Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion

June 23, 2020

 

Living in the World

  • “When seeking your partner, if your intention is a virtuous one, you will find him or her. If not, you’ll keep finding the wrong person.”
  • “So that’s what destiny is: simply the fulfillment of the potentialities of the energies in your own system. The energies are committed in a certain way, and that commitment out there is coming toward you.”
  • “Every commitment is narrowing, and when that commitment fails, you have to get back to a large base and have the strength to hold to it.”
  • “Any disaster you can survive is an improvement to your character, your stature, and your life.”
  • “Nothing can happen to you that is not positive.”
  • “The dark night of the soul comes just before revelation.  When everything is lost, and all seems darkness, then comes the new life and all that is needed.”
  • “The first half of life we serve society – engagement.  The second half of life we turn inward – disengagement.”
  • “In old age, you are relaxed from the immediate occasion of the day’s summons, and you’re sinking down into your memory system, which is as alive as can be.”
  • “Five degrees of love”
    • “The first degree of love, that of servant to master, is a low degree of love”
    • “Degree number two, the relationship of friend to friend, is the awakening of what we would call love.”
      • “Whenever there is an experience of love as a spontaneous act, rather than the following of a command, you have moved out of stage one and into stage two.”
    • “The third order of love is that of parent for child.”
      • “This is symbolic of the awakening in your heart of the realization that the divine power is within you.”
    • “The fourth level of love is that of spouse to spouse.”
      • “You have found the god in your heart, and now the god is found in this intimate and most enduring kind of relationship.”
    • “Then we come to the highest order of love, the fifth, and that is compulsive, uncontrollable, illicit love, where there is nothing but love and you are totally ripped out of yourself in relation to god.”
  • “Marriage is not a love affair, it’s an ordeal.  It is a religious exercise, a sacrament, the grace of participating in another life.”
  • “Successful marriage is leading innovative lives together, being open, non-programmed.  It is a free fall: how you handle each new thing as it comes along.  As a drop of oil on the ocean, you must float, using intellect and compassion to ride the waves.”
  • “You have to think of significant things to do together that require both of you.”
  • “The idea of the gentle heart involves a sense of responsibility to the person. If that is not there, you have not got love, you’ve got something else. If that is there, it will last. Lust doesn’t, no responsibility there.”
  • “What I am saying is, not that responsibility constitutes love, but that love without a sense of responsibility is not love. It’s taking possession.”
  • “If you don’t have the maturity to control your compulsive passions, it seems to me that you are ineligible for marriage.”
  • “Committing yourself to anyone, turning your destiny over to a dual destiny, is a life commitment.”
  • “I do not think that you are married unless your relationship to your spouse is the primary consideration in your life.”
  • “You have to develop a number of different ways of relating to people, not just one.”
  • “If the marriage is toxic, you have to decide whether there is a possibility of transforming the situation. If you feel that there can be a transformation, then you can go through the ordeal of effecting one.”
  • “On the other hand, if your life is threatened, or even your love of life, and the situation cannot be transformed, or you don’t think it is worth the commitment, then you have got to clear out.”
  • “the way to choose a wife is to look at her mother. If the mother is a good woman and the kind that you regard as ideal, then marry any one of her daughters, and she will shape a life for you.”
  • “The woman is the energy, the sakti, of life. The male must learn to ride on that energy and not dictate the energy.”
  • “He is the vehicle of the woman’s energy.”
  • “In marriage, you are not sacrificing yourself to the other person.  You are sacrificing yourself to the relationship.”
  • “Love, which is unconditional in marriage, is specific; it is focused. It is for that person and not somebody else. Unconditional love goes right through everything, and it’s a breakthrough in spiritual life. Do not look for it outside of yourself. The only place to look for it is inside. If it is going to be unconditional love, what’s out there doesn’t matter.”
  • “The question is: ‘Can I open myself to compassion?’ Compassion for me is just what the word says: it is ‘suffering with.’ It is an immediate participation in the suffering of another to such a degree that you forget yourself and your own safety and spontaneously do what’s necessary.”
  • “When you rescue someone from drowning, you never know if they’ll pull you down with them.”
  • “Survival is the second law of life.  The first is that we are all one.”
  • “Basically, everyone needs a father. The father has a vital role. The mother represents nature, but the father introduces the son and daughter to social relationships.”
  • “Money is congealed energy and releasing it releases life possibilities.”
