Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Favorite Quotations From "Letters to a Young Poet"


“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”

"How can we forget that old myth, which is to be found at the beginning of all peoples-the myth of the dragon, which at the last moment changes into a princess? Perhaps all the dragons of your life are princesses, who are only waiting for us to show a little beauty and courage. Perhaps at the bottom of every horror is something helpless, that wants help from us."

"If it were possible for us to see a little further than our knowledge can reach, to see out a little farther over the outworks of our surmising, we should perhaps bear our griefs with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moment when something new, something unknown enters into us."

"I believe that nearly all our griefs are moments of suspense, which we experience as paralysis, because we can no longer hear our estranged feeling living. Because we are alone with that foreign thing, which has entered into us; because everything in which we have confidence and to which we are accustomed is for a moment taken away from us; because we are in the midst of a state of transition, in which we cannot remain. The grief, too, passes.

"So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.”

"Rejoice in your growth, into which you can take no one with you, and be good to those who remain behind. Be assured and peaceful in their presence, do not torture them with your doubts and do not frighten them with your confidence or your joy, which they could not comprehend."

“Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don't know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.”

"And if we speak once more of loneliness, it becomes even clearer that that is not a thing which one can choose or reject. We are lonely. One can deceive oneself over and over and behave as if it were not so. That is all. But how much better it is to realize that we are lonely and candidly to make that realization our starting point."

"Avoid adding new material to that strained dram which-is ever played between parents and children. It uses up much of the children's strength and consumes the love of the parents, which is always active and warm, even if it does not understand."

"Men have already had to change their conceptions of many processes, and they will gradually come to realize that what we call fate comes out of human beings themselves and does not come upon them from without."

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