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Quotations about Meditation

You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you are too busy — then you should sit for an hour. ~Author unknown

No meditation better clears the mind than to listen to the shape of the silence that surrounds us. It focuses us on the thin line between what is there and what is not there. It opens our heart to the unseen, and reminds us that the world is larger than the events that fill our days. ~Kent Nerburn, "The Eloquence of Silence," Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life, 1998

An hour before sunrise — in creative meditation — can miraculously enrich the soul. A minute during a sunrise — in receptive silence — can gloriously inspire the heart. ~William Arthur Ward, For This One Hour, 1969

Reverie is a loose dreaming into which a man falls; meditation is a strong, purposeful thinking into which a man rises. ~James Allen, "Practice of Meditation," The Mastery of Destiny, 1909

One day... I shall reach down through the turbulence to the sub-seas of serenity. I shall pray the prayer of quiet's attainment, the achievement of stillness. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Longing," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

Meditation is like going to the bottom of the sea, where everything is calm and tranquil. On the surface there may be a multitude of waves, but the sea is not affected below. In its deepest depths, the sea is all silence. When we start meditating, first we try to reach our own the inner existence, our true existence — that is to say, the on bottom of the sea. Then, when the waves come from the outside world, we are not affected. Fear, doubt, worry and all the earthly turmoil will just wash away, because inside us is solid peace. Thoughts cannot trouble us, because our mind is all peace, all silence, oneness. Like fish in the sea, they jump and swim but leave no mark. So when we are in our highest meditation we feel that we are the sea, and the animals in the sea cannot affect us. We feel that we are the sky, and all the birds flying past cannot affect us. Our mind is the sky and our heart is the infinite sea. This is meditation. ~Sri Chinmoy (1931–2007), "What is meditation?,"

Meditation here
May think down hours to moments. Here the heart
May give an useful lesson to the head,
And learning wiser grow without his books...
~William Cowper, "The Winter Walk at Noon"

He sat thus, lost in meditation, thinking Om, his soul as the arrow directed at Brahman. ~Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

In meditation and the rest that comes after it the spirit recovers from its fatigue and receives new powers, just as the body recovers and receives new energy through sleep. And as in sleep we enter into a life in which body conditions are in a measure transcended, so in meditation we enter into a truly supernatural life. This life... is not the special privilege of the few, but is open to everybody who will go through the discipline necessary to its attainment. ~May Sinclair, A Cure of Souls, 1924

Meditation means our conscious growth into the Infinite. When we meditate what we actually do is enter into a vacant, calm, silent mind and allow ourselves to be nourished and nurtured by Infinity itself. ~Sri Chinmoy (1931–2007), "What is meditation?,"

When a man intensely desires to reach and realise a higher, purer, and more radiant life than the merely worldly and pleasure loving life, he engages in aspiration; and when he earnestly concentrates his thoughts upon the finding of that life, he practises meditation. ~James Allen, "Practice of Meditation," The Mastery of Destiny, 1909

The beginning of all these adventures lies in acquiring early the art of meditation. Meditation, as mystics understand it, must be sharply distinguished from reverie, and totally dissociated from that other familiar process known as "thinking things over." In reverie the psyche is adrift in a tide of uncoordinated impressions, rising and swelling, taking all colors, and dying away again. In "thinking things over," the intelligence is immediately at work, fitting available items into what it recognizes as a rational pattern. But meditation, as the mystics use it, is not to be described in a sentence. ~Mary Hunter Austin, Everyman's Genius, 1923

Meditation is to know oneself as one is. It is see our real face with out any mask. ~Author unknown

Meditation is not a way of making your mind be quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there — buried under the fifty thousand thoughts the average person thinks every day. And most of those thoughts are automatic mental responses we've developed from conditioning that fill us with anxiety and fear. They are nothing more than habits, and 99 percent of the thoughts you have in a day are the same ones you had the day before. ~Deepak Chopra, paraphrased

