What we feed the mind is as important as what we feed the body. Use these passages as food for the mind. Here is a suggestion:

Pick one passage to read. Allow the words to just flow in as they will. Read the same passage for at least three days like this. Read this at the same time each day when your mind is quiet.

Then read the passage, this time dwelling on the words: how your mind relates to the text, what meaning you see (not anyone else's interpretation). Do this for at least four days. Some passages may require weeks or months of reflection.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

When people see some things as beautiful,
Other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
Other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the master acts without doing anything
And teaches without saying anything
Things arise and she lets them come
Things disappear and she lets them go
She has but does not possess
Acts but does not expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

— Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching Verse 2.

There is a place that is as far from here as breathing out is from breathing in. For the word is very near to you. Where life forever holds sway over death, where people are human with the same grace that a willow is a willow, where the struggle and the yearning between male and female is at last resolved. It is to begin with, all inside us. But because we are miniature versions of the uiverse, it is also far beyond.

— Lawrence Kushner, Honey from the Rock: An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism, Introduction

Water is formless. The container is form. Water temporarily takes the form of the container. Consciousness is like water. If identification is with the container alone, the Consciousness of Being is totally missed. If the identification is with the Consciousness of Being that has temporarily taken the human form, we realize the greatness of Being. It does not matter if the container gets worn or broken as the Consciousness remains unchanged. You know you are That. That is the Great Being.

— Mahasri

All night, a man called Allah
Until his lips were bleeding.
Then the Devil said, Hey! Mr. Gullible!
How come you have been calling all night
And never once heard Allah say, Here I am?
You call out so earnestly, and in reply, what?
I’ll tell you what. Nothing!

The man suddenly felt empty and abandoned.
Depressed, he threw himself on the ground
And fell into a deep sleep.
In a dream he met Abraham who asked,
Why are you regretting praising Allah?

The man said, I called and called
But Allah never replied, Here I am.
Abraham explained, Allah has said
Your calling My name is My reply.
Your longing for me Me is My message to you.
All your attempts to reach Me
Are My attempts to reach you.
Your fear and love are a noose to catch Me.
In the silence surrounding every call of Allah
Waits a thousand replies of Here I Am.

— Rumi, Here I Am

The inner consciousness
Of the saint
Is the true mosque
Where all should worship.
God lives there.

— Rumi, The Inner Consciousness

The intellectual quest is exquisite like pearls and coral,
But it is not the same as spiritual quest.
The spiritual quest is on another level altogether,
Spiritual wine has a subtler taste.
The intellect and the senses investigate cause and effect,
The spiritual seeker surrenders to the wonder.

— Rumi, The Intellectual Quest

Whatever may seem to bind or limit you,
Declare yourself free from it now.
There is nothing in the outer world,
No person, no condition, no circumstance
That can take away the freedom
Which is yours in spirit.
Instead of wishing that you were free
To live your life differently,
Accept the truth that right now you are free.
Free to change your thinking,
Free to change your outlook on life,
Free to be all that you long to be.
Make this a day of freedom,
Spiritual freedom.
Declare yourself free from anxiety and fear,
Free from any belief in luck or limitation.

— Paramahansa Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Declaration of Freedom

This is not an alarm clock. It is my wake up clock. It is set to ring every morning at two a.m. It wakes me up and the first thing I listen to is God’s name. It is programmed to chant the name of God for forty minutes at a time. So I get up from my bed and sit down to sing Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram Patita Pavan Sitaram, Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram for forty minutes. When I get up, wash myself and start my japa. Oh God, when I sleep You should be the last one whom I shall remember, and when I wake up Your name should be the first thing I hear. So I inaugurate and close the day with God’s name. Anything which is begun well, ends well…. When you chant His name, you do it for yourself.

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— Paramahansa Swami Satyananda Saraswati, God's Name, Friday, Aug. 07, 2009, Rikhiapeeth

Any prospect of awakening or coming to life to a dead man makes indifferent all times and places. The place where they may occur is always the same, and indescribably pleasant to all our senses. For the most part we allow only outlying and transient circumstances to make our occasions. They are, in fact, the cause of our distraction. Nearest to all things is that power which fashions their being. Next to us the grandest laws are continually being executed. Next to us is not the workman whom we have hired, with whom we love so well to talk, but the workman whose work we are.

How vast and profound is the influence of the subtle powers of Heaven and of Earth!

We seek to perceive them, and we do not see them; we seek to hear them, and we do not hear them; identified with the substance of things, they cannot be separated from them.

They cause that in all the universe men purify and sanctify their hearts, and clothe themselves in their holiday garments to offer sacrifices and oblations to their ancestors. It is an ocean of subtle intelligences. They are everywhere; above us, on our left, on our right, they environ us on all sides.

We are the subjects of an experiment which is not a little interesting to me. Can we not do without the society of our gossips a little while under these circumstances—have our own thoughts to cheer us? Confucius says truly, “Virtue does not remain as an abandoned orphan, it must of necessity have neighbors.”

With thinking we may be beside our selves in a sane sense. By a conscious effort of the mind we can stand aloof from actions and their consequences and all things, good and bad, go by us a like a torrent. We are not wholly involved in Nature. I may either be the driftwood in the stream, or Indra in the sky looking down on it. I may be affected by a theatrical exhibition; on the other hand I may not be affected by an actual event which appears to concern me much more. I only know myself as a human entity; the scene so to speak, of thoughts and affections; and am sensible of a certain doubleness by which I can stand as remote from myself as from another. However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me, but spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it, and that is no more I than it is you. When the play, it may be the tragedy, of life is over, the spectator goes his way. It was a kind of fiction, a work of the imagination only, so far as he was concerned. This doubleness may easily make us poor neighbors and friends sometimes.

— Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond pg. 127-128

You are a human being. What does that mean? Mastery of life is not a question of control, but of finding a balance between human and Being. Mother, father, husband, wife, young, old, the roles you play, the functions you fulfill, whatever you do—all that belongs to the human dimension. It has its place and it needs to be honored, but in itself, it is not enough for a fulfilled, truly meaningful relationship or life. Human alone is never enough, no matter how hard you try or what you achieve. Then there is Being. It is found in the still, alert presence of Consciousness itself, the Consciousness that you are. Human is form, Being is formless. Human and Being are not separate but interwoven.

— Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, pg. 104-105

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay.
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon the inner eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

— William Wordsworth, I Wondered Lonely As A Cloud

Behold an emblem of our human mind
Crowded with thoughts that need a settled home,
Yet, like to eddying balls of foam
Within this whirlpool, they each other chase
Round and round, and neither find
An outlet or a resting place!
Stranger, if such a disquietude be thine,
Fall on they knees and sue for help divine.

— William Wordsworth, On The Banks Of A Rocky Stream