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


Related States & Conditions | Syntonic | Dystonic

The Self cannot be known by anyone who desists not from unrighteous ways, controls not his senses, stills not his mind, and practices not meditation.
c. 1400-c. 800 BCE, Hindu Sacred Text

He who has conquered the feelings of pleasure, wrath, avarice, attachment, vanity and aversion, this one is peace itself, and free from all pride.
Mahatma Dattatreya
c. 1100 BCE, Indian Guru
Avadhut Gita, VII.4, Hari Prasad Shastri, tr., 1934

For the very true beginning of wisdom is the desire of discipline.
10th Century BCE, Jewish King, Writer
in Apocrypha

Men may block your path, but never let them obstruct you from right action; never let them destroy the feeling of charity you have toward them. You must be firm in both: steadfast in judgment and action; kind to those who do you harm. To lose your temper with them is no less a sign of weakness than one cowed into abandoning his proper course of action. In both cases, the post of duty has been deserted.
Marcus Aurelius
121-180, Roman Emperor, Stoic Philosopher
Meditations, Book 11:9
in Two Suns Rising, Jonathan Star, ed., 1991

Those who wish to keep a rule of life
Must guard their minds in perfect self-possession.
Without this guard upon the mind,
No discipline can ever be maintained.
7th Century Indian Buddhist Scholar
The Way of the Boddhisattva, Padmakara, tr., 1997

The mouth is the portal of the mind. If not carefully guarded, it leaks true intents and motives. Feelings are the feet of the mind. If not carefully watched, they will take you onto all kinds of wayward paths.
Hong Zicheng
fl. 1596, Chinese Philosopher, Scholar
Caigentan: Vegetable Roots Discourse, I.220, Robert Aitken & Daniel W. Y. Kwok, trs., 2006

The nature of the monkey is wild and uncertain, but if you leash it, it will follow human direction, unable to do whatever it wants. The nature of the horse is stubborn and intractable, but with a bridle and headstall on, it will follow human direction, unable to gallop off … If learners can actually control their stubborn mind and return it to rectitude, transform their errant intent and restore it to sincerity, then half the Tao of essence and life can be comprehended.
Liu Yiming
b. c. 1737, Chinese Taoist Adept, Scholar
Awakening to the Tao, Thomas Cleary, tr., 1988

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize we ought to control our thoughts.
Charles Darwin
1809-1882, English Naturalist, Writer

I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.
Charles Dickens
1812-1870, English Writer

There is no man that lives who does not need to be drilled, disciplined, and developed into something higher and nobler than he is by nature.
Henry Ward Beecher
1813-1887, American Cleric, Lecturer, Editor

Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance, self-control, diligence, strength of will, content and a hundred other virtues which the idle never know.
Charles Kingsley
1819-1875, English Writer, Poet, Lecturer, Cleric

We cannot kindle when we will
The fire which in the heart resides,
The spirit bloweth and is still,
In mystery our soul abides:
But tasks in hours of insight will'd
Can be through hours of gloom fulfill'd.
Matthew Arnold
Matthew: 1822-1888, English Poet, Critic, Essayist, Educator

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself to do the thing you have to do when it ought to be done whether you like it or not. It is the first lesson that ought to be learned and however early a person's training begins, it is probably the last lesson a person learns thoroughly.
Thomas Huxley
1825-1895, English Biologist, Scholar
Collected Essays, Vol. 3, 1896

Discipline must come through liberty ... We do not consider an individual disciplined when he has been rendered as artificially silent as a mute and as immovable as a paralytic. He is an individual annihilated, not disciplined.
Maria Montessori
1870-1952, Italian Physician, Educator

Nothing of importance is ever achieved without discipline … But the discipline you have in your life should be one determined by your own desires and your own needs, not put upon you by society or authority.
Bertrand Russell
1872-1970, English Philosopher, Mathematician, Essayist, Social Reformer, 1951 Nobel Laureate

No steam or gas drives anything until it is confined. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.
Henry Emerson Fosdick
1878-1969, American Cleric

Common-sense is the fundamental factor in all spiritual disciplines. No rule is an eternal rule. Rules change from place to place, time to time and from one condition to another condition.
1887-1963, Indian Guru

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.
Pearl S. Buck
1892-1973, American Writer, Dramatist, 1938 Nobel Laureate
"My Neighbor's Son," To My Daughters With Love, 1967

We must practice separating ourselves from our negative moods and thoughts in the midst of all the troubles and disasters of daily life. No one can be different from what he is now unless he begins to separate himself from his present reactions and to identify himself with his aim. Detachment from negative states and assumption of the wish fulfilled must be practiced in the midst of all the blessings and cursings of life. The way of true metaphysics lies in the midst of all that is going on in life. We must constantly practice self-observation, thinking from our aim, and detachment from negative moods and thoughts if we would be doers of truth instead of mere hearers.
1905-1972, Barbadian/American Spiritual Teacher
“Fundamentals,” New Thought, Summer 1953

Without discipline, there is no life at all.
Katharine Hepburn
1909-2003, American Actress

Though discipline and freedom seem antithetical, each without the other destroys itself.
Donald Barr
1921-, American Educator, Writer

A sailor without a destination cannot hope for a favorable wind.
Leon Tec
1919-, Polish Writer

A mountain can never be climbed looking down. The direction should always be onward and upward, and with faith, focus, discipline, dedication and hard work, our dreams will be realized.
Leontyne Price
1927-, African-American Opera Singer

No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place … Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have travelled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction.
Maya Angelou
1928-, African-American Writer, Poet, Dramatist

The line of progress is never straight. For a period of movement may follow a straight line and then it encounters obstacles and the path bends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
1929-1968, African-American Civil Rights Leader, Cleric, 1964 Nobel Laureate

We find our individual freedom by choosing not a destination but a direction. You do not choose the transformative journey because you know where it will take you but because it is the only journey that makes sense.
Marilyn Ferguson
1938-, American Writer, Mind Researcher
The Aquarian Conspiracy, 1980

Look inside to find out where you’re going, and it’s better to do it before you get out of high school.
1958-, African-American Musician

The smallest step in a positive direction is considerably better than sliding helplessly backwards. And you can take that step forward right now.
Ralph Marston
1961- , American Publisher, Writer

If there ever comes a time when you feel like you have to go someplace to find a better you and you’re going any farther than the mirror, don’t take another step. As long as you are looking toward anything but yourself, you’ll always be headed in the wrong direction.
Angel Kyodo Williams
African-American Zen Priest
Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace, 2000

We have been used to thinking linearly, but … it’s not in one line any more but many lines, in different directions, and those directions each have many more directions. It has nothing to do with space. If you hold your fist tightly, that little space contains all the dimensions.
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 Action/Effort | Beginning | Cause | Commitment/Dedication | Determination/Persistence/Resolve | Expectation/Hope, Exploration, Focus/Intention, Goal/Ideal/Purpose, Initiative, Journey/Path, Passion, Possibility/Potential, Retreat/Withdrawal, Value/Worth
Syntonic Attention/Awareness | Confidence | Conviction/Principle | Courage | Daring/Challenge | Decision/Decisiveness | Diligence | Discipline, Dispatch, Faith, Flexibility/Flow/Flux, Learning, Openness/Receptivity, Questioning/Doubt, Self-Reliance, Zeal/Zest
Dystonic Avoidance/Denial/Refusal | Complacency | Conformity | Deferment/Delay | Delusion | Distraction/Diversion, Fault, Fear, Habit, Haste/Impatience, Inaction, Laziness, Limitation


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