Mind Quotes

When I was just about to post ‘Mind Matters, I went to the Quotations document where I “store” quotations, to see what I could rustle up on the subject of mind. To my surprise, a ton of good quotes came up! Here they are…

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

“Have a Good Mind. No matter what situation you’re in, find something good about it, rather than the negative things. And in dealing with other human beings, find the good in them as well. We are all interdependent. Do things for others – tribe, family, community – rather than just for yourself. Look forward. Turn what has been done into a better path. If you’re a leader, think about the impact of your decisions on seven generations into the future.” – Chief Wilma Mankiller ~ traditional Cherokee precepts 

“On my 70th birthday, I was asked how I felt about mankind’s prospects.  This is my reply: We are behaving like yeasts in a brewer’s vat, multiplying mindlessly while greedily consuming the substance of a finite world. If we continue to imitate the yeasts, we will perish as they perish, having exhausted our resources and poisoned ourselves in the lethal brew of our own wastes. Unlike the yeasts, we have a choice. What will it be?” ~ Farley Mowat, 1991 

“True democracy is only possible when people have effective power over their own affairs, their own goals, and their own resources. The larger the governing unit, the less responsive it is to human needs, the more bureaucratic and inefficient its administration. Government, we must always remind ourselves, is not (or should not be) a professionally organized system to tell people how to run their affairs; it is (or should be) a means whereby people themselves are enabled to resolve matters in their own community.” ~ John Papworth in Putting Power In Its Place

“This … dream reminded me of another I had heard years before, in which a man was in a restaurant and ordered a steak; instead he was served a large platter of beans. That dream sounded like a Zen story to me and led me to reflect for a long time on the value of plain pedestrian food, especially when we consciously order up something more special. Life has a way of plopping extreme ordinariness in front of us when we are entertaining exotic gourmet daydreams.” – Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul 

“He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abe Lincoln

“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” – Steve Biko

Tommy Douglas on Fascism: “Once more let me remind you what fascism is. It need not wear a brown shirt or a green shirt – it may even wear a dress shirt. Fascism begins the moment a ruling class, fearing the people may use their political democracy to gain economic democracy, begins to destroy political democracy in order to retain its power of exploitation and special privilege.”

“There is an almost gravitational pull toward putting out of mind unpleasant facts. And our collective ability to face painful facts is no greater than our personal one. We tune out, we turn away, we avoid. Finally we forget, and forget we have forgotten.” ~ Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Albert Einstein

“So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Speak your mind, even when your voice shakes.” – Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Grey Panthers, quoted on a bumper sticker

“It is possible that the scientific character of mind is by its nature childish, capable through life of a child’s wonder and excitements, but lacking real discernment, lacking sadness, too easily delighted by its own intellect. There are exceptions, of course, the physicist Steven Weinberg, for example, whom I’ve read and who has the moral gravity you would want from a scientist.”E.L. Doctorow in his novel City of God, Random House, New York 2000, pg. 12.

“All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?” – Buddha

“The essence of motherhood is not restricted to women who have given birth; it is a principle inherent in both women and men. It is an attitude of the mind. It is love – and that love is the very breath of life. No one would say, ‘I will breathe only when I am with my family and friends; I won’t breathe in front of my enemies.’ Similarly, for those in whom motherhood has awakened, love and compassion for everyone are as much a part of their being as breathing.” – Amma Chi, also known as Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi – quoted in Utne magazine

Pema Chödrön on heaven & hell:

“There’s another story that you may have read that has to do with what we call heaven and hell, life and death, good and bad. It’s a story about how those things don’t really exist except as a creation of our own minds. It goes like this: A big burly samurai comes to the wise man and says, “Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.” And the roshi looks him in the face and says: “Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you?” The samurai starts to get purple in the face, his hair starts to stand up, but the roshi won’t stop, he keeps saying, “A miserable worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?” Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword, and he’s just about to cut off the head of the roshi. Then the roshi says, “That’s hell.” The samurai, who is in fact a sensitive person, instantly gets it, that he just created his own hell; he was deep in hell. It was black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment, so much so that he was going to kill this man. Tears fill his eyes and he starts to cry and he puts his palms together and the roshi says, “That’s heaven.”