  • “My life course is absolutely indifferent to money. As a result, a lot of money has come in by my doing what I feel I want to do from the inside. If you do that, you are doing things that attract money, because you are giving life and life responds in the way of its counterpart in hard coin.”
  • “Money experienced as life energy is indeed a meditation, and letting it flow out instead of hoarding it is a mode of participation in the lives of others.”
  • “What are you going to do with your money? What factor in your own consciousness are you going to favor in the spending of the money?”
  • “If you’re getting a degree to compensate for an inferiority complex, give up the complex, because it’s an artificial thing.”
  • “Freedom involves making decisions, and each decision is a destiny decision. It’s very difficult to find in the outside world something that matches what the system inside you is yearning for.”
  • “if you are on your own path things are going to come to you. Since it’s your own path, and no one has ever been on it before, there’s no precedent, so everything that happens in a surprise and is timely.”
  • “When you wander, think of what you want to do that day, not what you told yourself you were going to want to do. And there are two things you must not worry about when you have no responsibilities: one is being hungry, and the other is what people will think of you. Wandering time is positive. Don’t think of new things, don’t think of achievement, don’t think of anything of the kind. Just think, ‘Where do I feel good? What is giving me joy?’”
  • “What counts is being where you feel you’re in your place. What people think is their problem.”
  • “What pulls you off from spiritual achievement? I know when my life is not in the center. I get desirously involved with my relation to some achievement or system that is tangential to the real centering of my life. And I know when I’m on track – that is, when everything is in a harmonious relationship to what I regard as the best I’ve got in me.”
  • “In the Grail legends, the land of people doing what they what they think they ought to do or have to do is the wasteland.”
  • “The crucial thing to live for is the sense of life in what you are doing, and if that is not there, then you are living according to other peoples’ notions of how life should be lived.”
  • “The aim of individuation requires that one should find and then learn to live out of one’s own center, in control of ones for and against. And this cannot be achieved by enacting and responding to any general masquerade of fixed roles.”
  •  ‘When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.’
  • “My experience is that I can feel that I’m in the grail castle when in living with people I love, doing what I love. I get that sense of being fulfilled. But, by god, it doesn’t take much to make me feel I’ve lost the castle, it’s gone.”
  • “Even when you have gotten there, it’s easy to get flipped out, because the world has things if wants you to do and you have decided not to do what the world wants.”
  • “The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, ‘Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not being touched…’”
  • “When you feel off-center, it’s time to go.”
  • The first step, detachment or withdrawal, consists in a radical transfer of emphasis from the external to the internal world, macro- to microcosm, a retreat from the desperations of the wasteland to the peace of the everlasting realm that is within.”
  • “When one thinks of some reason for not going or has fear and remains in society because it’s safe, the results are radically different from what happens when one follows the call. If you refuse to go, then you are someone else’s servant. When this refusal of the call happens, there is a kind of drying up, a sense of life lost. Everything in you knows that a required adventure has been refused. Anxieties build up. What you have refused to experience in a positive way, you will experience in a negative way.”
  • “If what you are following, however, is your own true adventure, if it is something appropriate to your deep spiritual need or readiness, then magical guides will appear to help you.”
  • “As you now go towards the center, there will come more aids, as well as increasingly difficult trials. You have to give up more and more of what you’re hanging on to. The final thing is a total giving up, a yielding all the way.”
  • “The deeper you go, and the closer you get to the final realization, the heavier the resistance.”
  • “One rendition is the Sacred Marriage, the meeting with the beloved which brings the birth of your own spiritual life, with the bride being whatever the life is that your relating to: male/female, I/Thou, this/that.”
  • “Another rendering is Atonement with the Father. The son has been separated from the father, meaning that he has been living a life that’s inappropriate to his real heritage.”
  • “The father represents the natural order from which you have been removed.”
  • “Then there is Apotheosis, the realization that ‘I am that which all these other beings are.”
  • “Bringing back the gift to integrate it into a rational life is very difficult.”
  • “One answer is to say, ‘To hell with them. I’m going back into the woods.’”
  • “The second way is to say, ‘What do they want?’ You have a skill. You can give them what they want, the commercial way.”
  • “The third possibility is to try to find some aspect of the domain into which you have come that can receive a little portion of what you have to give.”
  • “Look for cracks in the wall and give only to those who are ready for your jewel.”
