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Posts Tagged ‘Epictetus’

Pursuit of Happiness
~ Quotations

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence”
~ Aristotle
“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”

~ Chuang-Tzu
“All happiness comes from the desire for others to be happy.”
~ Shantideva
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven,

which is within.”

~ Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21





Introduction.

Dear Friends,

Everyone wants lasting happiness; no-one wants to suffer. For millennia great mystics have revealed that ever abiding Happiness is our true inner nature – our Self. So how do we discover and experience such Happiness?

This posting is a carefully selected collection of wisdom quotations about the Pursuit of Happiness which reveal perennial insights to the fundamental happiness goal of every human being – whether or not they knowingly follow an enduring religious, spiritual, or ethical path or principle.

These Pursuit of Happiness quotations follow my recent posting about why everyone wants happiness, which suggested that incarnation is limitation and that lasting happiness can only be found in transcendence of ego and merger with Source, after eons of inner evolution with ever elevated heart levels of awareness.

Today’s quotations provide pragmatic insights into ways which can help everyone experience increasing happiness as we evolve beyond ego to Self-identification as Eternal spirit, rather than as mere mortal bodies and their stories. They can help each of us from our unique perspectives find our most suitable path to lasting happiness.

Because we’re each unique with ever fluctuating enegies and unique evolutionary perspectives, different ‘pursuit of happiness’ quotations may apply to different people, concurrently or at different times. Therefore, as you carefully consider these quotations, please follow your heart to determine which ones and when they may apply to your unique perspectives.

Namasté!

Ron Rattner


Pursuit of Happiness ~ Quotations


We hold these truths to be self evident:

that all men are created equal:

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;

that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Declaration of Independence


“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”

~ Dalai Lama


“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”

~ Dalai Lama

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Material progress and a higher standard of living bring us greater comfort and health, but do not lead to a transformation of the mind, which is the only thing capable of providing lasting peace. Profound happiness, unlike fleeting pleasures, is spiritual in nature. It depends on the happiness of others and it is based on love and affection.”
~ Dalai Lama

“Those who are not looking for happiness
are the most likely to find it,
because those who are searching forget that
the surest way to be happy
is to seek happiness for others.”
~ Martin Luther King,Jr.

“Joy comes not through possession or ownership
but through a wise and loving heart.”
“If one speaks or acts with a pure mind,
happiness follows like a shadow.”
~ Buddha

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold,
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus

“The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more,
but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
~ Socrates

“Happiness belongs to the self sufficient.”
~ Aristotle

“The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live
that his happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”
~ Epictetus

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
“Very little is needed to make a happy life;
it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
~ Marcus Aurelius

“Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!”
~ Rumi

“There is only one way to happiness
and that is to cease worrying about things
which are beyond the power of our will.”
~ Epictetus

“The people have a right to the truth
as they have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
~ Epictetus

“A happy life consists in tranquility of mind.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

“If you want to be sad, no one in the world can make you happy.
But if you make up your mind to be happy,
no one and nothing on earth can take that happiness from you.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.

Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,

go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.

Think of the beauty that again and again 
discharges itself within and without you,

and be happy.”

~ Anne Frank

“Since you alone are responsible for your thoughts, only you can change them.
You will want to change them when you realize that each thought creates according to its own nature.
Remember that the law works at all times and that you are always demonstrating according to the kind of thoughts you habitually entertain.
Therefore, start now to think only those thoughts that will bring you health and happiness.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase;

if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”

~ C. P. Snow



“Don’t seek happiness.  If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness.  Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is, rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well­being  and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”

~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

“By letting it go it all gets done.

The world is won by those who let it go.

But when you try and try,

the world is beyond the winning.”

~ Lao Tzu

“I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right.
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you,
but if you turn your attention to other things,
it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“Fame or integrity: which is more important?
Money or happiness: which is more valuable?
Success or failure: which is more destructive?
If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
~ Lao Tzu

“In the pursuit of learning every day something is gained.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.”

~ Lao Tzu


“What is the worth of a happiness for which you must strive and work?

Real happiness is spontaneous and effortless.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


“True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away.
Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably.
Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only.
Find your real Self and all else will come with it.”

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it.

What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.

~ Sri Ramana Maharshi



“I am happy even before I have a reason.”

~ Hafiz


The word “happiness” would lose its meaning

if it were not balanced by sadness.

~ Carl Jung



“The root of joy is gratefulness…

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands.

