Quote Quest

R.D. Laing – 

“True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of the normal ego, that False Self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality…and through this death a rebirth, the ego now being the servant of the divine, no longer its betrayer.” —R. D. Laing

From 3 Wise Souls –

“A person cannot choose to desire a certain kind of relationship, any more than he can will himself to ride a unicycle, play The Goldberg Variations, or speak Swahili. The requisite neural framework for performing these activities does not coalesce on command. A vigorous self-help movement has championed the hoax that a strong-willed person, outfitted with the proper directions, can select good relationships. Those seduced into the promise of a quick fix gobble it up. But the physiology of emotional life cannot be dispelled with a few words. Describing good relatedness to someone, no matter how precisely or how often, does not inscribe it into the neural networks that inspire love…

And yet, on a planet of six billion personalities colliding and meeting with the frenetic energy of infinitesimal molecules in their perpetual Brownian dance, the improbable is occasionally bound to occur. A person…can encounter another by chance who will teach himn what he needs to learn. The instructor fate provides, whether husband or wife, brother, sister, or friend, is often amiably unmoved by the other’s problematic emotional messages. Through the reach of their relationship and the utility of his relative imperviousness, he can gently and incrementally dissuade his student from headlong flight down paths that terminate in sorrow. Because of the tremendous variability in the configuration of human hearts and the randomness that throws people together, such felicitous combinations are as inevitable as they are precious. Against the odds, as it has since the beginning, life finds a way.” – A General Theory of Love (Lewis, M.D., Amini, M.D., Lannon, M.D.)

From Alan Watts

“…none of us are brief island existences, but forms and expressions of one and the same eternal ‘I am’ waving in different ways, such that, whenever this is realized to be the case, we wave more harmoniously with other waves.” – Alan Watts

“To feel that life is meaningless unless ‘I’ can be permanent is like having fallen desperately in love with an inch.” [The Wisdom of Insecurity]

“Sexuality will remain a problem so long as it continues to be the isolated area in which the individual transcends himself and experiences spontaneity. He must first allow himself to be spontaneous in the whole play of inner feeling and of sensory response to the everyday world. Only as the senses in general can learn to accept without grasping, or to be conscious without straining, can the special sensations of sex be free from the grasping of abstract lust and its inseparable twin, the inhibition of abstract or ‘spiritual’ disgust.” Nature, Man and Woman, pg. 157

“To the degree that we do not yet know what man is, we do not yet know what human sexuality is. We do not know what man is so long as we know him piecemeal, categorically, as the separate individual, the agglomeration of blocklike instincts and passions and sensations regarded one by one under the fixed stare of an exclusive consciousness. What man is, and what human sexuality is, will come to be known only as we lay ourselves open to experience with the full sensitivity of feeling which does not grasp.

The experience of sexual love is therefore no longer to be sought as the repetition of a familiar ecstasy, prejudiced by the expectation of what we already know. It will be the exploration of our relationship with an ever-changing, ever unknown partner, unknown because he or she is not in truth the abstract role or person, the set of conditioned reflexes which society has imposed, the stereotyped male or female which education has led us to expect. All these are maya, and the love of these is the endlessly frustrating love of fantasy. What is not maya is mystery, what cannot be described or measured, and it is in this sense–symbolized by the veil of modesty–that woman is always a mystery to man, and man to woman. It is in this sense that we must understand van der Leeuw’s remarkable saying that ‘the mystery of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.’ ” Nature, Man and Woman, pgs. 158-159

[These excerpts from Watts’ powerful book touch on the spirit of “words awakening” in that they convey the essence of the power of mystery, the world within the world of relationship to self, to sex, to others. They bring us back to the home of flesh, blood, pounding pulsing in-skin attunement and sensitivity to life and to love. They open doors in an instant because they remind us that there is perpetual discovery available as we let go the ideal of concentrated exclusive consciousness and the “knowing” that so easily evades any real communion. These words remind us that we connect beautifully without words and without grasping so desperately for meaning with our limiting categorizing “educated” minds.]

From Jesus –

“Woe be unto you when all men speak well of you, for you love not the truth.”