  • “You do not have a complete adventure unless you do get back.”
  • “the final thing is knowing, loving, and serving life in a way in which you are eternally at rest. That point of rest has got to be in all of it. Even though you are active out there in the world, within you there’s a point of complete composure and rest.”
  • “Jung speaks of the curve of a lifetime being divided in half: the first half is the time of relationships, and the second half is the time of finding the sense of life within”
  • “The first quarter of life is that of a student, and the ideal there is obedience – ‘comeliness of appearance and sweetness of conduct.”
  • “The second quarter is that of the householder; that is to say, you have moved into the responsibilities of adult life.”
  • “Midlife is typically the period, not of achievement, but of realization, and it should be the period of fulfillment.”
  • “When you come into Jung’s second stage, the last half of life, the quest is for the import of the OM that you’ve heard in the heart chakra, so that it will become the forming and structuring energy of your life, without care for achievement, without care for prestige.”
  • “The image of decline in old age is a bit deceptive, because even though your energies are not those of early youth – that was the time of moving into the field of making all the big drives – now you are in the field, and this is the time of the opening flower, the real fulfillment, the bringing forth of what you have prepared yourself to bring forth.”
  • “All a ritual does is concentrate your mind on the implications of what you are doing.”
  • “I don’t think of God as up there. I think of god as right here in whatever I’m knowing and loving and serving. ‘To be happy with Him forever in heaven’ means to recognize your own compassion, your own participation in that creature of the person you’re with.”
  • “A clinging together is a terrible wright on the life of a young man.”
  • …every failure to cope with a life situation must be laid, in the end, to a restriction of consciousness. Wars and temper tantrums are the makeshifts of ignorance; regrets are illuminations come too late.”
  • “If you are at peace with eternity, the blowing up of the universe is perfectly acceptable – just as your own death has to be acceptable. It is going with organic processes. Everything that comes… goes.
  • …the hero would be no hero if death held for him any terror; the first condition is reconciliation with the grave.”
  • An Aztec prayer to be said on the deathbed… ‘Dear Child! Thou hast passed through and survived the labors of this life. Now it hath pleased our lord to carry thee away. For we do not enjoy this world everlastingly, only briefly; our life is like the warming of oneself in the sun.’”
  • “Every moment is utterly unique and will not be continued in eternity. This fact gives life its poignancy and should concentrate your attention on what you are experiencing now.”
  • “Being ‘happy with him forever in heaven’ means that while you are here on earth you should be happy: that is to say, your life should be identified with the divine power, the eternal power in all life. If you concretize the symbol of heaven, the whole situation disintegrates.”
  • “The resistance to death has to do with not knowing where you’re going when you die.”
  • “We disengage from various things all of our lives. Finally, we identify with consciousness and disengage from our bodies.”
  • ‘the death of one for whom you feel compassion shouldn’t be an affliction. Your attachment is the temporal aspect of the relationship; your compassion is the eternal aspect. Hence, you can reconcile yourself to feelings of loss by identifying with that which is not lost when all is lost: namely, the consciousness that informs the body and all things.”

 

Coming into Awareness

  • Yoga consists in the intentional stopping of the spontaneous activity of the mind-stuff.”
  • “The mind is likened, in reply, to the surface of a pond rippled by a wind… the idea of yoga is to cause that wind to subside and let the waters return to rest.”
  • “breath and emotion are linked. When you are shocked, your breathing changes. When you are full of rage or passion of any kind, your breathing changes. When you are at rest, your breathing changes. So, the goal here is to make your breathing regular, to still and calm the mind.”
  • “Chakra I: the world view is of uninspired materialism, governed by ‘hard facts’ …and the psychology, adequately described in behavioristic terms, is reactive, not active. There is on this plane no zeal for life, no explicit impulse to expand.”
  • “Chakra II: Svadhisthana, ‘Her Special Abode’ is at the level of the genitals. When the Kundalini is active at this level, the whole aim of life is sex.”
  • “Chakra III: Manipura, ‘City of the Shining Jewel’ is located at the level of the navel. Here the energy turns to violence and its aim is to consume, to master, to turn the world into oneself and one’s own.”
  • “The function of Chakra III is organizing your life, establishing a family, building a business, learning how to master the world in terms appropriate to your condition and place.”
  • “All three of these lower chakras are of the modes of man’s living in the world in his naïve state, outward turned…”
  • “These three chakras are of functions that we share with other animals.”
  • “Chakra IV: Anahata, meaning ‘not hit,’ is at the level of the heart. It is the beginning of the religious life, the awakening where the new life begins,”
  • “The heart chakra, then, is the opening of the spiritual dimension: all is metaphoric of the mystery.”
  • “Chakra V: called Vishuddha, ‘Purified,’ is at the level of the larynx. This is the chakra of spiritual effort to hold back the animal system from which the energies come.”
  • “Chakra VI: Ajna, the lotus of ‘Command,’ located between the eyebrows, is what we would call the chakra of heaven, the highest chakra in the world of incarnate forms.”
  • “When the Kundalini has reached this point, one beholds god. Any god you have been taught to revere is the god that will be seen here.”
  • “If you’re going to hang onto your soul, you can’t become one with god. You can’t even become one with your spouse.”
  • “The ultimate thing is going past gods. Meister Eckhart said, ‘the ultimate leave-taking is the leaving of god for god.’ That means leaving the folk idea of god – the ecclesiastical idea of god, what you’ve been taught of god – for that transcendent reference of which god is the metaphor.”
  • “Chakra VII: Saharara, ‘Thousand Petalled,’ is the lotus at the crown of the head. At this chakra there is no person to be conscious of god. There is only undifferentiated consciousness: the silence.”
  • “‘The best things cannot be told.’ That is to say, you can’t talk about that which lies beyond the reach of words.”
  • “The second best are misunderstood, because they are your statements about that which cannot be told.”
  • “The third best is conversation, political life, economics, and all that.”
  • “The field of time is the field of sorrow. ‘All life is sorrowful.’ And it is. If you try to correct sorrows, all you do is shift them somewhere else. Life is sorrowful. How do you live with that? You realize the eternal within yourself.”
  • “You – and here’s the beautiful formula – ‘participate with joy in the sorrows of the world.’”
  • “‘OM…OM…OM…’ OM is the sound nature makes when its pleased with itself.”
  • “AUM is the sound of the radiance of god. This is the most mysterious and important thing to understand, but once you get the idea, it’s very simple.”
  • “The secret of dreams is that subject and object are the same.”
  • “Ego-consciousness has to learn about the unconscious, and dreams are the vocabulary of the unconscious speaking to the conscious mind. Yet, in dreams and in visions, subject and object are the same.”
  • “Dream, vision, god – god is a luminous vision. The image of god is equivalent to the dream vision. So, your god is an aspect of yourself, just as your dream image is.”
  • “Your god is a manifestation of your own level of consciousness. All of the heavens and all of the hells are within you.”
  • “Since all of our words relate either to waking or visions of dream – there are no words for this experience. All that can be said about it is silence.”
  • “The best things can’t be told – there are no words for this realization. And when you utter words in order to refer the mind to it, the danger is that the words will trap you and you won’t go through.”
  • “The secret to having a spiritual life as you move in the world is to hear the AUM is all things all the time.”
  • “As soon as anything is an It, you have duality. I-Thou is not a duality. It is a nondual realization.”
  • “There’s an implicit tendency in consciousness to differentiation and movement, and it strikes me that perhaps the energy we see is consciousness.”
  • “I think there are three states of being. One is the innocent expression of nature. Another is when you pause, analyze, think about it. When you do, Nature is not just living; and while you are analyzing. Your nature isn’t pushing you. Then, having analyzed, there comes a state in which you’re able to live as Nature again, but with more competence, more control, more flexibility.”
  • Carl Jung, in his analysis of the structure of the psyche, has distinguished four psychological functions that link us to the outer world. These are sensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition. Sensation, he states, is the function that tells us something exists; thinking, the function that tells us what it is; feeling, the function that evaluates its worth to us; and intuition, the function that enables us to estimate the possibilities inherent in the object or its situation.”
  • “Each of us has individual capacities. The real trick is knowing the machinery of the boat in which you are crossing the channel.”
  • “When people think that they, or their guru, have The Truth – ‘This is it!’ – they are what Nietzsche calls ‘epileptics of the concept’: people who have gotten an idea that’s driven them crazy.”
  • “A human being in action cannot represent perfection. You always represent one side of a duality that it itself perfection. The moment you take action, you are imperfect: you have decided to act that way instead of that other way. That’s why people who think they are perfect are so ridiculous. They’re in a bad position with respect to themselves.”
