Meditation – Julian of Norwich

Meditation
Prayer unites the soul to God. For though the soul be ever like to God in nature and substance, restored by grace, it is often unlike in condition by sin on man’s part. Then is prayer a witness that the soul wills as God wills, and it comforts the conscience and enables man to grace. And He teaches us to pray and mightily trust that we shall have it. For He beholdeth us in love and would make us partners of His good deed. And therefore He moves us to pray for that which it pleases Him to do.

Prayers (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series)

Julian of Norwich (c. 8 November 1342 – c. 1416) was an English Christian mystic and theologian. Little is known of her life. Even her name is uncertain, the name “Julian” probably originated from the Church of St. Julian, Norwich, where she was an anchoress.

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“A man watches a movie, and the critic must acknowledge that he is that man.” – Robert Warshow

Within a day after Zonka gave me the job, I read The Immediate Experience by Robert Warshow. He wrote, “A man watches a movie, and the critic must acknowledge that he is that man.” By this he meant that the critic has to set aside theory and ideology, theology and politics, and open himself to—well, the immediate experience. More than once in my early years his words allowed me to find an approach to writing about movies I didn’t understand, like Bergman’s Persona the first time I saw it. I wrote about what happened to me.

Ebert, Roger. Life Itself
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Bruce Lee on Self Acceptance

This was exactly what Professor Yip meant by being detached — not being without emotion or feeling, but being one in whom feeling was not sticky or blocked. Therefore in order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature.

Be Like Water: The Philosophy and Origin of Bruce Lee’s Famous Metaphor for Resilience, Maria Popova
Brain Pickings

“This is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live unless it first dies” – C.S. Lewis quote

“This is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live unless it first dies. It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go—let it die away—go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow—and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all round them. It is much better fun to learn to swim than to go on endlessly (and hopelessly) trying to get back the feeling you had when you first went paddling as a small boy.”

Lewis, C. S., Mere Christianity  

Miss Amelia’s Whiskey – Carson McCullers

“For the liquor of Miss Amelia has a special quality of its own. It is clean and sharp on the tongue, but once down a man it glows inside him for a long time afterward. And that is not all. It is known that if a message is written with lemon juice on a clean sheet of paper there will be no sign of it. But if the paper is held for a moment to the fire then the letters turn brown and the meaning becomes clear. Imagine that the whisky is the fire and that the message is that which is known only in the soul of a man—then the worth of Miss Amelia’s liquor can be understood. Things that have gone unnoticed, thoughts that have been harbored far back in the dark mind, are suddenly recognized and comprehended.”

Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe: and Other Stories 

The Philosophy of an Epoch, Unknown Assumptions – Alfred Whitehead Quote

“When you are criticizing the philosophy of an epoch, do not chiefly direct your attention to those intellectual positions which its exponents feel it necessary explicitly to defend. There will be some fundamental assumptions which adherents to all the variant systems within the epoch unconsciously presuppose. Such assumptions appear so obvious that people do not know what they are assuming because no other way of putting things has ever occurred to them. With these assumptions a certain limited number of types of philosophic systems are possible, and this group of systems constitutes the philosophy of the epoch.”

Alfred Whitehead, Science and the Modern
Open Library

Hypothetical example – Everything is about Growth. The assumption that growing the GDP is a universal imperative, or that it’s an inherent good. 

“We seek knowledge only because we desire enjoyment, and it is impossible to conceive why a person who has neither desires nor fears would take the trouble to reason.” Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Epigraph to, Great Books, by David Denby

At the age of forty-eight, writer and film critic David Denby returned to Columbia University and re-enrolled in two core courses in Western civilization to confront the literary and philosophical masterpieces — the “great books” — that are now at the heart of the culture wars. In Great Books, he leads us on a glorious tour, a rediscovery and celebration of such authors as Homer and Boccaccio, Locke and Nietzsche. Conrad and Woolf. The resulting personal odyssey is an engaging blend of self-discovery, cultural commentary, reporting, criticism, and autobiography — an inspiration for anyone in love with the written word.

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Building, quotes on

We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.
Winston Churchill

We require from buildings, as from men, two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it; which last is itself another form of duty.
John Ruskin

To be a man is to be responsible: to be ashamed of miseries you did not cause; to be proud of your comrades’ victories; to be aware, when setting one stone, that you are building a world.
Antoine de Saint Exupéry

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. . . we would assume that what it was we meant would have been listed in some book set down beyond the sky’s far reaches, if at all there was a purpose here. But now I think the purpose lives in us and that we fall into an error if we do not keep our own true notebook of the way we came, how the sleet stung, or how a wandering bird cried at the window. . . – LOREN EISELEY

Epigraph from True Notebooks: A Writer’s Year at Juvenile Hall, Mark Salzman

Thoughts and How You Feel

In fact, your thoughts often have much more to do with how you feel than what is actually happening in your life.

This isn’t a new idea. Nearly two thousand years ago the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, stated that people are disturbed “not by things, but by the views we take of them.” In the Book of Proverbs (23: 7) in the Old Testament you can find this passage: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” And even Shakespeare expressed a similar idea when he said: “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2).

Burns M.D., David D.. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy