Discover Soul In Things

"Living artfully might require taking the time to buy things with soul for the home. Good linens, a special rug, or a simple teapot can be a source of enrichment not only in our own life, but also in the lives of our children and grandchildren. The soul basks in this extended sense of time. But we can't discover the soul in a thing without first taking time to observe it and be with it for a while. This kind of observation has a quality of intimacy about it."
Care of the Soul

Practice Daily Arts

"As we practice our daily arts, if only in the composing of a heart-felt letter, we are unearthing the eternal from within ordinary time, engaging in the special qualities, themes, and circumstances of the soul. Soul thrives as we jot down a thought in our diary or note a dream, and give body to a slight influx of eternity. Our notebooks then truly become our own private gospels and sutras, our holy books, and our simple paintings truly serve as icons, every bit as significant in the work of our own soul as the wonderful icons of the Eastern churches are for their congregations."
Care of the Soul

Look for the Sacred Dimension

"Every issue, no matter how secular it appears to be, has a sacred dimension. If you press anything far enough, you will come up against either the holy or the demonic."
Care of the Soul

Stop the World

"Pleasure, like a glass of wine after hard work, stops the world, preparing an individual to be more receptive to the subtle nuances of his environment, luring him into reverie and reflection. . . Pleasure is time-out."
The Planets Within

A New Kind of Materialism

"What does it take to really own and possess? It means loving a thing so much that one can't be parted from it, can't stand to see it neglected and misused, can't trust that someone else will care for it sufficiently. Our materialism is a sign that we don't love the world nearly enough."
Meditations: On the Monk Who Dwells in Daily Life


"Each friend is indeed a world, a special sphere of certain emotions, experiences, memories, and qualities of personality. Each friend takes us into a world that is ourselves as well. We are all made up of many worlds and each friendship brings one or more of those worlds to life. Friendship 'constellates' (the word means 'an arranging of stars') one's universe of meaning and value. One shares with a friend a unique way of looking at life and experiencing it, and so our friendships perform a kind of astrology of the soul, opening planetary worlds for us, to give our lives culture and articulation. To lose a friend is to suffer the loss of worlds, and to be lacking in friendship altogether is to be cut off, in a deeply felt way, from a richly self-defining way of being in the world."
Soul Mates: Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship

Soul In The Work-Place

"The workplace, too, could be less artificial, providing workers with fresh air, natural light, a human schedule and pace, signs of nature, and things of beauty. As with all things, enchantment usually asks for only a small libation poured in its honor: a lovely antique, a well-crafted chair, an artist's painting, a colored wall, a remarkable door, a lamp with personality, some hand-worked clay, intimate lighting, a view of a landscape, a pleasing pot, a wondrous plant, a vase of fresh flowers, access to a park, flowing water, a few inches of wood. We may need to pry ourselves loose from the clutches of function, profit, authority, and productivity, which keep soul and work, enchantment and the commercial life, at odds."
The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life

The Valuable Gift of Dreams

"The most valuable gift of dreams is not specific insights or meanings — most of us have too many ideas about ourselves — but rather the development of an attitude toward life that appreciates the importance of imagery, mystery, and interior experience. Dreams teach us how to live an enchanted life: how to glimpse underworld themes and characters in daily life, how to look at and listen to the arts, how to reflect deeply on relationships, and how to see the soul in our work."
The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life


"Sex brings living beings into the world, but it also invites the vitality and exuberance of sheer life. Sex is infinitely more than the biological, because it is one of the most potent and creative manifestations of the soul. Sex has an abundance of soul, and perhaps that is why it is both immensely attractive and fervently contained. It creates friendships, families, and cultures, and at the same time it threatens these very accomplishments. Full of contradictions, easily distanced by religious moralism and scientific explanation, sex challenges us to the very limits of imagination.

"Fortunately, we have widespread and ancient traditions in literature, art, and ritual that help us glimpse the sublime implications of sex and the deeper workings of romance. Sex is implicated in all movement toward union, the reconciliation of opposites, and the fulfillment and completion of all our activities. Our relations with nature and culture all have a sexual dimensions to the extent that they involve our bodies and senses, our desires and pleasures, our creativity and procreativity."
The Education of the Heart

Dark Nights of the Soul

"Perhaps the dark night comes upon you from inside or outside to wake you up, to stir you and steer you toward a new life. I believe this is the message of most religions, and certainly it is the gist of Christianity and Buddhism. Your dark night may be a bardo, a period of apparent lifelessness that precedes a new birth of meaning. Maybe your dark night is a gestation, a coming into being of a level of existence you have never dreamed of. Maybe your dark night is one big ironical challenge, just the opposite of what it appears to be — not a dying, but a birthing."
Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ordeals

Beauty Feeds the Soul

"Beauty feeds the soul, wakens it, and brings it to life as nothing else can. Beauty is a deep-seated reaction to some meaningful and stunning presentation of life. It stops you and gives you an instant promise of pleasure. But if you have no soul, you won't even see the beautiful in the thick layers of your practicality and in the density of your own ego. All your senses and your full imagination have to be alert when beauty makes its appearance. If you miss it, it is like going without food."
Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ordeals

The Bounties of Religions

"I have been profoundly influenced by the religions of the world. From Zen I have learned never to believe that I have grasped the truth or have understood anything fully. From Taoism I have been taught to find strength in yielding and never to believe that my conception of the meaning of things is ever completely accurate. I have learned from Christian mystics to be content in a cloud of unknowing, to risk the dark night of the soul, and to cultivate deep and ironic ignorance. Among the Sufis and Native Americans I find the image of the fool as a persona of holiness."
The Soul's Religion: Cultivating a Profoundly Spiritual Way of Life

To Be Spiritual

"Spiritual people often speak glowingly of wholeness and pursue it as an ideal. But the soul is present in disintegration as well when we have entered life generously and have been affected, having lost our original innocence and ideals.

"To be spiritual is to be taken over by a mysterious, divine compulsion to manifest some aspect of life's deepest force. We become most who we are when we allow the spirit to dismember us, unsettling our plans and understandings, remaking us from the very foundations of our existence. Nothing is more challenging, nothing less sentimental, than the invitation of spirit to become who we are and not who we think we ought to be."
The Soul's Religion: Cultivating a Profoundly Spiritual Way of Life