  • “decide to be imperfect, reconcile yourself to that, and go ahead. That’s ‘joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.’”
  • “It’s strange: the less there is of you, the more you experience the sublime.”
  • “The aim of art is perfection in the object.”
  • “virtue in the sense of excellence, not in the sense of good-versus-evil.”
  • “[Nietzsche] distinguishes between what he calls ‘slave morality’ – obeying a rule, doing what you’re told, being good and not bad – and ‘master morality’ which is equivalent to the Greek idea of virtue, and the Renaissance idea of virtue, and has to do with the kind of excellence achieved by one who is competent in something.”
  • “That’s a very important shift in accent. There is something exhilarating about the idea of sheer excellence and aggressive performance: ‘I get in there and do it!’ in contrast to ‘Everything’s okay, and I submit.”
  • “When threatened by fear and desire, let ego go.”
  • “The Buddhist interpretation of this whole thing is one of psychological transformation. The Christian interpretation is one of debt and payment.”
  • “In Buddhism we are lost in the world of fear and desire, the field of maya, illusion. This is, in Christian iconography, the Fall. Redemption is losing those fears and having the experience of eternal life.”
  • “The central demand is to surrender our exclusivity: everything that defines us as against each other.”
  • “Instead of clearing his own heart the zealot tries to clear the world.”
  • “If you fix on yourself and your tradition, believing you alone have got ‘It,’ you’ve removed yourself from the rest of mankind.”
  • “Most of the world’s societies are being ruled by post-biblical traditions, in which anybody who is anything else is out.”
  • “In Buddhism the goal of life is the repose of the nirvanic experience of life: ‘joyful participation in the sorrows of the world,’ and soon. In a credo religion, the goal of life tends to get formulated.”
  • “In most mythologies, the images of mercy and grace are rendered as vividly as those of justice and wealth, so that a balance is maintained, and the heart is buoyed rather than scourged along the way.”
  • “Hell is the concretization of your life experiences, a place where you’re stuck, the wasteland. In hell, you are so bound to yourself that grace cannot enter.”
  • “You really do not have a sacred place, a rescue land, until you can find some little field of action, or place to be, where it’s not a wasteland, where there is a little spring of ambrosia. It’s a joy that comes from inside. It is not something that puts the joy in you, but a place that lets you so experience your own will, your own intention, and your own wish that, in small, the joy is there.”
  • “Find a place where there’s joy, And the joy will burn out the pain.”
  • “Don’t think of what’s being said, but of what’s talking. Malice? Ignorance? Pride? Love?  The goal of the hero’s journey Is yourself, finding yourself.”
  • “everything in your life that seems to be obstructive can be transformed by your recognizing that it is the means for your transition.”
  • “What is the obstruction in your life, and how do you transform it into the radiance? Ask yourself, ‘What is the main obstruction to my path?’”
  • “All anyone is really trying to do is have an expansion of consciousness, so that knowing, and loving are on greater and greater horizons.”
  • “The goal of the journey is to discover yourself as consciousness.”
  • “You become mature when you become the authority for your own life.”
  • “The god you worship is the god you deserve,”
  • “All the gods of the world are metaphors, not powers.”
  • “All imagining of god, if the word is going to mean anything besides ‘this is what mother taught me,’ is supposed to refer to that which transcends all knowledge, all naming, all forming; and, consequently, the word has to point past itself.”
  • “you cannot judge your destiny in terms of something that was done to you by somebody.”
  • “if you want to see god in the world, recognize it in mankind.”
  • “it is actually the work if man that is projected in the image of an imagined being called god. And so, historically, the god image is really a mirror image of the condition of man at a given time.”
  • “a mystery that is beyond subject, object, and all pairs of opposites is the mystery of the ground of which we ride.”
  • “Know it’s there, and then don’t worry about it. Simply behold the radiance everywhere.”
  • “The idea that we will have a divine visitation by some friendly forms, benign forces from other planets who will come to our aid and save us, is a clear reflection of the outmoded understanding of the universe.”
  • “The kingdom of god is within us, but we have this idea that the gods act from ‘out there.’”
  • “If you want resurrection, you must have crucifixion.”
  • “crucifixion is not a calamity if it leads to a new life. Though Christs crucifixion we were unshelled, which enabled us to be born to resurrection.”
