Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common — this is my symphony.
Never forget that the purpose for which a man lives is the improvement of the man himself, so that he may go out of this world having, in his great sphere or his small one, done some little good for his fellow creatures and labored a little to diminish the sin and sorrow that are in the world.
Symptoms of Inner Peace A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experience An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment A loss of interest in judging other people A loss of interest in judging self
Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, harm, or to hinder life is evil. Affirmation of the world — that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all around me — is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life.
Three passions have governed my life: The longings for love, the search for knowledge, And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind]. Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness. In the union of love I have seen In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined. With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of People. I have wished to know why the stars shine. Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens, But always pity brought me back to earth; Cries of pain reverberated in my heart Of children in famine, of victims tortured And of old people left helpless. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, And I too suffer. This has been my life; I found it worth living.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because some day in life you will have been all of these.
The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words.
We can travel a long way and do many things, but our deepest happiness is not born from accumulating new experiences. it is born from letting go of what is unnecessary, and knowing ourselves to be always at home.
This is what I believe: That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. That I must have the courage to let them come and go. That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women. There is my creed.
Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.
For everything there is a season, And a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to seek, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate, A time for war, and a time for peace.
I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow creatures happy.
What do I believe? As an American I believe in generosity, in liberty, in the rights of man. These are social and political faiths that are part of me, as they are, I suppose, part of all of us. Such beliefs are easy to express. But part of me too is my relation to all life, my religion. And this is not so easy to talk about. Religious experience is highly intimate and, for me, ready words are not at hand.
Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.
A Humanist Code of Ethics: Do no harm to the earth, she is your mother. Being is more important than having. Never promote yourself at another’s expense. Hold life sacred; treat it with reverence. Allow each person the digity of his or her labor. Open your home to the wayfarer. Be ready to receive your deepest dreams; sometimes they are the speech of unblighted conscience. Always make restitutions to the ones you have harmed. Never think less of yourself than you are. Never think that you are more than another.
Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men [sic] — go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers or families — re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.
Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn! Look to this Day! For it is Life, the very Life of Life. In its brief course lie all the Verities and Realities of your Existence. The Bliss of Growth, The Glory of Action, The Splendor of Beauty; For Yesterday is but a Dream, And To-morrow is only a Vision; But To-day well lived makes Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope. Look well therefore to this Day! Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!
And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.