Tuesday, November 22, 2011

T.S. Eliot on Spirituality

“Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind cannot bear very much reality.”

“In my beginning is my end. In succession houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended, are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.”

“The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.”

“I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you…I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope. For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love. For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith. But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.”

“You say I am repeating something I have said before. I shall say it again.”

“To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not, you must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.”

“To be restored, our sickness must grow worse.”

“Trying to learn to use words, and every attempt is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure.”

“There is only the fight to recover what has been lost and found and lost again and again…”

“For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”

“Home is where one starts from.”

“The river is within us, the sea is all about us.”

“What was believed in as the most reliable, and therefore the fittest for renunciation.”

“The moments of happiness, not the sense of well-being, fruition, fulfillment, security or affection, or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination.”

“We had the experience but missed the meaning. And approach to meaning restores the experience in a different form, beyond any meaning we can assign to happiness.”

“People change, and smile: but the agony abides. Time the destroyer is time the preserver.”

“Fare forward, travellers! Not fare well, but fare forward, voyagers.”

“Consider the future and the past with an equal mind.”

“But to apprehend the point of intersection of the timeless with time, is an occupation for the saint. No occupation either, but something given in a lifetimes death in love, ardour, and selflessness and self-surrender.”

“These are only hints and guesses, hints followed by guesses; and the rest is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.”

“For most of us, this is the aim never here to be realized; who are only undefeated because we have gone on trying.”

“The life of significant soil.”

“If you came at night like a broken king, if you came by day not knowing what you came for, it would be the same…and what you thought you came for is only a shell, a husk of meaning.”

“The marred foundations we forgot, of sanctuary and choir.”

“Too strange to each other for misunderstanding.”

“So I find words I never thought to speak.”

“The conscious impotence of rage at human folly, and the laceration of laughter at what ceases to amuse. And last, the rending pain of re-enactment of all that you have done, and been; the shame of motives late revealed, and the awareness of things ill done and done to others’ harm which once you took for virtue.”

“All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

“Who then devised the torment? Love. Love is the unfamiliar Name behind the hands that wove the intolerable shirt of flame which human power cannot remove.”

“We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

“Not known, because not looked for. But heard, half-heard, in the stillness between two waves of the sea.”

“And all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

from Four Quartets


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