  • “the cross has dual sense: one, of our going to the divine; the other, of the coming of the divine to us. It is a true crossing.”
  • “Christ did not think that godhood was something to be held to – which is to say, neither should you – but rather, yielding, he took the form of a servant even to death on the cross. This is joyful affirmation of the sufferings of the world. The imitation of Christ, then, is participating in the suffering and joys of the world, all the while seeing through them the radiance of the divine presence.”
  • “The hero’s death and resurrection is a model for the casting off of the old life and moving into the new.”
  • “The kingdom of god is within us. Easter and Passover remind us that we have to let go in order to enter it.”
  • “The reality of living in space means that we are born anew; not born again to an old-time religion but born to a new order of things: there are no horizons. That is the meaning of the space age. We are in a free fall into a future that is mysterious.”
  • “Self-preservation is only the second law of life. The first law is that you and the other are one.”
  • “if you learn to read the symbols as metaphors instead of accepting them as the facts they’re purported to be – if you know, in other words, why you are out, then it can be a source of great strength.”
  • “A sacred place is any space that is set apart from the usual context of life. In the secular context, one is concerned with pairs of opposites: cause and effect, gain and loss, and so on. Sacred space has no function in the way of earning a living or a reputation.”
  • In your sacred space, things are working in terms of your dynamic – and nobody else’s.”
  • “What did you do as a child that created timelessness, that made you forget time? There lies the myth to live by.”
  • “As an adult, you must rediscover the moving power of your life. Tension, a lack of honesty, and a sense of unreality come from following the wrong force in your life.”
  • “Work begins when you don’t like what you’re doing.”
  • “Sacred space is a space that is transparent to transcendence, and everything within such a space furnishes a base for meditation.”
  • “‘Since all is Brahman, all is the divine radiance, how can we say ‘no’ to ignorance or brutality or anything?’ His answer was: ‘For you and me, we say ‘yes.’’”
  • “where are you between two thoughts? Do you ever have a glimpse beyond your thinking of that which transcends anything you can think about yourself? That’s the source field out of which all of your energies are coming.”
  • “an image of the Buddha is not a graven image to be understood concretely. It is a meditation tool, something to be seen through. It is a support for meditation on the Buddhahood within you, not a depiction of any actual Buddha ‘out there.’”
  • “The entire heavenly realm is within us, but to find it we have to relate to what’s outside.”
  • “The Buddha image, then, isn’t a picture of the Buddha. It is a tool to help you meditate on the Buddhahood within yourself.”
  • “If you are to advance all fixed ideas must go.”
  • “The word nirvana means ‘blown out,’ the breath Jainism, another Indian philosophy, nirvana is thought of as death. But in Indian there is reincarnation, so you cannot truly die until you have achieved release from life.”
  • “The Buddha is the one who stresses the psychological aspect of this ‘dying.’ You can stay alive, in action, but be disengaged from desire for, and fear of, the fruits of your actions. This psychological disengagement of your passions from the events of your life is ”
  • “We can’t rid the world of sorrow, but we can choose to live in joy.”
  • “The rational mind stresses opposites.”
  • “When you are desiring things and fearing things, that’s mortality. The three temptations of the Buddha – desire, fear, and duty – are what hold you in this field.”
  • “Anything you do has a still point. When you are in that still point, you can perform maximally.”
  • “Everything temporal is but a symbol.”
  • “In Buddhism, those who attain nirvana are said to have ‘achieved the yonder shore’; that is to say, they have crossed the river from the normal experience of life to the yonder shore of nirvana, beyond all pairs of opposites, beyond twoness.”
  • “The real self is that transcendent life and Buddha consciousness of which we are all just visionary moments.”
  • “The Tantric saying ‘to worship a god, you must become a god’ means you must find in yourself the level of consciousness and love that the deity epitomizes and symbolizes. When you do, you are worshiping that deity.”
  • What is the kingdom? It lies in our realization of the ubiquity of the divine presence in our neighbors, in our enemies, in all of us.”
  • ‘Get away from your rational system and get into the wonderful experience that is moving through all things all the time.’
  • “Any work whatsoever can be a meditation if you have the sense that everything is Brahman: the process, the doing, the thing that is being looked at, the one thing that is looking – everything.”
  • “Desire for mortal gains and fear of loss hold you back from giving yourself to life.”
  • “Good and evil are not absolute. They are relative to which side you are on.”
