Sometimes just one sentence can light us up and reveal whole neural patterns of insight that we never knew we knew – a combination of words and the rhythm they’re written with or spoken with, can make our heart sing with inspiration.

So I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite quotes regarding meditation which have lit me up, some of which I have taken into silent retreats and pinned to the walls of little huts in this temple or that, simply to remind me of important universal truths as I worked.

I hope you find something here that inspires you as well:

“Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss, or tranquility, nor is it attempting to be a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes.” – Chogyam Trungpa

“The breath is the intersection of the body and mind.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“It is often thought that the Buddha’s doctrine teaches us that suffering will disappear if one has meditated long enough, or if one sees everything differently. It is not that at all. Suffering isn’t going to go away; the one who suffers is going to go away.”

“If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial.

If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked.

If you want to become full, let yourself be empty.” – Lao-Tzu

“As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.” – Buddha

“In a certain sense, Zen is feeling life instead of feeling something about life.” – Alan Watts

“Do not fear the arising of thoughts—only be concerned lest your awareness of them be tardy.” – Unknown

“The mind precedes all things, the mind dominates all things, the mind creates all things.” – Buddha

“I have no parents; I make the heaven and earth my mother and father.

I have no home; I make awareness my dwelling.

I have no life and death; I make the tides of breathing my life and death.

I have no divine power; I make honesty my divine power.

I have no means; I make understanding my means.

I have no magic secrets; I make character my magic secret.

I have no body; I make endurance my body.

I have no eyes; I make the flash of lightning my eyes.

I have no ears; I make sensibility my ears.

I have no limbs; I make promptness my limbs.

I have no strategy; I make “unshadowed by thought” my strategy

I have no designs; I make “seizing opportunity by the forelock” my design.

I have no miracles; I make right action my miracle.

I have no principles; I make adaptability to all circumstances my principles.

I have no tactics; I make emptiness and fullness my tactics.

I have no talents; I make ready wit my talent.

I have no friends; I make my mind my friend.

I have no enemy; I make carelessness my enemy.

I have no armor; I make benevolence and righteousness my armor.

I have no castle; I make immovable mind my castle.

I have no sword; I make absence of self my sword.”

               – ‘The Creed of a Samurai’, written around 1300 by an unnamed author

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