Tag Archives: Life Lessons

What is empathy? // Roman Krznaric

“….empathy is the art of stepping imaginatively into the shoes of another person, understanding their feelings and perspectives, and using that understanding to guide your actions. So empathy is distinct from expressions of sympathy — such as pity or feeling sorry for somebody — as these do not involve trying to understand the other person’s… Read More »

What is “Freedom”? // Matthieu Ricard

“To be free is to be master of oneself. For many people, such mastery involves freedom of action, movement and opinion, the opportunity to achieve the goals they have set themselves. This conviction locates freedom primarily outside oneself and overlooks the tyranny of thoughts. Indeed, it is a commonplace….that freedom means being able to do… Read More »

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” // Mary Oliver

“Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is… Read More »

“Why do you shiver because of last year’s snow storm?” // Swami Sarvagatananda

“Why do you shiver because of last year’s snow storm? Last year you were driving on the highway, there as a big snowstorm and the car was covered with snow, you couldn’t get out, you were locked in, shivering. That was last year, now you remember it and you shiver now — why do you… Read More »

“Money only appeals to selfishness and irresistibly invites abuse.” // Albert Einstein

“I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in this cause. The example of great and pure individuals is the only thing that can lead us to noble thoughts and deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and irresistibly invites abuse.… Read More »

“….we need to get rid of the illusion of believing that we have “our whole life ahead of us.” // Matthieu Ricard

“Every moment of our lives has tremendous value. Yet we let the time go by, like gold dust running through our fingers. What is sadder than coming to the end of one’s life empty-handed? We need to be aware that every second of our life is inestimably precious and have the intelligence to decide to… Read More »

“An opinion as to what truth is, is not truth….” // J Krishnamurti

“Can you understand anything if you have already made up your mind about it, or if you repeat the conclusions of another? To find the truth of this matter, must we not come to it afresh, with a mind that is not clouded by prejudice? Which is more important, to be free from conclusions, prejudices,… Read More »

“….the art of obtaining freedom….” // Huston Smith on Aldous Huxley

  “Not needing triumph, adulation, or disciples, he could bypass them for truth….”It’s rather embarassing,” he said, “to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and to find that one has little more to offer by way of advice than, Try to be a little kinder.” If, as he had earlier observed,… Read More »

“….every atom of hatred added to the world makes it an even more inhospitable place….” // Etty Hillesum

“I know that those who hate have good reason to do so. But why should we always have to choose the cheapest and easiest way? It has been brought home forcibly to me here how every atom of hatred added to the world makes it an even more inhospitable place…. I see no other solution.… Read More »

“The heart of dialogue is a simple but profound capacity to listen.” // William Isaacs

“Everywhere we look, myopic vision, petty misunderstandings, and small deceits escalate into gross, wasteful calamities that seem like they could be avoided if only people talk to each other  with a different kind of conversational presence…. The heart of dialogue is a simple but profound capacity to listen. Listening requires we not only hear the… Read More »

The first tenet of Non-Violent Communication // Marshall B. Rosenberg

“I can handle your telling me what I did or didn’t do. And I can handle your interpretations, but please don’t mix the two.   If you want to confuse any  issue, I can tell you how to do it: Mix together what I do with how you react to it.   Tell me that… Read More »

“For the most part, we see our conversations as….arenas to win points.” // William Isaacs

“Another word for ‘not thinking’ is “memory.” Human beings live out of their memories, insulated from direct experience. Memory is like a tape recording; it plays back a once-experienced reality that may or may not apply well to the current situation. Like a tape, memory is limited. The parameters of its responses are already set.… Read More »

“The hero’s journey always begins with the call.” // Joseph Campbell

“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 been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you here.” And… Read More »

The Buddha’s realisation & Teaching // Yuval Noah Harari

“….he came to the realization that suffering is not caused by ill-fortune, by social injustice, or by divine whims. Rather, suffering is caused by the behaviour patterns of one’s own mind. Gautam’s insight was that no matter when the mind experiences, it usually reacts with craving, and craving always involves dissatisfaction. When the mind experiences… Read More »

“There is nothing more beautiful than goodness….” // Somerset Maugham

“There is nothing more beautiful than goodness, and it has pleased me very often to show how much of it there is in persons who by common standards would be relentlessly condemned. I have shown it because I have seen it. It has seemed to me sometimes to shine more brightly in them because it… Read More »