There isn’t any hell or heaven except for how we relate to our world. Hell is just resistance to life. When you want to say no to the situation you’re in, it’s fine to say no, but when you build up a big case to the point where you’re so convinced that you would draw your sword and cut off someone’s head, that kind of resistance to life is hell.” — page 31-32 Chapter 7 – “Taking a Bigger Perspective” – The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness, Pema Chödrön, Shambhala, 1991

“What you really know is possible in your heart is possible. We make it possible by our will. What we imagine in our minds becomes our world. That’s just one of many things that I have learned from water.” – Dr. Masaru Emoto in The Hidden Messages in Water

“Once you know the difference between right and wrong, you have lots fewer decisions to make.” – Joseph Campbell, quoted in the biography “A Fire in the Mind – The Life of Joseph Campbell” by Stephen & Robin Larsen

 “The wisdom of women is to join the knowing of the body to that of the mind, to join soul to spirit, intuition to reasoning, feeling consciousness to intellectual analysis, intimacy to attachment, subjective presence to objective distance. When these functions become separated in carrying out the human project then the way into the future is to bring them together.

The human project belongs to both women and men. It cannot be carried out effectively unless both are present throughout the full range of human activities: with each other and with the family, in government, in the economic enterprise, in university education, in the religious establishment, in the artistic and literary worlds. Wherever the human enterprise is taking place women belong there as well as men. Each brings distinctive abilities to the single project.

Because men in Western civilization have isolated women in the home and in a narrow band of service activities, and have appropriated for themselves both the reality and value of the adult human outside the home, the human project in its Western manifestation has become a patriarchal establishment in quest for unlimited dominance, a dominance unsettled in itself and a disturbance to the larger human community. In a corresponding way, because men have appropriated the reality and value of the Earth for their own purposes, the Earth is becoming dysfunctional. Again it is a quest for dominance.” — Chapter 16, ‘The Fourfold Wisdom’ in The Great Work – Our Way into the Future, by Thomas Berry, priest, author, teacher, geologian

“There is fierceness at work here. There is no other explanation for the raw courage and heart displayed over and again in the people who march, speak, create, resist, and build. It is the fierceness of knowing we are human and intend to survive. To witness the worldwide breakdown of civility into camps, ideologies, and wars, to watch the accelerating breakdown of our environmental systems, is harrowing and dispiriting.

But immune systems do fail; this movement most certainly could fail as well. What can help preserve it is the gift of self-perception, the gift of seeing who we truly are. We will either come together as one, globalized people, or we will disappear as a civilization. To come together we must know our place in a biological and cultural sense, and reclaim our role as engaged agents of our continued existence. Our minds were made to defend ourselves, born of an immune system that brought us to this stage in our development and evolution. We are surfeited with metaphors of war, such that when we hear the word defense, we think attack, but the defense of the world can be truly accomplished only by cooperation and compassion. Science now knows that while still in diapers, virtually all children exhibit altruistic behavior. Concern for the well-being of others is bred in the bone, endemic and hardwired. We became human by working together and helping one another. According to immunologist Gerald Callahan, faith and love are literally buried in our genes and lymphocytes, and what it takes to arrest our descent into chaos is one person after another remembering who and where they really are.” — Paul Hawken in Blessed Unrest – How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being & Why No One Saw it Coming <Pg. 165>

“The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then – to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.” – spoken by Merlyn the Magician in T. H. White’s *The Once and Future King*

“The open-minded see the truth in different things; the narrow-minded see only the differences.” – Source unknown

“Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is a supreme creative act.” ~ Ram Dass

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” ~ William Blake – quoted in Awakening Intuition – Using Your Mind-Body Network for Insight and Healing by Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz

“Today no task is more pressing and noble, not only for a scientist, but also for any sober-minded individual, than to prevent nuclear insanity.” – Valery Legasov, head of the former Soviet delegation to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). He was upset over both the Chernobyl disaster & its handling at the IAEA & UN, & later took his life over it. <many other nuke-related quotes here> 

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw