Inspirational Sayings

Throughout recorded history people have sought wisdom to help promote healthy functioning and adaptation to the challenges of life. The sayings that follow are from many different sources across numerous cultures.  When known, I have indicated the author. Feel free to peruse these sayings and take from them what is useful to you. If you would like to contribute more sayings please email them to me at drz@jzphd.com and I will consider adding them to this collection.

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Do not disregard your life. It is too precious. This moment, right now, is the only life you will ever have. You cannot store it up to enjoy at the ideal time. – J. P. Phelan

When you forgive, you in no way change the past, but you sure do change the future. – Bernard Meltzer

Don’t be afraid to cry. It will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts. – Don Talayesva

“There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” -Henry Kissinger

“I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.” – Jennifer Yane

The greatest weapon of any Spiritual Warrior is love. Love will change minds; love will forgive; love will let go; love will cause good luck; love will heal; love will cry; love will get rid of resentments; love will overcome fear. Love loves love…Respect loves love. We need to love and respect ourselves. – www.whitebison.org

Part of growing up is forgiving our parents’ humanity. This is a step which then allows us to forgive our own. – Jeff Zimmerman

The first factor in the revolution of consciousness is the mystic death of the ego – the death of negative thinking, negative personalities. We must purify the soul of the inner enemies. Every time a defect manifests – envy, gluttony, anger, lust, whatever – that impulse to the heart. Ask, `Do I really need to invoke this?’ And then honor the heart. – Willaru Huayta

Be still and know. All new learnings, all ideas about new things, creativity, daydreaming and mental effectiveness come to those who learn about silence. All warriors know about the power of silence. All Elders know about stillness. Be still and know God. Meditation is about the place of silence. This is the place to hear God’s voice. We can find tremendous amounts of knowledge in the place of silence. This is the sacred place of God.   – Whitebison.org

We are all equally special. We need to focus on what is right for ourselves. As we focus on what is right for ourselves, we will start to see our special gifts. Then we can see how to share our special gifts with others. If we focus on what’s wrong with ourselves, we will not be able to see our gifts. Then we will think we have nothing to give others and we become selfish and withdrawn. The more we focus on our good, the more we see the good in others.  – Whitebison.org

A smile is a light in the window of the soul indicating that the heart is at home. – Anonymous

And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in
your years. – Abraham Lincoln

Look not to the faults of others, nor to their omissions and commissions.
But rather look to your own acts, to what you have done and left undone. – Dhammapada 4.50

In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving
for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. – Buddha

Be willing to commit yourself to a course, perhaps a long and hard one, without being able to foresee exactly where you will come out.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The capacity to be either happy or unhappy is determined by the manner in which you react to whatever happens.  – Norman Vincent Peale

For an impenetrable shield, stand inside yourself.  – Henry David Thoreau

When one door closes another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened.  – Alexander Graham Bell

Where we stand is not as important as the direction in which we are moving.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.  – Pearl Buck

The winds of grace (change) are always blowing, but to catch them we have to raise our sails.

In direct action and plain speaking there is little room for deceit to hide.

It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.  – Wendell Berry

Dying without actually fully living, without waking up to our lives while we have the chance, is an ongoing and significant risk. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. – R.D. Laing

…changing conditions are not mistakes…it’s just what happens. – Joseph Goldstein

Until one is committed, there is hesitance, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. – W. H. Murray

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. – Goethe

Freedom is the wisdom to choose wisely. – Joseph Goldstein

To be human is to be lost in the woods. – Elizabeth Lesser

No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. – Einstein

The courage to turn and face what wants to change within me. – Elizabeth Lesser

There is no one alive who has not wanted to go back to sleep. – Elizabeth Lesser

Discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart. – Chogyam Trungpa

Our errors and failings are chinks in the heart’s armor through which our true colors can shine. – Elizabeth Lesser