“….the goal of life is a deep state of well-being and wisdom at all moments….” // Matthieu Ricard

“Living on a pendulum between hope and doubt, excitement and boredom, desire and weariness, it’s easy to fritter away our lives, bit by bit, without even noticing, running all over the place and getting nowhere. Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things…. ….the goal of life… Read More »

“Complex bullshit is full of feats of abstract reasoning that would astonish a medieval theologian….” // Laura Penny

“Complex bullshit is also known as bafflegab or jargon, and it is the native argot of modern bureaucracy…. Complex bullshit is full of feats of abstract reasoning that would astonish a medieval theologian….Even business types have become alarmed by their own flights of jargoneering. In 2003, Deloitte & Touche released a new software program called… Read More »

The message of Buddha // Juan Mascaro

“Buddha avoided metaphysical questions. He might have answered them in the words of Jesus: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’…. It is said that once a man of arms undertook a long journey to see a holy follower of Buddha, and asked… Read More »

“We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our attitude towards them…” // Alain de Botton

“The wise will learn to identify what is necessary and follow it at once, rather than exhaust themselves in protest. When a wise man is told that his suitcase has been lost in transit, he will resign himself in seconds to the fact….. It may sound like a recipe to passivity and quietude…. But Seneca’s… Read More »

“….our first duty ought to be to look into our own souls should and find whether we really want it.” // Swami Vivekananda

“Many times in our life, somebody dies whom we loved; we receive a blow; for a moment we think that this world is slipping between our fingers, and that we want something higher, and that we are going to be religious. In a few days that wave passes away, and we are left stranded where… Read More »

“….love and caring are marbled even into the worst life has to offer.” // Anne Lamott

“Mercy, grace, forgiveness, and compassion are synonyms, and the approaches we might consider taking when facing a great big mess, especially the great big mess of ourselves — our arrogance, greed, poverty, disease, prejudice. It includes everything out there that just makes us want to turn away, the idea of accepting life as it presents… Read More »

“I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world — present and in awe.” // Anne Lamott

“Let’s think of reverence as awe, as presence in and openness to the world. The alternative is that we stultify, we shut down. Think of those times when you’ve read prose or poetry that is presented in such a way that you have a fleeting sense of being startled(italics) by beauty or insight, by a… Read More »

“….the notion of God can also be used to prop up and inflate the ego….” // Karen Armstrong

“….the notion of God can also be used to prop up and inflate the ego….If we imagine God to be a being like ourselves writ large, with likes and dislikes similar to our own, it is all too easy to make ‘him’ endorse some of our most uncharitable, selfish and even lethal hopes, fears and… Read More »

“Except in pure mathematics, nothing is known for certain….” // Carl Sagan

“The scientific way of thinking is at once imaginative and disciplined. This is central to to its success. Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which best fit the facts. It urges on us… Read More »

“….”when you’re young, everybody knows they’re going to die and nobody believes it….” // Morrie Schwartz

“When you arrive at the point I’m at, you appreciate the start truth of the Buddhist statement that “when you’re young, everybody knows they’re going to die and nobody believes it.” When you’re facing death, you believe it. We’re all on the same ship, and it’s going to sink sooner or later. One hundred and… Read More »

“….the countless advantages of modern life have done so little to life our collective mood.” // Oliver Burkeman

“For a civilisation so fixated on achieving happiness, we seem remarkably incompetent at the task. One of the best-known general findings of the ‘science of happiness’ has been the discovery that the countless advantages of modern life have done so little to life our collective mood. The awkward truth seems to be that increased economic… Read More »

The Universe of Possibility // Rosamund & Benjamin Zander

“On the whole, resources are likely to come to you in greater abundance when you are generous and inclusive and engage people in your passion for life. There aren’t any guarantees, of course. When you are oriented to abundance, you care less about being in control, and you take more risks. You may give away… Read More »

Seeds of Anger and Compassion in us // Thich Nhat Hanh

“Every one of us has a seed of anger. Every one of us has a seed of compassion. We have all kinds of seeds in our store of consciousness. To practice meditation is to practice mindful watering of the seeds in us. We don’t want the negative seeds to manifest often because every time a… Read More »