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing....
~T.S. Eliot

Meditation is not only sitting still like a Buddha-figure, nor is it thinking about something, for the Upanishads say that the stars, the trees, the rivers, and the mountains are meditating — unconsciously. Conscious meditation is a knack, and as an exercise it is a way of learning that Enlightenment comes to pass in us as much when we are doing nothing to produce it as when we are in the midst of activity. ~Alan J. Watts, 1940

Meditation carries us beyond the frustration of the senses, beyond the limitation of the reasoning mind. ~Sri Chinmoy, "The Supreme Secret of Meditation," 1969,

Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation — and almost as good for the soul as prayer. ~Dean Koontz, False Memory, 1999

Enjoy simple things with total intensity.
Just a cup of tea can be a deep meditation.

Our moments spent in meditation lessen our sense of desperation. ~William Arthur Ward, Thoughts of a Christian Optimist, 1968

The world shakes with the terrible tramp of war
And the foe's menace swirls through every sea.
But here the Buddha still broods ceaselessly
In hush more real than our strange tumults are...
~Arthur Davison Ficke, "At Kamakura: 1917"

Meditation: A state in which the immediate-self is quieted, in order that the deep-self may have its activities directed toward a particular problem. ~Mary Hunter Austin, Everyman's Genius, 1923

Don't go away... Go within. ~1981 advertisement for meditation tapes by Yogi Amrit Desai ("Your ticket home.")

Don't just do something — sit there! ~Author unknown

When you pray and meditate your whole being becomes flooded with Peace. ~Sri Chinmoy (1931–2007), "What is meditation?,"

Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. ~Alan Watts

Meditation nourishes your self-discipline. Self discipline strengthens your meditation. ~Sri Chinmoy, "The Supreme Secret of Meditation," 1969,

The majority of men live in a series of conflicting desires, passions, emotions, and speculations, and there are restlessness, uncertainty, and sorrow; but when a man begins to train his mind in meditation, he gradually gains control over this inward conflict by bringing his thoughts to a focus upon a central principle... and there is increasing harmony and insight, a growing perfection and peace. ~James Allen, "Practice of Meditation," The Mastery of Destiny, 1909

I pray not for the laggard's rest, nor surcease nor respite do I crave, but Lord, Lord, discipline my soul to tranquil ways, teach me the endless calm. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

When they go fishing, it is not really fish they are after. It is philosophic meditation. They like to smoke a pipe peacefully by the river side and watch the clouds go by. They sit for hours on the edge of a pier in a bleak sou'-wester, and it is little or nothing to them whether they take anything home to tea. They put their large feet firmly down on slippery rocks and brace themselves against the wind, while every ninth wave drenches them with spray; of course they wouldn't mind pulling in a few big ones if it were in the day's work, but the main thing is to get as wet as possible and think great thoughts until it is time to go home. ~E. T. Brown, "On Gambling," Not Without Prejudice, 1955

To preserve the silence within — amid all the noise. ~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1952, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

If you are tired, you will get from your meditation new energy, new enthusiasm, new promise. Meditation is a process to awaken or acquire the energy that is not within you at this moment or the energy that is waiting for you to invoke it. In meditation, you invoke cosmic energy. ~Sri Chinmoy (1931–2007), "What is meditation?,"

They pass through life, or they pass many years of it, without well knowing what they are, or what they need; without once fully awaking from the sleep of the senses, or recovering themselves from the dreams of worldly cares, to feel what a nature God has placed within them. But did they feel this; did their thoughts sometimes retire to the secret and silent chambers of the soul; did the urgent and absorbing impression of outward things fade away from the mind, and leave it to itself, it would then be felt... ~Joseph S. Buckminster (1784–1812)  [Context note: Buckminster, in this sermon, is referring to "the great truths of religion." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Wisdom is acquired by meditation. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856 can feel as if the entire body has dropped away or has become transparent, as if its substance were in some way erased. It can feel as if there is nothing but breath flowing freely across all the boundaries of the body. ~Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