For it is not joy that makes us grateful;

it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

~ Brother David Steindl-Rast



Reincarnation
~ Quotes From Famous People

“The entire universe is God’s cosmic motion picture, and . . individuals are merely actors in the divine play who change roles through reincarnation; mankind’s deep suffering is rooted in identifying too closely with one’s current role, rather than with the movie’s director, or God.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“We are born and reborn countless number of times,
and it is possible that each being has been our parent at one time or another.  
Therefore, it is likely that all beings in this universe have familial connections.”
~ H. H. Dalai Lama, from ‘The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom”
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear ?
 When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as man,
To soar with angels blest;
But even from angelhood I must pass on …”
~ Rumi
“I have been born more times than anybody except Krishna.” 

~ Mark Twain





Reincarnation ~ Quotes From Famous People

“Lord Krishna said: …. The learned neither laments for the dead or the living. Certainly never at any time did I not exist, nor you, nor all these kings and certainly never shall we cease to exist in the future. Just as in the physical body of the embodied being is the process of childhood, youth and old age; similarly by the transmigration from one body to another the wise are never deluded.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna

“But know that by whom this entire body is pervaded, is indestructible. No one is able to cause the destruction of the imperishable soul. The embodied soul is eternal in existence, indestructible and infinite, only the material body is factually perishable….”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna

“The soul never takes birth and never dies at any time nor does it come into being again when the body is created. The soul is birthless, eternal, imperishable and timeless and is never destroyed when the body is destroyed. Just as a man giving up old worn out garments accepts other new apparel, in the same way the embodied soul giving up old and worn out bodies verily accepts new bodies.” “The soul is eternal, all-pervading, unmodifiable, immovable and primordial.”
~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Krishna to Arjuna

“God generates beings, and sends them back over and over again, till they return to Him.”
~ Koran

“Souls are poured from one into another of different kinds of 
bodies of the world.”
~ Jesus Christ in Gnostic Gospels: Pistis Sophia

“Reincarnation is not an exclusively Hindu or Buddhist concept, but it is part of the history of human origin. It is proof of the mindstream’s capacity to retain knowledge of physical and mental activities. It is related to the theory of interdependent origination and to the law of cause and effect.”
~ The Dalai Lama (Preface to “The Case for Reincarnation”)

“Rebirth is an affirmation that must be counted among the primordial affirmations of mankind. The concept of rebirth necessarily implies the continuity of personality. Here the human personality is regarded as continuous and accessible to memory, so that, when one is incarnated or born, one is able, potentially, to remember that one has lived through previous existences, and that these existences were one’s own, ie, they had the same ego form as the present life. As a rule, reincarnation means rebirth in a human body.”  
~ Carl Jung

“Why should we be startled by death? Life is a constant putting off of the mortal coil – coat, cuticle, flesh and bones, all old clothes.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

“I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and 
believing as I do in the theory of reincarnation, I live in the hope 
that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug 
all of humanity in friendly embrace.” “The greatness of the human being is not in the reincarnation of the world but in the reincarnation of ourselves.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand 
times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the 
amplitude of time.”
~ Walt Whitman

“I look upon death to be as necessary to the constitution as sleep. 
We shall rise refreshed in the morning.” And, “Finding myself to 
exist in the world, I believe I shall, in some shape or other always 
exist.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

“I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of 
millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, 
promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born.”

~ Jack London

“The theory of Reincarnation, which originated in India, has been welcomed in other countries. Without doubt, it is one of the most sensible and satisfying of all religions that mankind has conceived. This, like the others, comes from the best qualities of human nature, even if in this, as in the others, its adherents sometimes fail to carry out the principles in their lives.”
~ Luther Burbank

“As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so is 
our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life and then return after death. Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life, and so it is endlessly, until the very last one, the very real the life of God.”
~ Leo Tolstoy

“I adopted the theory of reincarnation when I was 26. Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives”..“To me this is the most beautiful, the most satisfactory from a scientific standpoint,
the most logical theory of life. For thirty years I have leaned toward the theory of Reincarnation. It seems a most reasonable philosophy and explains many things.”
~ Henry Ford

“I am certain that I have been here as I am now a thousand times before,
and I hope to return a thousand times.”
~ Goethe

“Live so that thou mayest desire to live again – that is thy duty –

for in any case thou wilt live again!”

~ Freidrich Nietzsche

“The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal.” “It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals… and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some strange new disguise.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The Celts were fearless warriors because “they wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from one body to another…”
~ Julius Caesar

“Reincarnation contains a most comforting explanation of reality by means of which Indian thought surmounts difficulties which baffle the thinkers of Europe.”

