"There comes a time when the emptiness of our minds and souls is a gift of God. For as long as our spirits are filled with a God constructed from our images and words, there is no room for a God who goes beyond all our words."
--St. John of the Cross
"Thinking and remembering are forms of spiritual understanding in which the eye of the spirit is opened and closed upon things as the eye of a marksman is on his target. But I tell you that everything you dwell upon during this work becomes an obstacle to union with God. For if your mind is cluttered with these concerns, there is no room for him."
--The Cloud of Unknowing, Anonymous,
"First, one simply watches for a set period of time, observing his thoughts. He eventually will notice that the mind is emptying, his thoughts are slowing a bit from their habitual flow. He then must repeat a single verse or phrase, such as "God is truly God", in order to insert a thought of holiness into his now open mind. After these steps, he can articulate a need for help in any one of the areas of character development which he needs to work on, be it faith or love or awe."
--Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira
(Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto)
(Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto)
"One should not stand up to say prayer save in a reverent frame of mind. The pious ones of old used to be still [shoshin] an hour before praying in order that they might concentrate their thoughts upon heaven."
--Talmud, Mishnah, Berachot 5:1
"The explanation of shohin is they restrained themselves: that is to say, they restrained themselves for one hour prior to praying in order to settle their minds and quiet their thoughts. Only then would they pray."
--Commentary on Mishnah, Berachot 5:1, by Maimonides, the great Jewish medieval philosopher
"Be quiet in your confusion, and bewildered. When you're completely empty, within that silence, you'll be saying, Lead me."
"Be quiet in your mind, quiet in your senses, and also quiet in your body. Then, when all these are quiet, don't do anything. In that state truth will reveal itself to you. It will appear in front of you and ask, "What do you want?"
"If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's there are few."
"Only when you have nothing in your mind and no mind in things are you vacant and spiritual, empty and marvellous."
"Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind rest at peace. The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the source. Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature."
"A man does not seek to see himself in running water, but in still water. For only what is itself still can impart stillness to others."
"Let the thoughts arise, but don't allow them landing space."
"When the mind is quiet, we come to know ourselves as the pure witness. We withdraw from the experience and its experiencer and stand apart in pure awareness, which is between and beyond the two."
"Learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb."
"To a living thing which is constantly in movement, which has no resting place, how can there be a guide, a path? Can you put aside the teacher, the path, the end--put it aside so completely that your mind is empty of all this seeking?"