The fruitfulness of our life depends in large measure on our ability to doubt our own words and to question the value of our own work. The man who completely trusts his own estimate of himself is doomed to sterility. All he asks of any act he performs is that it be his act. If it is performed by him, it must be good. All words spoken by him must be infallible. The car he just bought is the best for its price, for no other reason that he is the one who has bought it. He seeks no other fruit than his, and therefore he generally gets no other.

If we believe ourselves in part, we may be right about ourselves. If we are completely taken in by our own disguise, we cannot help being wrong.

 

–Thomas Merton

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Eliminate sageliness, throw away knowledge,

And the people will benefit a hundred fold.

Eliminate humanity, throw away righteousness,

And the people will return to filial piety and compassion.

Eliminate craftiness, throw away profit,

Then we will have no robbers and thieves.

These three sayings-

Regarded as a text are not yet complete.

Thus, we must see to it that we have the following appended:

Manifest plainness and embrace the genuine

Lessen self-interest and make few your desires

Eliminate learning and have no undue concern.

 

–Tao te chin (chap. 19)

 

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“Life is sometimes hard. But pride, distraction, doubt, and guilt lead us ever further from the goal, which is an opening of the mind to the Infinite. Yet overcoming these obstacles can be our greatest opportunity to practice the four qualities of consciousness. Kavvanah (intent), ratzon (will), m’sirah (surrender), and devekut (rapturous union), leavened with a liberal dose of humor and patience, are the foundation of spiritual practice.”

 

Avram Davis (The Way of Flame)

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