~ Albert Schweitzer

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting. And cometh from afar.”
~ William Wordsworth

“My life often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and no end. I had the feeling that I was an historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing.

I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries 
and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer;
 that I had been born again because I had not fulfilled the task given to me.”
~ Carl Jung

“I am confident that there truly is such a thing as living again, that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the
 dead are in existence.”

~ Socrates

“As a man, casting off worn out garments taketh new ones, so the dweller in the body, entereth into ones that are new.”
~ Epictetus

“It is not more surprising to be born twice than once;
everything in nature is resurrection.”
~ Voltaire

“He saw all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships become newly born. Each one was mortal, a passionate, painful example of all that is transitory. Yet none of them died, they only changed, were always reborn, continually had a new face: only time stood between one face and another.”
~ Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

“All pure and holy spirits live on in heavenly places, and in course of time they are again sent down to inhabit righteous bodies.”

~ Josephus (Jewish historian from the time of Jesus)

“All human beings go through a previous life… Who knows how
 many fleshly forms the heir of heaven occupies before he can be 
brought to understand the value of that silence and solitude of
 spiritual worlds?”
~ Honore Balzac

“Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life.”
~ Arthur Schopenhauer

“What is of particular importance . . is conviction with regard to reincarnation and karma. This conviction, will essentially transform modern life, will create new forms of life, an entirely new social life, of the kind that is necessary if human culture is not to decline but rise to a higher level. Experiences in the life of soul … are within the reach of every modern man, and if only he has sufficient energy and tenacity of purpose he will certainly become inwardly convinced of the truth of reincarnation and karma.
~ Rudolf Steiner

“When the physical organism breaks up, the soul survives.
It then takes on another body.”
~ Paul Gauguin

“Friends are all souls that we’ve known in other lives. We’re drawn to each other.
Even if I have only known them a day, it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to wait till I have known them for two years, because anyway, we must have met somewhere before, you know.”
~ George Harrison

“Know, therefore, that from the greater silence I shall return…
Forget not that I shall come back to you…
A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind,
and another woman shall bear me.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“There is no death. How can there be death if everything is part of the Godhead?
The soul never dies and the body is never really alive.”
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer, Stories from Behind the Stove




Seek More Than Meets The Eye

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust consumes
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
~ Matthew 6:19-21
“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
~ Luke:18:25 ; Matthew 19:24
“Fools follow the desires of the flesh
and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death;
but the wise, knowing the Self as eternal,
seek not the things that pass away.”
~ Katha Upanishad 2:1:2
“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold;
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions,
but in having few wants.”
~ Epictetus
“What really counts in life can’t be counted.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. The trite subjects of human efforts, possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The most precious things in life are not those one gets for money”. . . . . Money only appeals to selfishness and always irresistibly tempts its owner to abuse it. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus or Gandhi with the moneybags of Carnegie?”
~ Albert Einstein



Seek More Than Meets The Eye

Do not cherish
that which will perish.

Do not treasure
fleeting pleasure –

Or what you can measure.

Do not believe
what you perceive;

And do not seek
what you can speak.

Seek the ineffable
and it is inevitable

That you will know
the Unknowable –

The Inconceivable!

That you will find –
Beyond your mind –

Eternal Peace!



Ron’s audio recitation of Seek More Than Meets The Eye

Listen to



Ron’s Explanation and Dedication of “Seek More Than Meets The Eye”

Dear Friends,

The foregoing poem, “Seek More Than Meets The Eye” was inspired by Jesus’ teaching to lay up “treasures in heaven”, rather than earthly treasures. [Matthew 6:19-21].

Before discovering that scriptural passage, my midlife spiritual awakening had apparently revived previously subdued ascetic propensities – perhaps from other contemplative lifetimes. So, I had begun following a life-style much simpler and more reclusive than during my married years. And I became evermore convinced of the wisdom of living a simple and virtuous life, largely detached from worldly pleasures and treasures, while focusing on infinite spiritual riches within.

Hence after discovering Jesus’ teaching about forgoing worldly treasures I was inspired to poetically share its essence, which was consistent and harmonious with my deepest intuitions and tendencies. And soon I found many more inspiring parallel teachings in all other enduring wisdom traditions, like the quotations (preceding the poem) about renouncing worldly wealth.

These perennial teachings are especially important today in affluent corporate-capitalist societies where people are importuned and ‘brain washed’, via insidious advertising and marketing techniques, to greedily seek unneeded things and experiences, as our species insanely and unsustainably pillages, plunders, and poisons our precious planet’s finite resources crucial to sustaining life on Earth as we’ve known it.

