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


Related States & Conditions | Syntonic | Dystonic

Gender is in everything; everything has its masculine and feminine principles; gender manifests on all planes.
Hermes Trismegistus
Khemetic Magus, Egyptian God Thoth, Greek God of Law & Letters
in The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy, 1908

In the sky there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.
c. 563-483 BCE, Indian Prince, Mystic, Founder of Buddhism

The narrow-minded man thinks and says: “This man is one of us; this one is not, he is a stranger.” To the man of noble soul the whole of mankind is but one family.
Vishnu Sharma
c. 200 BCE, Indian Sage, Royal Educator
“Hitopadesa,” Panchatantra

The Perfect Way is only difficult for those who pick and choose. Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear. Make a hairbreadth difference, and Heaven and Earth are set apart.
Jianzhi Sengcan
526-606, Chinese Chan Master, 3rd Zen Patriarch
“On Believing in Mind”

The perfect Way’s like boundless space
Nothing lacking, nothing extra
It is because of choice
That its absolute truth is lost.
Don’t pursue externals;
Don’t dally in the interior void.
When the spirit remains serene
In the unity of things
Dualism vanishes by itself;
When that unity is not clear
There is loss in both directions.

If you want to get the plain truth,
Be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong
Is the sickness of the mind

The truth of Brahman may be understood intellectually. But (even in those who so understand) the desire for personal separateness is deep-rooted and powerful, for it exists from beginningless time. It creates the notion, “I am the actor, I am he who experiences.” This notion is the cause of bondage to conditional existence, birth and death. It can be removed only by the earnest effort to live constantly in union with Brahman.
686-718, Indian Philosopher, Writer, Poet

If you want to avoid experiencing reversal, just cut off dualism; then measurements cannot govern you. You are neither Buddha nor sentient being; you are not near or far, not high or low, not equal or even, not going or coming. Just do not cling to written letters that obstruct It, and neither side can hold you. You will escape both pain and pleasure, and escape the opposition of light and dark.
Baizhang Huaihai
749-814, Chinese Chan Master
in Pocket Zen Reader, Thomas Cleary, ed., 1999

The minute you fixate on the recognition that “This is ‘it’,” you are immediately bound hand and foot and cannot move around anymore. So as soon as it is given this recognition, nothing is right, whatever it may be. If you don’t fixate on recognition, you can still be saved.
Fuyan Qingyuan
1067-1120, Chinese Chan Master
in Zen Essence: The Science of Freedom, Thomas Cleary, tr. & ed., 1989

When light and dark are merged without division, who distinguishes relative and absolute herein? Thus it is said, “Although the absolute is absolute, it is relative as well, although the relative is relative, it is complete as well.” At this precise moment, how do you discern? How clear – twin shining eyes before any impulse! How stately – the eternal body outside forms!
Hongzhi Zhengjue
1091-1157, Chinese Chan Master

“I” and “you” focus light
like decorative holes cut
in a lamp shade.
But there is only One Light.

“I” and “you” throw a
thin veil between
heaven and earth.
Lift the veil and all
creeds and theologies disappear.
When “I” and “you” vanish,
how can I tell whether I am
in a mosque, a synagogue,
a church, or an observatory?
Sa’d Ud Din Shabistari
13th Century Sufi Poet
“The Secret Rose Garden,”
in Desert Wisdom: Sacred Middle Eastern Writings from the Goddess through the Sufis
Neil Douglas-Klotz, tr., 1995

When is a man in mere understanding? I answer, “When a man sees one thing separated from another.” And when is a man above mere understanding? That I can tell you: “When a man sees All in all, then a man stands beyond mere understanding.”
Meister Eckhart
1260-1327, German Dominican Priest, Theologian, Mystic

The small mind contains only illusions of separateness, of division. It imagines myriad objects and defines truth in terms of relative opposites. Big is defined by small, good by evil, pure by defiled, hidden by revealed, full by empty.
Hanshan Deqing
1546-1623, Chinese Chan Master, Scholar, Poet
Journey to Dreamland, Jy Din Shakya, tr., 1998

If you rely on the differences in teachers and see the differences in persons, you are misled by blind teachers into reifying Buddha, Dharma, Zen, Tao, mysteries, marvels, functions, and states. One way and another this glues your tongue down, nails your eyes shut, and constricts your heart.
1578-1657, Chinese Chan Master
in Zen Essence: The Science of Freedom, Thomas Cleary, tr. & ed., 1989

