“So I remember having come home from tour in 1996 after having been in the white-hot heat of the Jagged Little Pill release tour around the planet. And this Rainer Maria Rilke poem just really moved me. I just remember weeping, and weeping, and I would read it over, and over again. So forgive me if I begin to weep again. Just the touring, and the contribution, and the huge energy, and the love, and then coming home, and attempting to sort of process that, and transmute that. The energy can get really high in the human body. So sometimes I notice when there’s an awakening, or an up-leveling, coming home from a tour. In my case, it’s like my body is catching up to the consciousness. So I think of that poem and think how much I love the darkness. It doesn’t scare me.”

I’m Coming Home From My Wings
[ich komme aus meinen schwingen heim]

I come home from the soaring in which I lost myself.
I was song, and the refrain which is God
is still roaring in my ears.

Now I am still
and plain:
no more words.

To the others I was like a wind:
I made them shake.
I’d gone very far, as far as the angels,
and high, where light thins into nothing.

But deep in the darkness is God.

From Rilke’s Book of Hours – Love Poems to God


Alanis Morissette, Award-winning singer/songwriter

“When I first heard this, which I think was actually on New Dimensions Radio, I liked the poetic sound of it. But the more I thought about it the more I realized what it was saying. As you begin to know something, that knowledge reveals to you how much is left to learn. So, if you don’t actually know very much, you have no idea what you don’t know. My study has primarily been focused on psychic phenomena, of which we actually know very little at this point. Over time we begin to make the bonfires glow a little bit more and now we’re beginning to grasp the actual depth of our ignorance which is way more than it originally was.”

As the bonfires of knowledge glow brighter, the more the darkness is revealed to our startled eyes.

Terrence McKenna, American ethnobotanist, mystic, and psychonaut

Dean Radin, Ph.D., Chief Scientist at the
Institute of Noetic Sciences
and author of Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom,
Modern Science
and a Guide to the
Secret Power of the Universe

“I received this quote from one of my teachers, Alia Johnson. It’s a lifelong work that I aspire to every day. Also, the Enneagram is asking us what kind of person we are: How do we show up with other people? Do we have kindness? Do we have courage? Do we have good boundaries? Do we have clarity? As we learn more about these gifts of the nine points of the Enneagram they become ingredients that fold into reformatting us as a person who can be touched by what is awake in others. I think that our human future depends on us finding ways to meet each other that aren’t based on exclusivity, conspiracies, and other kinds of ways that are not effective. Rather, to actually meet from presence, heart to heart, mind to mind. We might be able to figure out some ways forward if we do that.”

For me, the art of life is learning to let what is awake in me touch and be touched by what is awake in the other rather than letting what is asleep in me be annoyed by what is asleep in the other.

Alia Johnson (1948-2010) teacher of the
Diamond Heart Approach founded by A.H. Almaas

Russ Hudson, author of
The Enneagram: Nine Gateways to Presence

“In addition to being a nurse, I’ve worked with outdoor and experiential challenges related to education. Our team of instructors would use that quote a lot just to inspire people to get out of their comfort zones. Just because we don’t want something to happen won’t stop it from happening. Security does not exist in nature and that’s really true for humans. [When faced with challenges] we have the opportunity go forth willingly and try and grow from it because it’s going to happen even when we don’t want it. This quote from Helen Keller is about growth. I also think it relates to chickens because they live in a really dangerous world. Still chickens are living out there, living their best little lives.”

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Helen Keller (1880-1968), an American author, disability rights advocate.
She triumphed over the limitations of both blindness and deafness.

Tedra Hamel, critical care nurse and author of
Therapy Chickens: Let the Wisdom of the Flock Bring You Joy

“This is a beautiful statement and something that I try to live up to. I find when I go outside, which I do every day, I find myself falling over with amazement, and opening to wonder, and awe on a daily basis. Nature seems to invite us into beholding its wonder and mystery. The second part of that statement, ‘I was the bridegroom taking the world into my arms’ is such a beautiful deep reflection because it means coming from the amazement and really being betrothed to amazement. What arises out of that is love. And what arises out of love is the care-taking of the world; taking the world into my arms and protecting it. So, for me, it distills my work of going outside, opening attention, becoming amazed, falling in love, and taking care.”