(Life reveals that this is true both in and out of Christianity as we all scramble to own the “truth” and find, in our mad grasping, that the truth is a more dynamic but reliable force unclaimable by any one religion or philosophy. When we speak that dynamic truth, those less invested in grace-centered authenticity will be repulsed, will accuse, will whine, will writhe. But hopefully love will out the truth in those hearts and unite people beyond their fears. As one who has done some whining, accusing and writhing in the face of painful but needful truth, I can say love does find a way. – jrk)

From Abraham Maslow –

“Every person is, in part, ‘his own project’ and makes himself.” [Toward A Psychology of Being]

“Self-actualization is a matter of degree and of frequency rather than an all-or-none affair.” [Toward A Psychology of Being]

“Rubricizing is a cheap form of cognizing, i.e., really a form of not-cognizing, a quick, easy cataloguing whose function is to make unnecessary the effort required by more careful, idiographic perceiving or thinking. To place a person in a system takes less energy than to know him in his own right, since in the former instance, all that has to be perceived is that one abstracted characteristic which indicates his belongingness in a class.” [Toward A Psychology of Being]

“People with the capacity to love have the impulse to love and the need to love in order to feel healthy. Capacity clamors to be used, and cease their clamor only when they are used sufficiently.” [Toward A Psychology of Being]

“Heaven, so to speak, lies waiting for us through life, ready to step into for a time and to enjoy before we have to come back to our ordinary life of striving. And once we have been in it, we can remember it forever, and feed ourselves on this memory and be sustained in time of stress.” [Toward A Psychology of Being]

“The lover perceives in the beloved what no one else can.” [Toward A Psychology of Being]

“A husband’s conviction that his wife is beautiful, or a wife’s firm belief that her husband is courageous, to some extent creates the beauty or the courage. This is not so much a perception of something that already exists as a bringing into existence by belief.” [Toward A Psychology of Being]

“People in peak-experiences are most their identities, closest to their real selves, most idiosyncratic.” [Toward A Psychology of Being]

“Our psychology journals and conferences are primarily suitable for the communication and discussion of the rational, the abstract, the logical, the public, the impersonal, the nomothetic, the repeatable, the objective, the unemotional. They thereby assume the very things that we ‘personal psychologists’ are trying to change. In other words, they beg the question. One result is that as therapists or as self-observers we are still forced by academic custom to talk about our own experiences or those of patients in about the same way as we might talk about bacteria, or about the moon, or about white rats, assuming the the subject-object cleavage, assuming that we are detached, distant and uninvolved, assuming that we (and the objects of perception) are unmoved and unchanged by the act of observation, assuming that we can split of the ‘I’ from the ‘Thou,’ assuming that all observation, thinking, expression and communication must be cool and never warm, assuming that cognition can only be contaminated or distorted by emotion.In a word, we keep trying to use the canons and folkways of impersonal science for our personal science, but I am convinced that this won’t work. It is also quite clear to me now that the scientific revolution that some of us are cooking up (as we construct a philosophy of science large enough to include experiential knowledge) must extend itself to the folkways of intellectual communication as well.

We must make explicit what we all accept implicitly, that our kind of work is often felt deeply and comes out of deep personal grounds, that we sometimes fuse with the objects of study rather than splitting from them, that we are usually profoundly involved, and that we must be if our work is not to be fake. We must also accept honestly and express candidly the profound truth that most of our ‘objective’ work is simultaneously subjective, that our outer world is frequently isomorphic with our inner world, that the ‘external’ problems we deal with ‘scientifically’ are often also our own internal problems, and that our solutions to these problems are also, in principle, self-therapies in the broadest sense.” [Toward A Psychology of Being]


Walt Whitman –

“Resist much, obey little. Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved.”

[I discovered this quote on http://truth-out.org in this article: http://bit.ly/qTPM3d  Bruce Levine’s capacity to comprehensively analyze vital layers of the dilemma of tyranny is stellar.]


From Rainer Maria Rilke

“…perhaps the sexes are more related than we think, and the great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in this, that man and maid, freed of all false feelings and reluctances, will seek each other not as opposites, but as brother and sister, as neighbors, and will come together as human beings, in order simply, seriously and patiently to bear in common the difficult sex that has been laid upon them.” [Letters to a Young Poet, pg. 38-39; Translation by M.D. Herter Norton]

“Think, dear sir, of the world you carry within you, and call this thinking what you will; whether it be remembering your own childhood or yearning toward your own future–only be attentive to that which rises up in you and set it above everything that you observe about you. What goes on in your innermost being is worthy of your whole love; you must somehow keep working at it and not lose too much time and too much courage in clarifying your attitude toward people.” [Letters to a Young Poet, pg. 46-47; Translation by M.D. Herter Norton]

“To love is good, too; love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation…” [Letters to a Young Poet, pg. 54]

“The girl and the woman, in their new, their own unfolding, will but in passing be imitators of masculine ways, good and bad, and repeaters of masculine professions. After the uncertainty of such transitions it will become apparent that women were only going through the profusion and the vicissitude of those (often ridiculous) disguises in order to cleanse their own most characteristic nature of this distorting influences of the other sex. Women, in whom life lingers and dwells more immediately, more fruitfully and more confidently, must surely have become fundamentally riper people, more human people, than easygoing man, who is not pulled down below the surface of life by the weight of any fruit of his body, and who, presumptuous and hasty, undervalues what he thinks he loves. This humanity of woman, borne its full time in suffering and humiliation, will come to light when she will have stripped off the conventions of mere femininity in the mutations of her outward status, and those men who do not yet feel it approaching today will be surprised and struck by it. Some day…some day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer signify merely an opposite of the masculine, but something in itself, something that makes one think, not of any complement and limit, but only of life and existence: the feminine human being…

