect, and every doubtful dispensation as replete with latent good, bears within itself a powerful and perpetual antidote.
Lydia Sigourney
1791-1865, American Writer, Poet

The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation.
George Bernard Shaw
1856-1950, Irish Writer, Dramatist, 1925 Nobel Laureate

I can enjoy feeling melancholy, and there is a good deal of satisfaction about being thoroughly miserable; but nobody likes a fit of the blues. Nevertheless, everybody has them; notwithstanding which, nobody can tell why. There is no accounting for them. You are just as likely to have one on the day you have come into a large fortune as on the day after you have left your new silk umbrella in the train.
Jerome K. Jerome
1859-1927, English Writer, Dramatist
The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow

It is despair, and despair alone, that begets heroic hope, absurd hope, mad hope.
Miguel de Unamuno
1864-1936, Spanish Philosopher

Many an attack of depression is nothing but the expression of regret at having to be virtuous.
Wilhelm Stekel
1868-1940, Austrian Psychologist, Psychoanalyst
The Depths of the Soul, 1922

Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don't know what work these conditions are doing inside you?
Rainer Maria Rilke
1875-1926, Czech-Austrian Poet
Letters to a Young Poet, 1992

The cause of your misery is not in your outer life; it is in you, as your ego. You impose limitations on yourself and then make a vain struggle to transcend them.
Ramana Maharshi
1879-1950, Indian Yogi

Men have been depressed now for many years in their male and resplendent selves, depressed into dejection and almost abjection. Is that not evil?
D. H. Lawrence
1885-1930, English Writer, Poet, Critic

I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub floors.
Selected Letters of D. H. Lawrence, Diana Trilling, ed., 1958

Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.
Dodie Smith
1896-1990, English Dramatist, Writer
I Capture the Castle, 1948

Depression is a partial surrender to death, and it seems that cancer is despair experienced at the cellular level.
Arnold A. Hutschnecker
1898-2000, Austrian/American Writer
The Will to Live, 1951

Now that I seem to have attained a temporary calm, I understand how valuable unhappiness can be; melancholy and remorse form the deep leaden keel which enables us to sail into the wind of reality; we run aground sooner than the flat-bottomed pleasure-lovers, but we venture out in weather that would sink them, and we choose our direction.
Cyril Connolly
The Unquiet Grave, 1944

But the storm, painful as it is, might have had some truth in it. So sometimes one has simply to endure a period of depression for what it may hold of illumination if one can live through it, attentive to what it exposes or demands.
~ May Sarton
1912-1995, American Poet, Writer
Journal of a Solitude

Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a man deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost.
Thomas Merton
1915-1968, American Trappist Monk, Writer

Distress tends to make you feel constricted in your personal identity, but if you are thinking of the distress of the whole of humanity, or even just the sadness of people around you in your everyday life, you begin to realize how puny your concern for yourself is.
Vilayat Khan
1916-2004, Indian-British Sufi Master, Writer
Awakening: A Sufi Experience<, 1999

Hopelessness can arise, I think, only from an inability to face the present, to live in the present, to live as a responsible being among other beings in this sacred world here and now, which is all we have, and all we need to found our hope upon.
Ursula Le Guin
1929-, American Writer, Critic, Feminist

Ordinary consciousness is a mistake. It is an error that has been created by our "intermediate" stage of evolution. Left-brain awareness — the ability to examine the world through a magnifying glass — is essential, but its "close-upness" has deprived us of meaning. We are stranded in an oversized world of magnified objects, and we can see the trees but not the wood. At this point, the emotional body intervenes, with its negativity and self-pity and mistrust, and turns the wood into a forest of nightmare. This is the state that Sartre calls "nausea," and that I have called "depression." It can be overcome only by recognizing that it is a mistake. And the "absurd good news" is the recognition that this insight, in itself, can transform subjective into objective consciousness. The bogies created by the mind can be destroyed by the mind.
Colin Wilson
1931-, English Writer
The Essential Colin Wilson, 1985

Depression can be a signal to reexamine assumptions and change strategies — a slowing down to reorient. If we are to deal effectively with problems, we have to see them realistically. And we have to define our purpose ... The best antidepressants are expression and action — engagement in the struggle. That way depression is not an end, but a meaningful beginning.
Marilyn Ferguson
1938-, American Writer, Mind Researcher
The Aquarian Conspiracy, 1980








This cross-index may help identify and delineate more closely subjective realities often hard to pin down.
  • Related states elucidate shades of meaning and amplify nuances of feeling
  • Syntonic elements foster and enhance well-being
  • Dystonic factors are contraindicated and should be minimized.
Related States & Conditions Adversity | Chaos/Uncertainty | Defeat | Grief/Sorrow, Influence/Effect, Limitation, Questioning/Doubt, Regret, Retreat/Withdrawal, Insecurity/Risk, Struggle, Suffering, Worry
Syntonic Balance | Breakthrough/Epiphany/Turning Point | Centering | Composure/Peace/Tranquility | Courage | Determination/Persistence/Resolve, Diligence, Equanimity, Faith, Focus/Intention, Friendship, Happiness/Contentment, Health/Healing, Humor/Laughter, Inspiration, Learning, Liberation/Liberty/Freedom, Music, Optimism/Positivism, Release, Renewal, Responsibility, Self-Reliance, Strength, Understanding, Vision/Visualization, Wisdom, Wonder/Mystery, Zeal/Zest
Dystonic Anger | Attachment | Avoidance/Denial/Refusal | Complacency | Conformity | Criticism/Judgment | Delusion | Dependence | Fault, Fear, Guilt, Habit, Jealousy/Envy, War/Aggression/Violence


Pardon us for the Author links which do not work and incomplete Subject cross-references. This is a life-work-in-progress and, like Penelope's tapestry, proceeds bit by bit.
- Webmeister
Web wisdomforthesoul.org


Thoughts to live by
Wisdom for The Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing , © 2004