Mark Nepo quotes:

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  • Those who truly love us will never knowingly ask us to be other than we are

  • Mysteriously, as elusive as it is, this moment--where the eye is what it sees, where the heart is what it feels--this moment shows us that what is real is sacred

  • We work so hard to get somewhere, to realize a dream, to arrive at some destination, that we often forget that though some satisfaction may be waiting at the end of our endurance and effort, there is great and irreplaceable aliveness in the steps along the way.

  • As the seed buried in the earth cannot imagine itself as an orchid or hyacinth, neither can a heart packed with hurt imagine itself loved or at peace. The courage of the seed is that once cracking, it cracks all the way.

  • In the way that I experience life, the physical world is really just the tip of the iceberg of reality. Whether it's trees or stones or water or animals or stars, everything has an ineffable interior quality.

  • "¦I keep looking for one more teacher, only to find that fish learn from the water and birds learn from the sky."¯ (p.275)

  • The real challenge is to remember to see clearly when everything's flying around us and we're wrapped up in our [emotional] wounds and traumas.

  • I don't personally believe in an arrived state of enlightenment. I feel that being human is a constant practice of return. We have moments of clarity, and then we're confused. We have incredibly sensitive periods of being awake, and then we're numb. Being human is a very universal and a very personal practice of learning how to return when we can't get access to what we know.

  • It has always amazed and humbled me to how the risk to bloom can seem so insurmountable beforehand and so inevitably freeing once the threshold of suffering is crossed.

  • Living is the original art. As a young man I wanted to be a poet and I learned along the way that I already was a poet.

  • In daily terms, the work of listening is to be constantly worn free of our preconceptions and preferences so that nothing stands in the way of our direct experience of life.

  • The things that can restore us have to get in, too. This is what the wisdom of an open heart is all about. All the spiritual traditions speak of this but I love the Tibetan tradition: "A spiritual warrior always has a crack in his heart because that is how the mysteries can get in."

  • Rather than finding heaven on earth, we are asked to release heaven by living on earth.

  • Once waking into the realization that eternity is waiting in every moment, I discovered that wealth is time, not money.

  • To walk quietly until the miracle in everything speaks is poetry, whether we write it down or not.

  • When we keep choosing between right and wrong. We spend our energy sorting life rather than living it.

  • The life of expression is the tuning fork by which we find our way to the sacred.

  • I didn't know the language of my own wisdom. I wanted to be loved and after all the various relationships I went through, I finally realized I am love. I carry love.

  • The fully engaged heart is the antibody for the infection of violence.

  • One of the most challenging ways is to slow down enough to relax our heart and feel what is nearest. It could be the sun reflecting off of broken glass in an alley. It could be the shine on a crow. It could be snow on a lamp post.

  • there is a great choice that awaits us every day: whether we go around carving holes in others because we have been so painfully carved ourselves, or whether we let spirit play its song through our tender experience, enabling us to listen, as well, to the miraculous music coming through others.

  • "¦there are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.

  • My friends are the beings through whom God loves me.

  • In a world where the great technologies enable us to record, replay, cut and paste, zoom in, and delete, listening is the crucial commitment to keep the heart touchable.

  • When we heal ourselves, we heal the world.

  • Whether you find it through mediation or sighing over tea or just turning all your devices off for five minutes, listening is an ancient lifeline by which we are awakened time and again. Once reawakened, we more easily find our way to each other, and so help each other live.

  • When wiggling through a holethe world looks different thanwhen scrubbed clean by the wiggleand looking back.

  • The key to knowing joy is being easily pleased.

  • A love astounds us or a pain consumes us and we forget that we glow on our own.

  • A successful creative expression is one in which the person who has expressed it was transformed for having encountered it

  • Accepting what we're given is a practice in being present to everything beyond us that lets us become intimate with the nature of life.

  • All the buried seeds crack open in the dark the instant they surrender to a process they can't see.

  • Anything or anyone that asks you to be other than yourself is not holy, but is trying only to fill its own need.

  • As nature erodes the earth into magnificent forms, life through endless experience opens us further and further to the essence of what matters. Each time I've been opened further, the way I experience life and receive things has changed.

  • At the heart of each spiritual tradition is the question of how to be in the world without losing what matters, and whether living an awakened life is of any use if we don't bring what matters to bear on the world.

  • Before we can count we are taught to be grateful for what others do. As we are broken open by our experience, we begin to be grateful for what is, and if we live long enough and deep enough and authentically enough, gratitude becomes a way of life.

  • Birds learn how to fly, never knowing where flight will take them.

  • But compassion is a deeper thing that waits beyond the tension of choosing sides. Compassion, in practice, does not require us to give up the truth of what we feel or the truth of our reality. Nor does it allow us to minimize the humanity of those who hurt us. Rather, we are asked to know ourselves enough that we can stay open to the truth of others, even when their truth or their inability to live up to their truth has hurt us.