We’re all seeking…the rapture of being alive. – Joseph Campbell

What wants to live in you may be waiting…at the end of a long loneliness. – Elizabeth Lesser

Each one of us regardless of our situation, is in our search of our most authentic, vital, generous and wise self.  – Elizabeth Lesser

…The freedom to choose one’s attitude. – Victor Frankl

In our sleep, pain, which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will comes wisdom. – Aeschylus

Nothing has a more disturbing influence psychologically on children than the unlived life of the parent. – Carl Jung

Let the beauty we love be what we do. – Rumi

Grief is good…it is a sign of how well we have loved. – E. Lesser

…approach change with an understanding of the process and an openness to the pain. – E. Lesser

Once again, I accept that life is uncertain-that the goal is not to become more certain about anything but to relax more into the mystery of not knowing what will come next. – E. Lesser

We must pay attention to the voice that calls us out of the safety zone. – E. Lesser

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer

Calmness is not non-feeling…it is disentanglement from feelings, a clearness which is not disturbed by circumstance.

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. – Martin Luther King

If in our daily life we can be peaceful, not only we, but everyone will profit from it.  This is the most basic kind of peace work. – Thich Nhat Hanh

To conquer yourself is to know the Way.  – Lau Ma

I stand upon a block of stillness.  It is more secure than any sidewalk.  I bring with me my own sidewalk.  – Jane Roberts.

Look on all things with love and be born again.  Love the sun for it warms the world.  Love the rain for it cleanses the spirit and the world.  Love the light for it shows the way.  Love the darkness for it reveals the stars.  Welcome happiness to enlarge your heart.  Acknowledge rewards for they are your due.  Endure sadness for it opens your soul.  Welcome obstacles because they are your challenges.

The undisturbed mind is like the calm body water reflecting the brilliance of the moon.  Empty the mind and you will realize the undisturbed mind.  – Yagyu Jubei

Peace is a natural innate state of mind waiting for us to come back to it

Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued, is always just beyond our grasp, but which if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you. – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Conflict is an attack on the self

Transform anger and fear into clarity and strength

See with eyes of compassion and act with wisest intention

Wisdom is not knowing, but being

Soft is stronger than hard, water stronger than rocks.

Love stronger than force. – Siddhartha

In letting go of wanting something special to occur, maybe we can realize that something special is already occurring. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

In any given moment we are either practicing mindfulness, or defacto, we are practicing mindlessness. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

It is all within us; we are what we are looking for. – Joseph Goldstein

Just listen

Be peace. – Thich Nhat Hanh

I have enough…and I allow what I already have enough of to flow to me.  – Wayne Dyer

Each moment you are alive is a gem…You re the richest person on Earth, stop being the destitute child…Cherish this very moment. Let go of the stream of distress and embrace life fully in your arms. – Thich Nhat Hanh

The future must not be held hostage by the past.

Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  – MarkTwain

Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. – Buddha.

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.  – James Taylor

…People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment…

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed…They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end…Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn…They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real but only for a season. LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

But if you do not find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go on your way alone, like … a great elephant in the deep forest.

Conflict: Two people hitting each other at the same time. If one stops, then the other doesn’t have to defend. – Rich Lucas

Why do we say how we feel to people we’re in conflict with and don’t trust? – Rich Lucas

It’s progress not perfection. – Rich Lucas

We judge ourselves by our intentions. Others judge us by what we do. – Rich Lucas

We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems. – Margaret Mead

The human spirit is stronger than anything than can happen to it. – George C. Scott

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. – Kahlil Gibran

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. – Thomas Jefferson

I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot… and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the most difficult task in the world, for opening the door to your own life is, in the end, more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe.
– Daisaku Ikeda

If one is estranged from oneself,
then one is estranged from others too.
If one is out of touch with oneself,
then one cannot touch others. – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. – M. Scott Peck

And the day came
when the risk to remain tight in a bud
became more painful
than the risk it took to blossom. – Anais Nin