      Somehow the ancient yogis knew what scientists today are telling us — that the entire universe is moving. Nothing is ever solid or still. Everything that exists pulsates, creating a rhythmic vibration that the ancient yogis acknowledged with the sound of Om. We may not always be aware of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.
      Chanting Om allows us to recognize our experience as a reflection of how the whole universe moves — the setting sun, the rising moon, the ebb and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, it takes us for a ride on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy, and we begin to sense a bigger connection that is both uplifting and soothing.
      ~Cyndi Lee, "Yoga 101: A Beginner's Guide to Practice, Meditation, and the Sutras,", 2014 October 7th

My experience is that when I fully focus on any place in my body, my thinking stops. ~Barry Stevens, "Body Work," in gestalt is, edited by John O. Stevens, 1975

Somewhere in this process, you will come face to face with the sudden and shocking realization that you are completely crazy. Your mind is a shrieking, gibbering madhouse on wheels barreling pell-mell down the hill, utterly out of control and helpless. No problem. You are not crazier than you were yesterday. It has always been this way, and you just never noticed... So don't let this realization unsettle you. It is a milestone actually, a sign of real progress. ~Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

Meditation does not answer the questions of the mind, but it dissolves the very mind which creates many questions and confusion in our life. ~Author unknown

            — lights out —
fall, hands a-clasped, into instantaneous
the glands inside of my brain discharging
the good glad fluid...
to a deadstop trance—Healing
all my sicknesses—erasing all...
the mind
blank, serene, thoughtless. When a thought
comes a-springing from afar with its held-
forth figure of image...
you spuff it off... and
it fades...
~Jack Kerouac, excerpted from "How to Meditate," a poem for Allen Ginsberg, 1967

Say, you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries — stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever. ~Herman Melville, Moby Dick

He that in his studies wholly applies himself to labor and exercise, and neglects meditation, loses his time; and he that only applies himself to meditation, and neglects labor and exercise, only wanders and loses himself. ~Confucius

Meditation is man's thirst for the Infinite Real, Eternal Real and Absolute Real. ~Sri Chinmoy, "The Supreme Secret of Meditation," 1969,

Yoga practitioners advise the times around sunrise and sunset, well before eating a meal, as the best time for yoga and meditation practice. The science of biometeorology (the study of natural forces on human and animal life) tells us that the sun has a tremendous impact upon the lives of plants, animals, and human beings. Even our blood chemistry changes with the rising and setting of the sun! Therefore, there may be a chemical basis for the thousands of years of belief, in every spiritual tradition, that to meditate and pray at sunrise and sunset is somehow more effective, more auspicious. ~Vimala Schneider McClure, A Woman's Guide to Tantra Yoga, 1997

An interval of meditation, serious and grateful, was the best corrective of everything dangerous in such a high-wrought felicity; and she went to her room, and grew steadfast and fearless in the thankfulness of her enjoyment. ~Jane Austen, Persuasion

Listen until you can hear silence breathing. ~Terri Guillemets, "Quiet waited twenty years for me," 2002

But what art thou meditating with axes and hammers? ~Laurence Sterne, letter to J. H. S. Esq., 1762  [I've placed this here totally out of context. It's actually referring to a proposed demo and remodel of a castle. But I've just had so many times when I'm trying to meditate that my mind feels as if it's filled with heavy metal objects clunking around that I thought it would be funny to use this for the Meditation page. —tg]

Yeah, well, I'm not meditating. I'm just despondently staring into the gaping void. ~Nine Perfect Strangers, "The Critical Path," 2021, written for television by David E. Kelley and John-Henry Butterworth  [S1, E2, Frances]

Meditation is the tongue of the soul, and the language of our spirit... ~Jeremy Taylor

Meditation is a powerful and full study to such as can effectually employ themselves; I had rather fashion my soul than furnish it. There is no weaker or stronger occupation than that of entertaining a man's own thoughts according as the soul is; the greatest men make it their whole business... ~Michel de Montaigne, translated by Charles Cotton

The only way to read a book of aphorisms without being bored is to open it at random and, having found something that interests you, close the book and meditate. ~Prince Charles-Joseph de Ligne, 1796

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published 2007 Aug 1
revised 2021 Sep 10
last saved 2024 May 12