Abominating hell
Longing for heaven
You make yourself suffer
In a joyful world.
You think that good
Means hating what is bad
What’s bad is
The hating mind itself.
1622-1693, Japanese Zen Master
Bankei Zen: Translations from the Record of Bankei, Yoshito Hakeda, ed., Peter Haskel, tr., 1984

Having a mind means having an ego, which means seeing others as others and self as self. When you view yourself as separate from others, you seek advantage for yourself without regard for loss to others. You become crafty and wily, your personal desires multiply at random. Your natural goodness is lost.
Liu Yiming
b. c. 1737, Chinese Taoist Adept, Scholar
Awakening to the Tao, Thomas Cleary, tr., 1988

Where there is beauty, there is ugliness.
When something is right, something else is wrong.
Knowledge and ignorance depend on each other.
It has been like this since the beginning.
How could it be otherwise now?
Wanting to toss out one and hold onto the other
makes for a ridiculous comedy.
You must still deal with everything ever-changing,
even when you say it’s wonderful.
1758-1831, Japanese Zen Master, Poet, Calligrapher

There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference.
William James
1842-1910, American Psychologist, Philosopher

The earth has one surface … Man has set up and established these imaginary lines, giving to each restricted area a name and the limitation of a native land or nationhood. By this division and separation into groups and branches of mankind, prejudice is engendered which becomes a fruitful source of war and strife.
1844-1921, Iranian Baha’i Leader
The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 1982

As manifested beings we appear to be separate, but our reality is one, and the less we think of ourselves as separate from that One, the better for us. The more we think of ourselves as separate from the Whole, the more miserable we become.
1863-1902, Indian Guru, Writer
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, 1984-1987, 2:334

We, as personalized, differentiated beings, forget our reality, and … not that we shall give up these differentiations, but we must learn to understand what they are. We are in reality that Infinite Being, and our personalities represent so many channels through which this Infinite Reality is manifesting Itself; and the whole mass of changes which we call evolution is brought about by the soul trying to manifest more and more of its infinite energy.
Ibid., 2.339

I am thoroughly convinced that no individual or nation can live by holding itself apart from the community of others, and whenever such an attempt has been made under false ideas of greatness, policy, or holiness – the result has always been disastrous to the secluding one.
Ibid., 4.365

Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.
Mahatma Gandhi
1869-1948, Indian Spiritual Leader

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see each other whole against the sky.
Rainer Maria Rilke
1875-1926, Czech-Austrian Poet

When we go deep enough or high enough, we meet. It is only on the surface that we differ and sometimes clash. True, we do not always find our way to the depth or the height, or we do not take the trouble to do so.
Ameen Rihani
1876-1940, Lebanese Writer

Man makes himself miserable by separating himself from others. Separation is death. Unity is life.
1887-1963, Indian Guru

The way of salvation cannot lie in melting people down into a mass, but on the contrary in their separation and individuation.
Theodor Haecker
1879-1945, German Philosopher, Translator
Journal in the Night, Alexander Dru, tr., 1950

Objects and names and forms are but the expression of vibrations in different aspects. Even all that we call matter or substance, and all that does not seem to speak or sound – it is all in reality vibration.
Hazrat Khan
1882-1927, Indian Sufi Master, Musician
The Mysticism of Sound and Music, 1991

You cannot separate the just from the unjust and the good from the wicked;
For they stand together before the face of the sun even as the black thread and the white are woven together.
And when the black thread breaks, the weaver shall look into the whole cloth, and he shall examine the loom also.
Khalil Gibran
1883-1931, Lebanese Poet, Mystic, Painter
The Prophet, 1923

I know the dark delight of being strange,
The penalty of difference in the crowd,
The loneliness of wisdom among fools.
Claude McKay
1889-1948, Jamaican Poet, Writer
“My House”

Assuredly, all the disciplines of the mind and all the sciences of man are equally precious and their discoveries mutually so, but this solidarity does not mean confusion. What is important is to integrate the results of the diverse applications of the mind without confounding them. The surest method … is still that of studying a phenomenon in its own frame of reference, with freedom afterwards to integrate the results of this procedure in a wider perspective.
Mircea Eliade
1907-1986, Romanian Scholar, Writer

Associations formed on this earth are not necessarily for the duration of the lifespan. Separation takes place constantly, and as long as it takes place lovingly, not only is there no spiritual injury, but spiritual progress may actually be helped.
Peace Pilgrim
1908-1981, American Spiritual Teacher
Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words, 1982

The greatest tragic factor in history is man’s apparent need to mark the intensity of his reaction to life by joining a band; for a band, to give itself definition must find a rival or an enemy.
Peter Shaffer
1926-, British Dramatist
in Contemporary Dramatists, 1977