The most beautiful people we have know are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep, loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand…
– Henri Nouwen

There are two ways of spreading light-
To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton

As far as we can discern,
the sole purpose of human existence
is to kindle a light of meaning
in the darkness of mere being. – Carl Gustav Jung

The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers. – Deepak Chopra

The first problem for all of us, men and women,
is not to learn, but to unlearn. – Gloria Steinem

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat. – Lily Tomlin

We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. – Anais Nin

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson

I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

IV
I walk down another street.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed. – Carl Jung

Don’t worry that your children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. – Robert Fulghum

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. – Buddha

We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak. – Epictetus

All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you  Wayne Dyer

Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts. Develop the mind of equilibrium. You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind: follow the calmness, the absence of pride. – Sutta Nipata

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. Elbert Hubbard

Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. Conrad Hilton

There is no change without discontent

Marriage is in many ways a simplification of life…The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of their solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust…Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky…Life is self-transformation, and human relationships, which are an extract of life, are the most changeable of all, they rise and fall from minute to minute, and lovers are those for whom no moment is like any other. People between whom nothing habitual ever takes place, nothing that has already existed, but just what is new, unexpected, unprecedented. There are such connections…but they can occur only between very rich beings between those who have become, each for his own sake, rich, calm, and concentrated…For the more we are, the richer everything we experience is. – Rainer Maria Rilke

Remember that happiness is a way of travel—not a destination. – Roy Goodman

Be brave enough to live creatively, to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself. – Alan Alda

It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way. – Rollo May

I’m better off to go down trying, ‘cause if I ain’t dreaming you know I’m dying. – Bobby Sweet

Take time to play. It is the secret of perpetual youth.

You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want. – Margaret Young

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. – Leo Buscaglia

Love has its own time, its own season, and its own reasons for coming and going. You cannot bribe it or coerce it or reason it into staying. You can only embrace it when it arrives and give it away when it comes you. – Kent Nerburn

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. – Martin Luther King

Ideals are like the stars. We never reach them but, like the mariners on the sea, we chart our course by them. – Carl Schurz

Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. – Robert F. Kennedy

In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have beun striving for ourselves. -Buddha

When we learn to deal directly with our complaints and difficulties, romanticized ideas about the spiritual path are no longer meaningful. We see that what is important is to take responsibility for ourselves, and to always be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and actions. – Tarthang Tulku

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here.  Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine.  Give bread.  Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit.  Feast on your life. – Derek Walcott

Sometimes we don’t realize that the “failure” is just part of our bigger journey and part of what is needed so we can continue on the path. It does not have more or less meaning than the “success” which is equally the illusion of meeting some arbitrary expectation. – Anonymous

The Elders say that what is important is peace and love. To have material things is okay, but if not, that’s okay too. To have peace and love is more important than anything material. Our children will see the value of peace and love only if adults show they are a priority. Too often we think we can offer material things and they will replace the time spent with our children. But the most important way to give our children peace and love is to spend time with them. – www.whitebison.org

To be intimate is to grow, to learn…[it] is absolutely fulfilling.  – Tessie Maranjo

It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.-Dalai Lama

Each of our thoughts are like individual seeds. These thoughts will plant our life garden. Whatever our thoughts, they grow in our gardens. Each day we will process about 50,000 thoughts or thought seeds. Positive thoughts will produce positive results. Have you ever been aware of what you are thinking about during the day? Of the possible 50,000 thoughts in one day – if the positive thoughts were flowers and the negative thoughts were weeds – how would your garden look at the end of the day? – Whitebison.org

…if you put an irregular shaped object in the center of a circle and you have people standing in a circle around the object, each one will describe it differently. Everyone in the circle will be right. Only by honoring and respecting everyone’s input, can the truth about the object be revealed. We need to learn to honor differences. – Whitebison.org

It is better to believe than to disbelieve; in so doing, you bring everything to the realm of possibility. – Albert Einstein