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Mary Oliver, poet – Ending stanzas from poem When Death Comes

Mark Coleman, teacher of nature-based
meditation practices and author of
A Field Guide to Nature Meditation:
52 Mindfulness Practices for Joy, Wisdom and Wonder

“The possibility of being present in the world in a whole undivided way can be the gift of the animals. Our first bond with animals is profound and enduring. 80% of children’s dreams are about animals. As children we naturally commune with other animals, our pets, and our imaginary friends. We easily shapeshift to imagine our lives as wolves, or bears, or birds, or dinosaurs. We have long ago left the green world, yet the green world and all her animals has never left us. Empathy with animals is not just about saving species. It’s about becoming other species, reclaiming those deepest layers of our animal selves, being present to more than our own lives, embracing all the astonishing beings who share this planet with us.”

The deepest layers of our psyche still have animal characters.

Quote from C.G. Jung as reported by Ladson Hinton, M.D.from an essay,
A Return to Animal Soul, Psychological Perspectives Magazine: 28th issue (1993)

Brenda Peterson, nature writer and author of
Wild Chorus: Finding Harmony with Whales,
Wolves and Other Animals

Brenda Peterson

“In my own life and journey of exploration, often it isn’t that something new has popped up but my awareness has expanded to actually be able to see differently. I feel we’re on a cusp of seeing reality with new eyes. It’s not that it wasn’t there before and now we’ve just discovered it; it’s that we’ve, in a way, had our eyes closed to the deeper nature of reality. We’ve seen the appearance of reality as being duality-based and materialistic, and separated. Scientific evidence now is coming forward and finally catching up with universal spiritual experiences and explorations into consciousness to show the deeper nature of reality. The true nature of reality is that it is unified, and diversified, and profoundly interconnected. Consciousness isn’t something we have, it’s literally what we and the whole world are and that is so empowering and inspiring for me. I just want to share the good news with everybody.”

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) French novelist and essayist.
One of the most influential writers of the 20th century.

Jude Currivan, Ph.D., author of
The Cosmic Hologram:
Information at the Center of Creation

Jude Currivan

“I’ve done eight quotation books. I love doing those because people tell me doing one little quote, like this one from Lao Tzu, changes their life. Words are so powerful. So, it’s important to be aware of whatever words we’re feeding ourselves. I’m hoping these books of quotes will give some compost to people’s soil.”

Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Lao Tzu (604—531 BC), Chinese Taoist philosopher
and author of the Tao Te Ching

Allen Klein, author of
The Change-Your-Life Quote Book,
The Awe Factor: How a Little Bit of Wonder
Can Make a Big Difference in Your Life, and
Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying:
Embracing Life After Loss

“It’s our job to transform the trials that we endured into the art that we produce. Should the occasion arise, I tell my students this is who you could be. This is how I used to be. I disclose I’m on a journey with you. And, if I can get from there to here, brother, sister, so can you. Let me show you how to do it.”

Most wretched men
Are cradled into poetry by wrong,
They learn in suffering what they teach in song.

Julian and Maddalo: A Conversation (1818–19)
is a poem in 617 lines of enjambed heroic couplets
by Percy Bysshe Shelley published posthumously in 1824

Terry Real is a founder of Relational Life Therapy (RLT) and author of
Us: Getting Past You and Me to Build a More Loving Relationship

“This poem embodies empathy for me. It embodies going to a field, I’ll meet you there, let’s start over again with each other, and let’s make this work this time. It’s a beautiful way to say come with me, here’s my hand, join me, we can be friends together, and work towards our connection. I believe that’s what we need most when there is discord in our personal relationships. And, we need it in the world because we’re putting humankind at great risk unless we learn how to go into this field and have empathy for one another. It is there we can have a beautiful change in humanity and in our personal lives. It is there where we can come together when there is discord or disagreement. It is there we can go into the field, start over again, look our opponent in the eyes, and begin to connect. This poem inspired me from the moment I read it years ago. Even today as I read it, it gives me goosebumps. That’s why I chose to put it at the beginning of my book, The Genius of Empathy, because it means so much to me. I also have the privilege of knowing Coleman, who’s an incredible translator and being. So, I want to honor him, Rumi, and the poem which so beautifully opens my heart over and over again.”

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other”
doesn’t make any sense.

Jalaluddin Rumi (1207–1273) The Essential Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne

Judith Orloff, M.D. author of
The Genius of Empathy:
Practical Skills to Heal Your Sensitive Self,
Your Relationships & the World

Judith Orloff

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