Asking What Makes You Come Alive

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
— Howard Thurman in Violence Unveiled by Gil Bailie

Being an Agent of Change

"You must lay your lives on the altar of social change so that wherever you are there the Kingdom of God is at hand!"
— Howard Thurman in A Strange Freedom

Blending with Another's Landscape

"It's a miracle when one man, standing in his place, is able, while remaining there, to put himself in another man's place. To send his imagination forth to establish a beachhead in another man's spirit, and from that vantage point so to blend with the other's landscape that what he sees and feels is authentic …To experience this is to be rocked to one's foundations."
— Howard Thurman in Soul of a Citizen by Paul Rogat Loeb

Doing What Fires You Up

"Do what is on fire inside of you. More often than anything else, the world needs persons who are on fire."
— Howard Thurman in Addicted to Hurry by Kirk Byron Jones

Following the Grain in Your Own Wood

"As Howard Thurman — professor of spiritual resources and disciplines, mystic, friend — frequently said to me: 'Follow the grain in your own wood.' It is precisely the unique, special, and unrepeatable being of the beloved that inspires desire and devotion."
— Sam Keen in To Love and Be Loved

Hunting for the Eternal

"Wherever man has this sense of the Eternal in his spirit, he hunts for it in his home, in his work, among his friends, in his pleasures, and in all the levels of his function. It is my simple faith that this is the kind of universe that sustains that kind of adventure, and what we see dimly now in the churning confusion and chaos of our tempestuous times will someday be the common experience of all the children of men everywhere."
— Howard Thurman in Wrestling with the Prophets by Matthew Fox

Keeping Horizons Open

"The hard thing when you get old is to keep your horizons open. The first part of your life everything is in front of you, all your potential and promise. But over the years, you make decisions, you carve yourself into a given shape. Then the challenge is to keep discovering the green growing edge."
— Howard Thurman in Learning to Fly by Sam Keen

Looking at Change Within

"You can't stand in the midst of the world and struggle for fundamental change unless you are standing in your own space and looking for change within."
— Howard Thurman in Embracing the World by Jane Vennard

Making One's Pain Contribute to Meaning

"And this is important to remember: given the fact of pain as a normal part of the experience of life, one may make the pain contribute to the soul, to the life meaning. One may be embittered, ground down by it, but one need not be. The pain of life may teach us to understand life and, in our understanding of life, to love life. To love life truly is to be whole in all one's parts; and to be whole in all one's parts is to be free and unafraid."
— Howard Thurman in Prayers for Hope and Comfort edited by Maggie Oman Shannon

Quieting Fear

"One night I was awakened by my mother, who asked if I would like to see the comet. I got up, dressed quickly, and went out with her to the back yard. There I saw in the heavens the awesome tail of the comet and stood transfixed. With deep anxiety I asked, without taking my eyes off it, 'What will happen to us when that thing falls out of the sky?' There was a long silence during which I felt the gentle pressure of her fingers on my shoulders; then I looked into her face and saw what I had seen on another occasion, when without knocking I had rushed into her room and found her in prayer. At last she said, 'Nothing will happen to us, Howard. God will take care of us.' In that moment something was touched and kindled in me, a quiet reassurance that has never quite deserted me. As I look back on it, what I sensed then was the fact that what stirred in me was one with what created and controlled the comet. It was this inarticulate awareness that silenced my fear and stilled my panic."
— Howard Thurman in 40-Day Journey with Howard Thurman by Donna Schaper and Howard Thurman

Resting in the Spirit of God

"As the sea gull lays in the wind current,
so I lay myself into the spirit of God."
— Howard Thurman in Morning B.R.E.W. by Kirk Byron Jones

Validating the Integrity of Inner Life

"All my life I have been seeking to validate, beyond all ambivalences and frustrations, the integrity of the inner life. I have sensed the urgency to find a way to act and react responsibly out of my own center. I have sought a way of life that could come under the influence of, and be informed by, the fruits of the inner life."
— Howard Thurman in Wrestling with the Prophets by Matthew Fox