  • “The limitation comes where your judgement comes.”
  • “Life will always be sorrowful. We can’t change it, but we can change our attitude toward it.”
  • “Freud speaks of the ego as ‘the reality principle,’ that which puts you in touch with ‘reality,’ reality with a small ‘r’: meaning, the individual circumstances of your life and your relationship to those circumstances. And in our culture, the ego, the evaluating principle, is developed.”
  • “In Freudian psychology, the pleasure principle, the ‘id,’ the zeal of life for holding onto food, comfort, sex, and life itself – the context I call ‘health, wealth, and progeny’ – is what most people live for. Against the id, Freud posits the ‘superego,’ the social laws that discipline the individual, so that one does, not what one wants, but what society says one should do.”
  • “You can live from that center, even while you remain in relation to the world.”
  • “Wisdom and foolishness are practically the same. Both are indifferent to the opinions of the world.”
  • “Women, in the picture language of mythology, represents the totality of what can be known. The hero is the one who comes to know.”
  • “The woman brings forth life in one way or another, either biologically or socially, and then, in the latter stage, is life-fostering and life-guiding. The man is more inward than the woman in that last stage.”
  • “if a woman engages in the man’s task of entering the field of achievement, then her mythology will be essentially the same as that of the male hero.”
  • “whether one is male or female, the stages of the inner journey, the visionary quest, are the same.”
  • “the objective is to have your own adventure, not a substitute, and it is not by any means an easy thing to do.”
  • “Where male power dominates you have separation. Where female power dominates

Living in the Sacred

  • “The goal of life is rapture.  Art is the way we experience it.”
  • “By ‘proper art’ he means that which really belongs to art. ‘Improper art,’ by contrast, it’s art that’s in the service of something that is not art”
  • “proper art is static, and thereby induces esthetic arrest, whereas improper art is kinetic, filled with movement: meaning, it moves you to desire or to fear and loathing.”
  • “Art that excites desire for the object as a tangible object he calls pornographic. Art that excites loathing or fear for the object he terms didactic.”
  • “the esthetic object renders three moments: integritas, ‘wholeness’; consonantia, ‘harmony’; and claritas, ‘radiance.’”
  • “Synergy is the behavior of whole systems, unpredicted by the behavior of their parts.”
  • “Synergy is to energy as integration is to differentiation.”
  • “Art is a harmony parallel to nature.’ There are, of course, two natures involved: Nature, the world out there, and the world of nature within.”
  • “So, it is the function of art to open the consumable things of the tangible, visible world, so that the radiance – the same radiance that’s within you – shines through them.”
  • “And the two kinetic movements that block this harmonious rhythm are exactly the two temptations of the Buddha: desire, which draws you to possess the object, and loathing or fear, which turns you away from it. When you move to possess or to turn away from an object, you are reacting to the world of delusory appeals and terrors that Maya has projected.”
  • “If you’re concerned with prospering or failing with the object, eating or not eating it, your perspective involves desire and loathing, the temptations of the Buddha, the projecting power of Maya.”
  • “It is your mental attitude that determines whether you experience the projecting or the revealing power. The world is there in both modes. It is not that the world changes, it’s your consciousness.
  • Esthetic arrest is the result of this change of focus. ‘The kingdom of the father is spread upon the earth and men do not see it.’ You see it in esthetic arrest. But to develop the inward depth experienced through this change of focus, those who seek to achieve fully the goal of life should set aside a sacred place.”
  • “The bondages from which the Buddha disengaged – desire, fear, and social duty – are temporal matters. You can engage in them voluntarily, but compulsive engagement is linked to Maya.”
  • “Even in the practical arts, the principle of perfection in work is a basic expectation.”
  • “An artist is someone who has completed an artwork, not a person who merely intended to.”
  • “In action, it makes a difference whether all you are trying to do is to act or whether you are trying to act competently.”
  • “Whatever choice you make, there is a period of learning and analyzing.”
  • “There is an old standard about the arts: ‘you need to learn all the rules and then forget them.’”
  • “In writing a book, you are moving along on the wave of your inspiration and intuition, and then you come to a difficult passage, an area you have to cover in order to get from here to there, and your momentum stops. That’s when you have to bring in the rules.”
  • “In athletics, after you practice and practice, there is a lot you can then do spontaneously. But as certain points, you have to act according to rules for moving the body that are not yet spontaneous for you.”
