A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.
—Byron Katie (b.1942) American Speaker, Author
It is easy to talk of sitting at home contented, when others are seeing or making shows. But not to have been where it is supposed, and seldom supposed falsely, that all would go if they could; to be able to say nothing when everyone is talking; to have no opinion when everyone is judging; to hear exclamations of rapture without power to depress; to listen to falsehoods without right to contradict, is, after all, a state of temporary inferiority, in which the mind is rather hardened by stubbornness, than supported by fortitude. If the world be worth winning let us enjoy it, if it is to be despised let us despise it by conviction. But the world is not to be despised but as it is compared with something better.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.
—Zen Proverb Japanese School of Mahayana Buddhism
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.
—Laozi (fl.6th Century BCE) Chinese Philosopher, Sage
I ask you to join in a re-United States. We need to empower our people so they can take more responsibility for their own lives in a world that is ever smaller, where everyone counts. We need a new spirit of community, a sense that we are all in this together, or the American Dream will continue to wither. Our destiny is bound up with the destiny of every other American.
—Bill Clinton (b.1946) American Head of State, Lawyer, Public Speaker
The kind of relatedness to the world may be noble or trivial, but even being related to the basest kind of pattern is immensely preferable to being alone.
—Erich Fromm (1900–80) German-American Psychoanalyst, Social Philosopher
Attachment to spiritual things is.. just as much an attachment as inordinate love of anything else.
—Thomas Merton (1915–68) American Trappist Monk
Do you want to be right more than you want to know the truth? It’s the truth that set me free. Acceptance, peace, and less attachment to a world of suffering are all effects of doing The Work. They’re not the goals. Do The Work for the love of freedom, for the love of truth.
—Byron Katie (b.1942) American Speaker, Author
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.
—Allen Ginsberg (1926–97) American Poet, Activist
I would like to explain the meaning of compassion, which is often misunderstood. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the rights of the other: irrespective of whether another person is a close friend or an enemy, as long as that person wishes for peace and happiness and wishes to overcome suffering, then on that basis we develop genuine concern for his or her problem. This is genuine compassion. Usually when we are concerned about a close friend, we call this compassion. This is not compassion; it is attachment. Even in marriage, those marriages that last only a short time do so because of attachment—although it is generally present—but because there is also compassion. Marriages that last only a short time do so because of a lack of compassion; there is only emotional attachment based on projection and expectation. When the only bond between close friends is attachment, then even a minor issue may cause one’s projections to change. As soon as our projections change, the attachment disappears—because that attachment was based solely on projection and expectation. It is possible to have compassion without attachment—and similarly, to have anger without hatred. Therefore we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment, and between anger and hatred. Such clarity is useful in our daily life and in our efforts towards world peace. I consider these to be basic spiritual values for the happiness of all human beings, regardless of whether one is a believer or a nonbeliever.
—The 14th Dalai Lama (b.1935) Tibetan Buddhist Religious Leader, Civil Rights Leader, Philosopher, Author
Softly and kindly remind yourself, “I cannot own anything.” It is a valuable thought to keep in mind as you struggle to improve your financial picture, worry about investments, and plan how to acquire more and more. It is a universal principle which you are part of. You must release everything when you truly awaken. Are you letting your life go by in frustration and worry over not having enough? If so, relax and remember that you only get what you have for a short period of time. When you awaken you will see the folly of being attached to anything.
—Wayne Dyer (1940–2015) American Self-Help Author
None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
—The Holy Bible Scripture in the Christian Faith
To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows. It’s easy to say no, even if it means dying.
—Jean Anouilh (1910–87) French Dramatist
Those who consciousness is unified abandon all attachment to the results of action and attain supreme peace. But those whose desires are fragmented, who are selfishly attached to the results of their work, are bound in everything they do.
—The Bhagavad Gita Hindu Scripture
The releasing of attachment to object and certain beliefs was already indelibly written as a very necessary step in my human progress toward being.
—Marlo Morgan (1937–98) American Novelist, Author
Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached.
—Simone Weil (1909–1943) French Philosopher, Political Activist
The gap between the committed and the indifferent is a Sahara whose faint trails, followed by the mind’s eye only, fade out in sand.
—Nadine Gordimer (1923–2014) South African Novelist, Short-Story Writer