who lived a little more than five hundred years before Christ, and whose
genius ushered in the Golden Age of Greece, taught his disciples to live
for the day only. He urged them never to worry about anything, especially
what was over and done with and could never be undone. One of his most
famous sayings was, “leave not the mark of the pot upon the ashes!” In
other words: wipe out the past, forget it, start the day fresh, It was the
only way to achieve the peace of a contented mind.
before Pythagoras, and in all the centuries since, men have sought what
Buddha called “equanimity” …what Epicures called “tranquility”
…what the poet Whittier called “the harvest song of inward peace.”
And the verdict of the ages is that “nothing can bring you peace but
yourself.” No one can give you the gift of a serene mind, a calm and
tranquil way of life. It is something you must develop for yourself,
can bring you peace but yourself.
for the day only, and the day’s work. …The chief worries of life
arise from the foolish habit of looking before and after.
greatest gift …is the realization that life does not consist either
of wallowing in the past or of peering anxiously at the future; and it
is appalling to contemplate the great number of often painful steps by
which one arrives at a truth so bold, so obvious, and is so frequently
expressed. It is good for one to appreciate that life is now. Whatever
it offers, little or much, life is now, this day, this hour.
us be good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are
those, which never happen.
want to gain emotional poise? Remember the hourglass. The grains of
sand dropping one by one. …The crowded hours come to you always one
moment at a time.
in human affairs is worth any great anxiety.
can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone do his
work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently,
lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all that life
best medicine is to stop thinking about yourself, and start thinking
about other people.
- Ah my Beloved,
fill the cup that clears
Today of past
Regrets and future Fears:
Why, tomorrow I may be
Yesterday’s Sev’n thousand Years.
The Moving Finger
writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all
your Piety nor Wit
lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears
wash out a Word of it.
good to others is not a duty. It is a joy, for it increases your own
health and happiness.
- Build a little
fence of trust
Fill the space
with loving works,
Look not through
the sheltering bars
God will help thee
bear what comes
Of joy or sorrow.
rave no more ‘gainst time or fate, for Lo! My own shall come to me.
when you look into your own heart, you find nothing wrong there, what
is there to worry about, what is there to fear?
is not satisfaction. It is the grateful, faithful, fruitful use of
what we have, little or much. It is to take the cup of Providence, and
call upon the name of the Lord. What the cup contains is its contents.
To get all there is in the cup is the act and art of contentment. Not
to drink because one has but half a cup, or because one does not like
it’s flavor, or because someone else has silver to one’s own
glass, is to lose the contents; and that is the penalty, of not the
meaning of discontent. No one is discontented who employs and enjoys
to the utmost what he has. It is high philosophy to say, we can have
just what we like if we like what we have; but this much at least can
be done, and this is contentment: to have the most and best in life by
making the most and best of what we have.
contended mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world.
are not from the abundance of worldly goods, but from a contented mind.
the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need.
… I live more simply now, and with more peace.
Richard E. Byrd
- What is this life
if, full of care,
We have no time to
stand and stare?-
No time to stand
beneath the boughs
And stare as long
as sheep or cows:
No time to see,
when woods we pass,
hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in
Streams full of
stars, like skies at night:
A poor life
this if, full of care,
We have no time to
stand and stare.
your life without comparing it with that of others.
- A man may have a
home, possessions, a charming family, and yet find all these things
ashy to his taste because he has been outstripped in the marathon race
by some other runners to the golden tape line. It is not that he does
not possess enough for his wants but that others possess more. It is
the more that haunts him, makes him deprecate himself, and
minimize his real achievements. This is the cancer eating away his
The time has come
when a man must say to himself: “I am no longer going to be
interested in how much power or wealth another man possesses so long
as I can attain enough for the dignity and security of my family and
myself. I am going to break through this vicious circle, which always
asks the question of life in a comparative degree: “Who is
bigger?” “ Who is richer?” “Who has more?” I am going to set
my goals for myself rather than borrow them from others. I will strive
to achieve a mature attitude toward success, which is ambition for
growth and accomplishment, real accomplishments rather than spurious,
decorative, and vanity-filled acquisition. I refuse any longer to
destroy my peace of mind by striving after wind, and I will judge
myself in the scale of goodness and culture as well as in the balance
of silver and gold. Such a man is on the road to avoiding the neurotic
materialism of our age. His like the poet who does not tear himself to
pieces because the sunset is not equal to that of Shakespeare. He is
like the musician who does not always despise his little fugue because
it lacks the magic of Bach. He is like poet or musician who learns to
accept himself and to be happy with his own growth from year to year
rather than paralyze his gifted pen or his talented ear by contrast
with the giants and the immortals.
Psychology will help
religion to diminish the worship of the golden calf among men as it
aids men to become free of their over excessive demands upon
themselves. When, instead of the pathological race for more houses and
jewels, cars and refrigerators, bonds and stocks … when, instead of
seeking these fictitious goals, men learn a certain modesty about
things and become genuinely contented with their real contributions
and achievements-only then is serenity achieved. Only when we harness
our own creative energies to goals, which are of our own adult
choice, not imposed upon us by the compulsions of unresolved
childhood competition, can we call ourselves mature and happy.