June 16, 2009

"Notes to Myself"

by Hugh Prather

From the Publisher
Reading Notes To Myself is one of those rare experiences that comes only once in a great while. The editor who discovered the book said, "When I first read Prather's manuscript it was late at night and I was tired, but by the time I finished it, I felt rested and alive. Since then I've reread it many times and it says even more to me now." The book serves as a beginning for the reader's exploration of his or her own life and as a treasury of thoughtful and insightful reminders.

Memorable Quotes:

The way to live is to have no way. My only habit should be to have none. Because I did it this way before is sufficient reason not to do it this way today.

To live my life for results would be to sentence myself to continuous frustration and to hang over my head the threat of death may at any moment make my having lived a waste.

My only sure reward is in my actions and not from them. The quality of my reward is in the depth of my response, the centralness of the part of me I act from.

The most realistic attitude for me to have toward future consequences is "it will be interesting to see what happens."

The rainbow is more beautiful than the pot at the end of it, because the rainbow is now. And the pot never turns out to be quite what I expected.

Fear is static that prevents me from hearing my intuition.

My trouble is I analyze life instead of living it.

As I look back on my life, one of the most constant and powerful things I have experienced within myself is the desire to be more than I am at the moment-an unwillingness to let myself remain where I am-a desire to do more, learn more, express more-a desire to grow, improve, accomplish, expand. I used to interpret this inner push as meaning that there was some one thing out there I wanted to do or be or have. And I have spent too much of my life trying to find it. But now I know that this energy within me is seeking more than the mate or the profession or the religion, more even than pleasure or power or meaning. It is seeking out more of me; or better, it is, thank God, flushing out more of me.

Perfection is slow death. If everything were to turn out just like I would want it to, just like I would plan for it to, then I would never experience anything new; my life would be an endless repetition of stale successes. When I make a mistake I experience something unexpected.

When I have listened to my mistakes I have grown.

I am not responsible for my feelings, but for what I do with them.

I believe that solitude is a profound and needed act of self-love and self-appreciation.

I constrict my vision and disregard my opportunities when I strive. I cannot receive from the unknown when I grasp. Nothing exists for me until I see it. There is little I can do about my feelings, but awareness removes the edge of myopia from my wants.

A plan eliminates boredom by promising change. But, ironically, a plan is only my decision to imagine a different future, and if followed too rigidly it precludes spontaneous happenings.

Words are at times good for looking back, but they are confining when I need to act in the present.

The criticism that hurts the most is the one that echoes my own self-condemnation.

"You're wrong" means "I don't understand you"-I'm not seeing what you're seeing. But there is nothing wrong with you, you are simply not me and that's not wrong.

To err is human-I'm uncomfortable around gods.

I have the choice of being right or being human.

If I need your approval I can't see you.

In order to see I have to be willing to be seen.

If a man takes off his sunglasses I can hear him better.