White Horses

Blue Minded


I’ve never understood the ‘things to do before you die’ idea. If I was ill, I’d be in no mood to have a swim with a dolphin.



We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.



Maybe a life of devotion doesn’t need to be robes and chanting; maybe it’s just going through life with open eyes and an open mind, looking out for chances to help people and buzz on the altruistic zip it gives, like coins in Mario Land.



When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. You’re constantly saying “You’re too this”, or “I’m too that”. That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.



When you talk, you’re only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.



Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.



Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.



The writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.



The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.



We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?



Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals. Except the weasel.



Arguments for preservation based on the beauty of wilderness are sometimes treated as if they were of little weight because they are “merely aesthetic”. That is a mistake. We go to great lengths to preserve the artistic treasures of earlier human civilisations. It is difficult to imagine any economic gain that we would be prepared to accept as adequate compensation for, for instance, the destruction of the paintings in the Louvre. How should we compare the aesthetic value of wilderness with that of the paintings in the Louvre? Here, perhaps, judgment does become inescapably subjective; so I shall report my own experiences. I have looked at the paintings in the Louvre, and in many of the other great galleries of Europe and the United States. or by a stream tumbling over moss-covered boulders set amongst tall tree-ferns, growing in the shade of the forest canopy. I do not think I am alone in this; for many people, wilderness is the source of the greatest feelings of aesthetic appreciation, rising to an almost mystical intensity.

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