Introspection and Contemplation

Sunday, January 20, 2013 – Introspection and Contemplation

The philosophy of the wisest man that ever existed is mainly derived from the act of introspection. ~ William Godwin

Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection. ~ Lawrence Durrell

Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ~ C. G. Jung

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude. ~ Aldous Huxley

In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion. ~ Albert Camus

Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing. ~ William S. Burroughs

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself. ~ Franz Kafka

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel. ~ John Ruskin

Nature in darkness groans and men are bound to sullen contemplation in the night: restless they turn on beds of sorrow; in their inmost brain feeling the crushing wheels, they rise, they write the bitter words of stern philosophy and knead the bread of knowledge with tears and groans. ~ William Blake

Think of your head as an unsafe neighborhood; don’t go there alone. ~ Augusten Burroughs

There is music in words, and it can be heard you know, by thinking. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be. ~ Henry David Thoreau

My own brain is to me the most unaccountable of machinery – always buzzing, humming, soaring roaring diving, and then buried in mud. And why? What’s this passion for? ~ Virginia Woolf

But when the self speaks to the self, who is speaking? The entombed soul, the spirit driven in, in, in to the central catacomb; the self that took the veil and left the world — a coward perhaps, yet somehow beautiful, as it flits with its lantern restlessly up and down the dark corridors. ~ Virginia Woolf

The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize. ~ Robert Hughes

The question is why one should be so inwardly preoccupied at all. Why not reach out to others in love and solidarity or peer into the natural world for some glimmer of understanding? Why retreat into anxious introspection when, as Emerson might have said, there is a vast world outside to explore? Why spend so much time working on oneself when there is so much real work to be done? ~ Barbara Ehrenreich

Everything in modern city life is calculated to keep man from entering into himself and thinking about spiritual things. Even with the best of intentions a spiritual man finds himself exhausted and deadened and debased by the constant noise of machines and loudspeakers, the dead air and the glaring lights of offices and shops, the everlasting suggestion of advertising and propaganda. The whole mechanism of modern life is geared for a flight from God and from the spirit into the wilderness of neurosis. ~ Thomas Merton

The national distrust of the contemplative temperament arises less from an innate Philistinism than from a suspicion of anything that cannot be counted, stuffed, framed or mounted over the fireplace in the den. ~ Lewis H. Lapham

Empathy is not a substitute for introspection. Stepping into someone else’s shoes because yours don’t fit means you still get to walk in ill-fitting shoes, you just don’t get to own them. ~ Colin Gorman

The man whose whole activity is diverted to inner meditation becomes insensible to all his surroundings. If he loves, it is not to give himself, to blend in fecund union with another being, but to meditate on his love. His passions are mere appearances, being sterile. They are dissipated in futile imaginings, producing nothing external to themselves. ~ Emile Durkheim

The mind can weave itself warmly in the cocoon of its own thoughts, and dwell a hermit anywhere. ~ James Russell Lowell

Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live. ~ Nicolas Chamfort

The mind is exercised by the variety and multiplicity of the subject matter, while the character is molded by the contemplation of virtue and vice. ~ Quintilian

Just as we believe by faith that the greatest happiness of the next life consists simply in the contemplation of this divine majesty, likewise we experience that we derive the greatest joy of which we are capable in this life from the same contemplation, even though it is much less perfect. ~ René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: In Which the Existence of God and the Distinction of the Soul from the Body Are Demonstrated

Our goodness comes solely from thinking on goodness; our wickedness from thinking on wickedness. We too are the victims of our own contemplation. ~ John Jay Chapman

Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear. ~ Lao Tzu

If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet… maybe we could understand something. ~ Federico Fellini

One receives as reward for much ennui, despondency, boredom –such as a solitude without friends, books, duties, passions must bring with it –those quarter-hours of profoundest contemplation within oneself and nature. He who completely entrenches himself against boredom also entrenches himself against himself: he will never get to drink the strongest refreshing draught from his own innermost fountain. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Contemplation does not rest until it has found the object which dazzles it. ~ Konrad Weiss

There’s a kinship among men who have sat by a dying fire and measured the worth of their life by it. ~ William Golding


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