  • By our very nature, we are a human paradox. We are a human being. The being is infinite and the human is very finite. We walk around like lightening in a bottle.

  • Doing small things with love is the atom of bravery.

  • Each of us carries some wisdom waiting to be discovered at the center of our experience. Everything we meet, if faced and held, reveals a part of that wisdom.

  • Each of us is born with an incorruptible spot of grace.

  • Each soul on earth is complete unto itself.

  • Essentially, the life of expression is the ongoing journey of how we heal each other... for by telling our stories and listening to the stories of others, we let out who we are and find ourselves in each other, and find that we are more together than alone.

  • Even if one glimpses God, there are cuts and splinters and burns along the way.

  • Every human has an unfathomable gift that only meeting life head on will reveal.

  • Everything in life opens and closes, sheds and renews. We are no different. Listening in its endless forms is the way we stay open, the way we stay in relationship, the way we refresh who we are and what we're doing here.

  • For being human, we remember and forget. We stray and return, fall down and get up, and cling and let go, again and again. But it is this straying and returning that makes life interesting, this clinging and letting go - damned as it is - that exercises the heart.

  • For listening to the stories of others ... is a kind of water that breaks the fever of our isolation. If we listen closely enough, we are soothed into remembering our common name.

  • For though we stubbornly cling, believing in our moment of hunger that there is no other possibility of love, we only have to let go of what we want so badly and our life will unfold. For love is everywhere.

  • Four hundred year old trees, who draw aliveness from the earth like smoke from the heart of God, we come, not knowing you will hush our little want to be big; we come, not knowing that all the work is so much busyness of mind; all the worry, so much busyness of heart. As the sun warms anything near, being warms everything still and the great still things that outlast us make us crack like leaves of laurel releasing a fragrance that has always been.

  • Grief can be a slow ache that never seems to stop rising, yet as we grieve, those we love mysteriously become more and more a part of who we are.

  • I had over twenty years ago damaged the cilia in my ears. This has taught me many things. One thing I learned, paradoxically, is that there is much to be heard in silence.

  • I have found that life is alive and we are requested to have a friendship with it, to have a conversation with life and that conversation is restorative and healing and always nearby.

  • I looked a hundred times and all I saw was dust. The sun broke through and flecks of gold filled the air.

  • I started out wanting to write great poems, then wanting to discover true poems. Now, I want to be the poem.

  • I think happiness is overrated, but joy is the key to the thousands of possible moods we can feel. And when we can rest in that joy, then peace is the moment of openness that holds all feeling.

  • I was a very driven person, wanting to help and to do good, hopefully to write and teach in a meaningful way - wanting to make change. And I discovered humbly that life was changing me.

  • I was raised Jewish by atheistic-agnostic parents. During this journey, I had people from all walks and all faiths try to help. A Jewish priest who I was friends with wanted to lay hands on me - I didn't ask questions about how - I just said when and where and how often do you want to do it? I didn't argue.

  • I would rather be fooled than not believe.

  • If I dare to hear you I will feel you like the sun And grow in your direction.

  • If we are to access the resources of life, we must listen with our common heart to the cries of the world.

  • If we devote ourselves to the life at hand, the rest will follow. For life, it seems, reveals itself through those willing to live. Anything else, no matter how beautiful, is just advertising.

  • If you truly hold a stone, you can feel the mountain it came from.

  • In a world that lives like a fist mercy is not more than waking with your hands open.

  • In life as in water, when we curl up or flail we sink. When we spread and go still, we are carried by the largest sea of all: the sea of grace that flows steadily beneath the turmoil of events. And just as fish can't see the ocean they live in, we can't quite see the spirit that sustains us.

  • In the same way that we have to clean wax from our ears and dirt from our eyes, we're all asked to clean out our conclusions and judgments, which block our heart from meeting the world.

  • In truth, our aliveness depends on our ability to sustain wonder: to lengthen the moments we are truly uncovered, to be still and quiet till all the elements of the earth and all the secrets of the oceans stir the aspects of life waiting within us.

  • In truth, the more we lean into life, the more we authentically interact with the world, the brighter our flame.

  • Intuitive listening requires us to still our minds until the beauty of things older than our minds can find us.

  • It is imperative that we find that vital element that brings us alive... the true vitality that waits beneath all occupations for us to tap into, if we can discover what we love. If you feel energy and excitement and a sense that life is happening for the first time, you are probably near your God-given nature. Joy in what we do is not an added feature; it is a sign of deep health.