We go on believing we are separate. We are not – not even for a single moment. Drop the idea of separation – and the fear of death disappears. If you become one with the whole you will live forever. You will go beyond birth and death.
“Osho” Rajneesh
1931-1990, Indian Guru

Nature is intricately and infinitely connected. The minute I name something and begin to regard it as a separate entity, I break this unbreakable unity. So that which makes it possible for us to seek truths about the universe and about ourselves has within itself the guarantee that we will never be able to find the Truth. Our knowledge must be forever fragmented, because that is the nature of systematic knowledge.
Katherine Paterson
1932-, American Writer

The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.
Audre Lorde
1934-1992, African-American Poet, Writer, Lesbian-Feminist Activist

In community, instead of being ignored, denied, hidden, or changed, human differences are celebrated as gifts.
M. Scott Peck
1936-2005, American Psychiatrist, Writer
The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, 1987

Your intellect feels discontent
With having and not labelling …
To fix in one quick-drying definition.
You must not try to cram us all
Into your little box;
Your definition must perforce be false
Or we are dead.
Mervyn Morris
1937-, Jamaican Educator, Poet
“To a West Indian Definer”

The effort to separate ourselves whether by race, creed, color, religion, or status is as costly to the separator as to those who would be separated … The task that remains is to cope with our interdependence – to see ourselves reflected in every other human being and to respect and honor our differences.
Melba Beals
1943-, African-American Journalist, Writer

What is actually experienced is already a seamless Whole. Consciousness divides it. And, of course, the most basic division is “me” and “everything else,” self and other. Consciousness not only divides the world spatially, it also divides it temporally. We thus imagine past, present, and future, and the persistence of separate objects.
Steve Hagen
1945-, American Soto Zen Priest, Teacher
Buddhism Plain & Simple, 1997

The realization that you are “different” from others may force you to disidentify from socially conditioned patterns of thought and behavior. This will automatically raise your level of consciousness above that of the unconscious majority, whose members unquestioningly take on board all inherited patterns … Being an outsider to some extent, someone who does not “fit in” with others or is rejected by them for whatever reason, makes life difficult, but it also places you at an advantage as far as enlightenment is concerned. It takes you out of unconsciousness almost by force.
Eckhard Tolle
1948-, German/Canadian Spiritual Teacher
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, 1999

For most … the stark visibility of the seen world affects their perception of the unseen world. Discrimination begins when you say that you can touch this and that, and therefore the tangible begins to supercede the reality of the intangible.
Malidoma Somé
1956-, Burkina Fasso Dagara Shaman, Writer
The Healing Wisdom of Africa, 1999

We actually live in a sea of energy – a vast, seamless, unbroken landscape, broken up into separate, disconnected objects by our sense-perception. We ourselves (our bodies) are simply “patches” and specific patterns of energy within this vast energy landscape.
Ali Ansari
1969-, Pakistani Engineer, Writer, Poet
Sufism and Beyond: Sufi Thought in the Light of Late 20th Century Science, 1999

How do you expect to change the world
If your love extends only to those who belong to you,
If your love creates camps:
We on one side, they on the other,
Friends on one side, enemies on the other.
You have no faith if that’s how you divide the world.
Ljiljana Matković-Vlašić
Croatian Poet, Journalist
“A Cry from Croatia,” For a Change, 12.1

The root of everything is only one. I will tell you where the first separation takes place: in the real and deep sense, there is only “I.” “I” knows that “It” is: “I am.” That’s the first separation. “It” knows that “It” exists. The next separation is “I” and “you,” and so it goes on.
Tara Vasanti
Indian Reiki Master, Painter, Poet
in Derek Biermann, Samadhi: Personal Journeys to Spiritual Truth, 2000





















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 Appearance/Form | Belief/Religion | Choice/Volition | Comparison/Competition | Conflict/Opposition | Criticism/Judgment | Diversity/Multiplicity, Focus/Intention, Identity, Individuality, Initiative, Polarity/Contrast, Relativity, Solitude, Value/Worth
Syntonic Acceptance | Attention/Awareness | Collaboration/Synergy | Communication | Compassion/Empathy/Kindness | Connection/Interbeing/Interdependence | Equanimity, Exploration, Flexibility/Flow/Flux, Forgiveness, Friendship, Humor/Laughter, Listening, Love-Agape, Oneness/Unity/Wholeness, Openness/Receptivity, Respect, Tact/Discretion, Tolerance
Dystonic Avoidance/Denial/Refusal | Complacency | Conformity | Delusion | Distraction/Diversion, Fault, Fear, Habit, Jealousy/Envy, Limitation, Oppression, Revenge, 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