But pleasures from such possessions and experiences are always fleeting, and can never bring enduring happiness and peace of mind.

As the Dalai Lama observes:

“Physical comforts cannot subdue mental suffering, and if we look closely, we can see that those who have many possessions are not necessarily happy.
In fact, being wealthy often brings even more anxiety.


So the foregoing poem and quotes are offered to remind us to lay up “treasures in heaven”, rather than futilely pursuing transient earthly possessions and pleasures.

May they help us discover that the enduring happiness we all (knowingly or unknowingly) seek is never in superfluous possessions or pleasures, but ever in our sacred hearts and souls.

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

2020 Epilogue

Living a virtuous life, detached from worldly pleasures and treasures, may be more important now than ever before in modern recorded human history.

On January 23, 2020 the ‘Doomsday’ clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was reset to 100 seconds to midnight, symbolizing potential human destruction by nuclear catastrophe or climate collapse as nearer than ever before.

To explain, the atomic scientists said to leaders and citizens of the world that:

“Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.”

“Public engagement and civic action are needed and needed urgently. Science and technology can bring enormous benefits, but without constant vigilance, they bring enormous risks as well.”

Invocation.

May the foregoing “Seek More Than Meets The Eye” poem and wisdom teachings inspire our enhanced collective vigilance and awareness that the enduring happiness we all (knowingly or unknowingly) seek is never found in superfluous diversions, possessions or pleasures, but ever abides in our eternal hearts and souls.


And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

Tuned Out, to Tune In –
Being in the world, but not of the world

“That which is timeless is found now.”
~ Buddha
“Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here,
and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,
we cannot be in touch with life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Tao and Zen
are NOW,
not then.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
“Fools follow the desires of the flesh
and fall into the snare of all-encompassing death;
but the wise, knowing the Self as eternal,
seek not the things that pass away”
~ Katha Upanishad 2:1:2
“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold;
happiness dwells in the soul.”
~ Democritus
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions,
but in having few wants.”
~ Epictetus

 



Tuned Out, to Tune In

I’ve temporarily tuned
out of temporality,

And tuned in to timelessness.

And an inner voice says silently:

Now it’s time to live
in timeless temporality –

In the world,
but not of the world –

NOW.



Ron’s audio recitation of “Tuned Out, to Tune In”

Listen to



Ron’s explanation of “Tuned Out, to Tune In”

Dear Friends,

The above whimsical poem, “Tuned Out, to Tune In”, is about living timelessly in time, and thus being in the world but not of the world – a spiritually significant state.

Spiritual teachings often stress importance of living compassionately in the timeless NOW, while dispassionately letting go of ego attachments to constantly changing outcomes and occurrences.

Yogis and mystics in other times have attained and maintained elevated states of detached awareness by taking refuge in forests, on mountains, or in caves. But such stress-free environments or circumstances are now increasingly rare in wealthy materialist societies. Spiritual aspirants living in crowded and polluted urban environments are especially challenged to maintain such mindfulness, while acting skillfully and compassionately in this turbulent age of mental malaise, rife with suffering of most life forms on our precious planet.

Today’s whimsical verses were composed years ago, after I’d begun wondering about how to best live timelessly in time, in the world but not of the world.  

Initially I was inspired by Jesus’ teachings to abjure earthly treasures and pleasures, but seek treasures of heaven. (See https://sillysutras.com/seek-more-than-meets-the-eye/) Thereafter, Hindu teachings about vairagya (dispassion), and Buddhist scriptures about avoiding attachments were influential.

And by observing the compassion with dispassion of my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and other spiritual masters (like the Dalai Lama), I gleaned great inspiration. 

Thus, gradually I learned that with stilled minds and opened hearts it’s possible for us to psychologically transcend ego-mind attachments to outcomes of ever impermanent and uncertain worldly happenings, even though we have deep concerns about social injustice and suffering. And I have long aspired to attain such a skilled spiritual state.

Living dispassionately, skillfully and sanely in our stressful culture is an evolutionary challenge for all of us. So, “Tuned Out, to Tune In” has been posted today to encourage us to live more and more in the timeless present, yet to follow our heart while dispassionately letting go of ego-mind’s attachments to constantly changing outcomes.

May we thereby bless all Life by compassionately and dispassionately being in the world but not of the world, while letting go of ego.


And so may it be!

Ron Rattner