This advance will…change the love-experience, which is now full of error, will alter it from the ground up, reshape it into a relation that is meant to be of one human being to another, no longer of man to woman. And this more human love (that will fulfill itself, infinitely considerate and gentle, and kind and clear in binding and releasing) will resemble that which we are preparing with struggle and toil, the love that consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other.” [Letters to a Young Poet, pg 58-59]


From Oriah

“It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.”

Excerpt from her amazing poem “The Invitation.”


From Benjamin Zander

“Who am I being that my children’s eyes are not shining?”

( The inspired life of possibility evokes shining responsiveness in those who “get it” and “get us” when we live passionately. Thinking of this, read Zander’s words once more. Zander evokes soulful appreciation of music…and the passionate life. )


From Shel Silverstein

If you are a dreamer, come in
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer,
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in!
Come in!


From Erich Fromm

“In erotic love there is an exclusiveness which is lacking in brotherly love and motherly love…Frequently the exclusiveness of erotic love is misinterpreted as meaning possessive attachment. One can often find two people “in love” with each other who feel no love for anybody else. Their love is, in fact, an egotism à deux; they are two people who identify themselves with each other, and who solve the problem of separateness by enlarging the single individual into two. They have the experience of overcoming aloneness, yet, since they are separated from the rest of mankind, they remain separated from each other and alienated from themselves; their experience of union is an illusion. Erotic love is exclusive, but it loves in the other person all of mankind, all that is alive. It is exclusive only in the sense that I can fuse myself fully and intensely with one person only. Erotic love excludes the love for others only in the sense of erotic fusion, full commitment in all aspects of life—but not in the sense of deep brotherly love.

Erotic love, if it is love, has one premise. That I love from the essence of my being—and experience the other person in the essence of his or her being. In essence, all human beings are identical. We are all part of One…”

The Art of Loving


From Thomas Moore

“Being attached to the soul, to life, to destiny, to others, to place, to family, or to talent is the kind of submission, limitation, and harnessing that allow desire to perfom its rituals of exploration and that invite effective power. Without this bondage, human effort is Promethean, godless, off-track and soulless…Sade is the theologian of hell, speaking for the red angels of the fiery inferno whose job it is to urge and to tempt toward the pleasures of binding and of being bound.” [Dark Eros – The Imagination of Sadism]

(This puts a whole new spin on “oppression ousting” in that it challenges us not to disturb the type of bondage that delivers us into discovery and fulfillment. So, it could be said that ousting oppression includes ousting fear of our desires. I love it.)

“Your vitality is your destiny; it defines you and allows you to be creative. It is your job to cooperate with it. If you don’t do your part finding a place for all your strength and promise, it will transform. Instead of being receptive to the constant invitations to increase the life in you, you will start being submissive to other people. The object of your surrender will shift from life itself to a particular person or group of persons. This shift in responsiveness creates a destructive pattern known for decades in psychology as sadomasochism.

The pleasure you would have received by being responsive to life reverses. Now you may find pleasure in being disappointed, emotionally and physically hurt, or betrayed…but in subtle ways, and without owning up to it, the same person may be extremely controlling and harsh.” [Dark Nights of The Soul]

“Jonah-like we all have to be spit out of the belly of family and cultural assumptions, a new person, freed and unqualified. But this is one of the purposes we have seen for dark nights of the soul: to prune, to cleanse, and sort out the essential from the illusory. We have to do something with our anger other than suppress it or vent it. There are a thousand possibilities, but each of them has to honor the emotion while giving it form and meaning. Ultimately, you transform your anger through a channeling of your life force, and this liberated vitality gives you your presence as a unique personality.” [Dark Nights of The Soul]



11 thoughts on “Quote Quest

  1. That’s a quote of Jesus that has come to bear far more significance. The voices at the pulpits proclaim it or should I say regurgitate (like voice recorders) and because of that as it does not affect them in their beings or isn’t from their inners like Jesus, they do not see they are some of they who are to be leery of.

    I agree with your growth partnerships, please don’t call it coaching for that sense removes the one from the other; master and servant like these boys (they gon’ catch me for callin em that) who call emselves preachers.

    You have a lot of the free spirit about you, I appreciate that; levity is art. I only imagine your youth, perhaps, pre-teen. Hehe. Your kids don’t have a mother, they have a sister and daughter also, that’s something monumental to achieve.