  • It is the courage to be authentic that keeps us strong enough to withstand the heartbreak through which enlightenment can occur. And it is by honoring how life comes through us that we get the most out of living, not by keeping ourselves out of the way. The goal is to mix our hands in the earth, not to stay clean.

  • It seems that the ancient Medicine Men understood that listening to another's story somehow gives us the strength of example to carry on, as well as showing us aspects of ourselves we can't easily see. For listening to the stories of others - not to their precautions or personal commandments - is a kind of water that breaks the fever of our isolation. If we listen closely enough, we are soothed into remembering our common name.

  • I've learned that loving your self requires a courage unlike any other. It requires us to believe in and stay loyal to something no one else can see that keeps us in the world - our own self worth.

  • Joy in what we do is not an added feature; it is a sign of deep health.

  • Keeping a commitment to listening has led me to my own growth, beyond any imagined dreams I may have had throughout the years.

  • Let the miracles, even the ones we don't want or see, unfold.

  • Let's be in awe which doesn't mean anything but the courage to gape like fish at the surface breaking around our mouths as we meet the air.

  • Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond.

  • Like roots finding water, we always wind up moving towards what sustains us.

  • Listening reminds me how precious it is to be here at all. And so, listening is the first step to peace, both inner peace and the compassion that connects people.

  • Live loud enough in your heart and there is no need to speak.

  • Love and grief enable us to feel how we're all at heart the same. In love and grief, which is always very personal, the distinctions that separate us melt away.

  • Meditation, in all its forms and traditions, is an invitation to listen, to open, to quietly enlist the courage to be touched and formed by life.

  • My own time on earth has led me to believe in two powerful instruments that turn experience into love: holding and listening. For every time I have held or been held, every time I have listened or been listened to, experience burns like wood in that eternal fire, and I find myself in the presence of love. This has always been so.

  • No amount of thinking can stop thinking.

  • No bird can fly without opening its wings, and no one can love without exposing their hearts.

  • Our job is not to expose the mystery but to participate in it.

  • Part of the blessing and challenge of being human is that we must discover our own true nature.

  • Perhaps the hardest thing I've learned, and still struggle with, is that I don't have to be finished in order to be whole.

  • Perhaps the noblest private act is the unheralded effort to ... open our hearts once they've closed, to open our souls once they've shied away.

  • Pursue the obstacle It will set you free

  • Repetition is not failure. Ask the waves, ask the leaves, ask the wind.

  • The broken door lets in the light. The broken heart lets in the world.

  • The extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary.

  • The flower doesn't dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.

  • The further I wake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary. Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is in both the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe. Yes, God is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain, and joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are.

  • The greatest thing we can do to be closer to our own lives and to the freshness of living is to open up again.

  • The greedy one gathered all the cherries, while the simple one tasted all the cherries in one.

  • The humility of wonder opens everything.

  • The journey is made easier when we can accept that the process of living is designed for what matters to come through us tenderly.

  • The many ways to listen have been reaching into me for years. To enter deep listening, I've had to learn how to keep emptying and opening, how to keep beginning. I've had to lean into all I don't understand, accepting that I am changed by what I hear.

  • The mystery is that whoever shows up when we dare to give has exactly what we need hidden in their trouble.

  • The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of thingsstop being a glass. Become a lake.

  • The paradox is that we have this amazing capacity in our minds and hearts to learn and gain insights and then to build a kind of personal storehouse of knowledge. The underside is that those insights harden and fill the spaces in our hearts and minds. They become assumptions, conclusions and judgments.

  • The point of experience is not to escape life but to live it.

  • The real & lasting practice for each of us is to remove what obstructs us so we can be who we are...

  • The resource of life is everywhere, even in the smallest of things and we're never very far from it.

  • The simplest and bravest way to counter the plight of disheartenment is to move toward what is precious.

  • The sun doesn't stop shining because some people are blind.

  • The world needs awakened souls the way a body needs healthy cells.

  • There are many ways that we grow, but there are two major ways: We shed what no longer works, or we're broken open. If we're unwilling to shed, then we will be broken open. Through shedding, we are worn down, just as nature is eroded to its beauty. I think that through suffering, human beings are eroded to our beauty.

  • There is no getting around the fundamental fact that we need to interact with everything in order to manifest the wholeness we are born with.

  • This is the ongoing purpose of full attention: to find a thousand ways to be pierced into wholeness.

  • Through the opened heart, the world comes rushing in, the way oceans fill the smallest hole along the shore. It is the quietest sort of miracle: by simply being who we are, the world will come to fill us, to cleanse us, to baptize us, again and again.

  • To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.

  • To distance ourselves from our experience makes our feelings a liability, while staying in conversation with our experience makes our feelings a resource.

  • To journey without being changed is to be a nomad. To change without journeying is to be a chameleon. To journey and be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim.

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