The Buddha on Love// Juan Mascaro

“This is how the Buddha speaks of love in the Majjhima Nikaya: Buddha spoke thus once to his disciples: The words of men to you can be of five kinds: at the right time or at the wrong time, true or false, gentler or bitter, profitable or unprofitable, kindly or resentful. If men speak evil… Read More »

“The life of wisdom begins with….practice.” // Epictetus

“The life of wisdom begins with learning how to put principles , such as “We ought not to lie,” into practice. The second step is to demonstrate the truth of the principles, such as why it is we ought not to lie. The third step, which connects the first two, is to indicate why the… Read More »

“The Buddha was never melancholy or gloomy.” // Walpola Rahula

“The Buddha was never melancholy or gloomy. He was described by his contemporaries as ‘ever-smiling’ (militia-pubbamgama). In Buddhist painting and sculpture the Buddha is always represented with a countenance happy, serene, contented and compassionate. Never a trace of suffering or agony or pain is to be seen…. Although there is suffering in life, a Buddhist… Read More »

“….self-help books….rarely much help…. // Oliver Burkeman

“For a civilisation so fixated on achieving happiness, we seem remarkably incompetent at the task. One of the best-known general findings of the ‘science of happiness’ has been the discovery that the countless advantages of modern life have done so little to life our collective mood. The awkward truth seems to be that increased economic… Read More »

“Viewed superficially, love and attachment look alarmingly similar….” // Swami Tyagananda

“Viewed superficially, love and attachment look alarmingly similar. When we look deeply, however, their differences become obvious. The first thing we notice is that a person in the grip of attachment is primarily attached to “I”, his or her pampered self, whereas one who is truly in love seldom thinks of the “I” — it’s… Read More »

“….the best among us….do not occupy that perch because they were born with some innate talent….” // Anders Ericsson

“In my introduction to this book I spoke of how deliberate practice can revolutionize our thinking about human potential. I do not see this an exaggeration or overstatement. That revolution starts when we realize that the best among us in various areas do not occupy that perch because they were born with some innate talent… Read More »

“Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence….” // Carol S. Dweck

“Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence — like a gift — by praising their brains and talent. It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect. It makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard or anything goes wrong. If parents want to give their children a gift, the best… Read More »

“A widely held myth suggests that creative geniuses rarely fail.” // Tom Kelley & David Kelley

“A widely held myth suggests that creative geniuses rarely fail. Yet according to Professor Dean Keith Simonton of the University of California, Davis, the opposite is actually true: creative geniuses, from artists like Mozart to scientists like Darwin, are quite prolific when it comes to failure — they just don’t let that stop them. His… Read More »

“….think of life as a prototype.” // Tim Brown

“….think of life as a prototype. We can conduct experiments, make discoveries, and change our perspectives…..We can learn how to take joy in the things we create whether they take the form of fleeting experience or an heirloom that will last for generations. We can learn that reward comes in creation and re-creation, not just… Read More »

“Square astronaut, round hole.” // Chris Hadfield

“The windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles. Every 92 minutes, another sunrise; a layer cake that starts with orange, then a thick wedge of blue, then the richest, darkest icing decorated with stars. The secret patterns of our planet are revealed…. Floating in the airlock before my first spacewalk, I knew I was on… Read More »

“”Love” is a beautiful word, and we have to restore its meaning.” // Thich Nhat Hanh

“”Love” is a beautiful word, and we have to restore its meaning. When we say, “I love hamburgers,” we spoil the word. We have to make the effort to heal words by using them properly and carefully. True love includes a sense of responsibility and accepting the other person as she is, with all her… Read More »

“…the pursuit of money can, at best, mitigate the frustrations in your career….” // Clayton M. Christensen

“…..the pursuit of money can, at best, mitigate the frustrations in your career — yet the siren song of riches has confused and confounded some of the best in our society. In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able… Read More »

“..we must give up, at least temporarily, our attachment to our desired goal.” // Thomas M Sterner

“When you focus on the process, the desired product takes care of itself with fluid ease. When you focus on the product, you immediately begin to fight yourself and experience boredom, restlessness, frustration, and impatience with the process. The reason for this is not hard to understand. When you focus your mind on the present… Read More »

“Love is the only rational act.” // Stephen Levine

“We all know that we’re dying…day by day we’re getting closer to our death. The best way to deal with that is to live in a fully conscious, compassionate, loving way. Many people close to dying have said that same thing, and I think there is a lot of truth in it. Don’t wait until… Read More »