  • “If you are going to act on the basis of what you know, you cannot just hold onto your knowledge. You have to translate it into a movement.”
  • “Although analysis facilitates competent action, your spontaneity of action is inhibited when you are constantly thinking of rules.”
  • “Art is the set of wings to carry you out of your own entanglement.”
  • “’…art as ornament’ and ‘art as imitation’”
  • “The prime example of art as ornament is architecture, where a structure is timeless once it is achieved: there it sits. The opposite, art as imitation, would be the dance: if you do not see a particular performance, you’ll never see that dance again.”
  • “The total difference in implication between dancing for an audience and dancing for god. When you are alone and in your own place, you are dancing for the god and identifying with it.”
  • “Tantra: to worship a god, you must become that god. No matter what you call the god or think it is, the god you worship is the one you are capable of becoming.”
  • “if you say, ‘I am going to do what I want to do’ and if you stay with it, then something will happen. You may not have a job, but you will be having a life, and it will be interesting.”
  • “In the wheel of fortune wisdom points to the center.  Youth points to the rim.”
  • “Don’t accept anything that piles more on you than what you must do to earn your base income, because you are developing, not in your job, but in your artistic work.”
  • “to keep up with your responsibilities and your fitness and still nurture your creative aspect, you must put a hermetically sealed retort, so that there is no intrusion, around a certain number of hours each day – however many you can honestly afford – and that time must be inviolate.”
  • “It’s like doing your exercises: you set aside a time when you’re going to exercise, and that is a holy time.”
  • “your work – that is, your art – and your job must not contaminate each other.”
  • “When writing, don’t criticize the words coming out.  Just let them come.  Let go of the critical factor.”
  • “Do not think about the negative side. There will be negatives that are going to come down, but you have to hold the door open if you are going to do anything that has not been done before. You have to suspend all criticism to do your work.”
  • “The two things, then, that I’d say are necessary for breaking through what’s called writer’s block are, first, to have a person to whom you are addressing yourself and, second, to set aside a couple of hours a day when, as it were, you’re writing letters of love to that person.”
  • “You have to be reckless when writing.  Be as crazy as your conscience allows.”
  • “Remember, the Buddhas third temptation was dharma, duty, doing what people expect you to do. That’s the censorship fear.”
  • “Fame is of no importance.’ The light of fame comes past, and one may be in it for three minutes, for thirty minutes, or never at all. But fame is not what the artist is working for. It’s the commercial artist who says, ‘Whatever they want, I am going to give it to them.’ The real artist gives expression to a gift that has come to him, and the susception of the gift implies, ‘I have to put it out.’”
  • “Imperfection is life. All forms in life are imperfect, but the function of art is to see the radiance through the imperfection.”
  • “…but there is a difference between art that intends esthetic arrest and art that intends psychic transformation. You could say the latter is not proper art. It is a religious device.”
  • “Schiller, a sensitive and intelligent student of psychology in relation to art, distinguished two types of artists: one, he called the ‘sentimental’ artist; the other, the ‘naïve’ artist.”
  • “He was the sentimental artist: the one without great means, who did not pay proper attention to his health, for whom art was his life, not the other way around. Everything went into his art. Goethe, on the other hand, was the naïve artist: a man of ample life, an important person in local politics, a person for whom are was but one aspect of his life.”
  • “The divine manifestation is ubiquitous, only our eyes are not open to it.”
  • “Awe is what moves us forward.”
  • “To worship a god, you must become a god.’ That is to say, you must hit that level of consciousness within yourself that is equivalent to the deity to whom you are addressing your attention.”
  • “It seems to me you cannot have the notion of a god without having implicit the notion of a trinity: a god, the knower of the god, and the relationship between the two, a progressive knowing that brings you closer and closer to the divine,”
  • “Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.”
  • “Those who think – and their name is legion – that they know how the universe could have been better than it is, how it would have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without life, are unfit for illumination. Or those who think – as do many – ‘Let me first correct society, then get around to myself’ are barred from even the outer gate of the mansion of gods peace. All societies are evil, sorrowful, inequitable; and so, they will always be. So, if you really want to help this world, what you will have to teach is how to live in it.”
  • “The goal is to live with godlike composure on the full rush of energy like Dionysus riding the leopard, without being torn to pieces.”
  • “As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm. Jump.  It is not as wide as you think.”