    You know, I woulda liked to pun your name, Ruth, but I never really read that story. I always was a bad christian.

    1. i envy that you were a bad christian…i was on some levels but mostly because i rocked a few boats trying to point out the value of a life (beyond the lie-down-and-die-for-jesus syndrome that had people putting up with abuse, abusing their “power” and not transforming or growing in the slightest). now i’m really bad since i embrace something deeper and can no longer call myself christian. woe be unto me… ;0)

      truth is…i’m more myself than i had ever felt myself allowed to be. most trouble i ever got myself in waay back then was with my very obnoxious mouth (and only with family). but i was generally a terribly shy, good girl. terribly. it’s a glorious salvation i find in these woods and hills of freedom from dogma and fear-driven “goodness.”

      i appreciate you dropping in…keep on! and thanks for the kind words…

  2. “I want to know if you can
    disappoint another
    to be true to yourself.
    If you can bear
    the accusation of betrayal
    and not betray your own soul.”

    Boy am I familiar with this. How wished for this “other(s)” to understand that I had to do this, I had to be me. So my answer is yes, I’ve disappointed another, I’ve been accused of betrayal, and been deemed faithless. The poem touched me. Seems that, in our hearts, we are all so very similar and yet, for that very reason, so very unique.

    When being honest is akin to letting a bomb fall on someone’s head, you know where to go… Being honest always means hurting someone; yet, we would not have any other way.

    1. it’s not an easy path, is it? there are days when i feel the weight of a whole community from what i think of as my past life within this life and yes, wow. not that i betrayed a whole community but i “betrayed” what they believed, what they were sure of as best for me and for others in order to walk in personal integrity.

  3. Maslow also said, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.”

    It is ironic in his words about rubricizing people that one of the works his is best known for in the universities is his Hierarchy of Needs which applies a rubric to generally cover the graduated needs of humans.

    This is very helpful in explaining your “Ruthness” as you suggested. It is in unity with all the other words of yours I have read as they flowed or maybe at times staggered (for staggering can be art as well) from your keyboard.

    “when you’ve had the Ruth persona to contend with . . ., you must bring in a balancing dynamic, found in the darker corners of your rich soul. We have one who laid at the feet of religion and dutiful devotion, being so faithful to gather the harvest and on the other hand we have another who was anything but agreeable. They need each other. ”

    I can identify with that. Have I introduced you yet to doc?

    Thanks for this.

    1. I love Maslow’s works. And appreciate his legacy of encouragment that we all be and do what best unfolds our core self. I hear you on the rubricizing thing and hierarchy of needs. I’m not sure he meant it to be used as a categorization for people directly but, as you mention, for their needs. He seems most aware of the tendency to mainly know people by their obvious societal and cultural identifiers, like the housewife, the lawyer, the priest, the biker…on and on. He seemed particularly intent on encouraging fellow psychotherapists to avoid this pitfall in therapy.

      I noted the glorious Doc archetype on that great blog of yours and let out a whoop of appreciation. Would that we could all consciously and openly cultivate the less “correct” (but needful) parts of soul. Maybe some of us need a more obvious and concerted effort in order to balance things out. It’s great stuff.

      Glad for your presence…

      1. I don’t think he did it for that reason either, but I had more than one professor frame it that way. It is an attempt by narrow minded people to channel all art into science–to make it quantifiable and divorced from the soul inside the “object” of observation. My degree is an “art” degree that takes “science” for it’s name. Bachelor of ARTS. in Political SCIENCE. How’s that for an oxymoron? I hold that it is the former and not the latter.

        I’m not so sure how “glorious” doc is. 🙂 But I appreciate the sentiment. I’m partial to him but he can be quite a pain.

        1. Tongue-in-cheek glorious! I appreciate it because I know how much of a pain these riper layers can be and how much they provide the provocation for change and growth. It’s not always fun but it’s worthwhile, especially as we learn to channel that potency with honorable intent.

          I hear you on the framing of Maslow’s vision, so to speak. And science vs. art. There’s a need to be yielded to the comprehension of what we’re studying, broken of our rigid reach to control, objectify and categorize ruthlessly what must simply be channeled wisely and artfully…dynamically. Bachelor of ARTS in Political PROCESS, perhaps? Such heavy regard for the restrictive “reliability” of science divorces us from the art of comprehensive living and loving, no?

          1. “Process.” good description. I’ll steal that.

            and yes it does, and it is hard to rebuke that particular devil when it
            brandishes its horns. If I catch it in time, I simply stop action and
            consult with the Spirit. More’s the pity that I am not as successful
            as often as I’d like in catching it in time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.