When it comes to achieving your goals and living the life you want, I’m sure you’ve come across enough spiritual teachers who make you feel good with what they have to say but deliver little of practical value.
But if you’re looking for some inspiration from three people who not only inspire, but encourage you to seize control of your life, you’ll want to take a look at Wayne Dyer, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Lao Tzu.
Dyer has a practical approach to self-discovery and personal approach, Kabat-Zinn pretty much brought mindfulness from the east to the west, and Tzu arguably founded the philosophical approach to Taoism.
I’ve put together 15 of the most inspiring quotes from Dyer, found 101 brilliant quotes from Tzu and collected 25 of the most revealing quotes from Kabat-Zinn.
If you’re short of time, skim to the bottom to see some of Kabat-Zinn’s final quotes, as they really bring together some of the incredible teachings from the east and the west.
Let’s dive right in.
15 quotes from Wayne Dyer to help inspire you to seize control of your life
Wayne W. Dyer was one of the most influential spiritual teachers to have ever graced this Earth.
Over the four decades of his career, he wrote more than 40 books, including 21 New York Times bestsellers.
Dyer held a doctorate in educational counseling and through his work in clinical psychology, he discovered a widespread need for the principles of self-discovery and personal growth.
His work mainly covered mindfulness, letting go and motivation. He helped countless people discover their true potential and continually stressed that this potential exists inside all of us.
In what was a difficult task considering how many wise quotes he has, I scoured through the web to find some of his most inspirational quotes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”
On judging others
“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.”
“Passion is a feeling that tells you: this is the right thing to do. Nothing can stand in my way. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. This feeling is so good that it cannot be ignored. I’m going to follow my bliss and act upon this glorious sensation of joy.”
On blaming others
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.”
On your reputation
“Your reputation is in the hands of others. That’s what the reputatiocn is. You can’t control that. The only thing you can control is your character.”
Always aim for peace
“When the choice is to be right or to be kind, always make the choice that brings peace”
“Conflict cannot survive without your participation.”
“When you’re at peace with yourself and love your self, it is virtually impossible to do things to yourself that are destructive.”
“Make peace with silence, and remind yourself that it is in this space that you’ll come to remember your spirit. When you’re able to transcend an aversion to silence, you’ll also transcend many other miseries. And it is in this silence that the remembrance of God will be activated.”
“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.”
How to reach your goals
“The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.”
The dance of life
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.”
On being you
“I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I’m not.”
On the present moment
“You’ll seldom experience regret for anything that you’ve done. It is what you haven’t done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it! Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it.”
“It is easy to love people when they smell good, but sometimes they slip into the manure of life and smell awful. You must love them just as much when they smell foul.”
101 quotes by Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu was an ancient philosopher and writer who founded the philosophical framework for Taoism, which has had a huge influence on Chinese culture.
His teachings revolve around respect, relationships and how to live a meaningful life.
These 101 quotes by Lao Tzu are brilliant in their simplicity and can help open your mind to new dimensions.
Here they are.
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.
Act without striving. Work without interfering. Find the flavour in what is flavourless.
All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small.
Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretch her fingers to touch the heavens.
An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.
Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.
At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.
Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
Be the chief but never the lord.
Because of a great love, one is courageous.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning.
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
Do not look only at yourself, and you will see much. Do not justify yourself, and you will be distinguished. Do not brag, and you will have merit. Do not be prideful, and your work will endure.
Few things under heaven bring more benefit than the lessons learned from silence and the actions taken without striving.
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
For the wise man looks into space and he knows there is no limited dimensions.
From caring comes courage.
From wonder into wonder existence opens.
Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.
Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish – too much handling will spoil it.
Great acts are made up of small deeds.
Great indeed is the sublimity of the Creative, to which all beings owe their beginning and which permeates all heaven.
He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty.
He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.
He who does not trust enough, Will not be trusted.
He who is contented is rich.
He who knows himself is enlightened.
He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.
He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.
He who talks more is sooner exhausted.
Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.
How could man rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men?
I do not concern myself with gods and spirits either good or evil nor do I serve any.
I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.
If the Great Way perishes there will morality and duty. When cleverness and knowledge arise great lies will flourish. When relatives fall out with one another there will be filial duty and love. When states are in confusion there will be faithful servants.
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.
If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence.
In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.
In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.
It is better to do one’s own duty, however defective it may be, than to follow the duty of another, however well one may perform it. He who does his duty as his own nature reveals it, never sins.
Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.
Knowing others is to be clever. Knowing yourself is to be enlightened. Overcoming others requires force. Overcoming yourself requires strength.
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.
Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.
Man’s enemies are not demons, but human beings like himself.
Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.
Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.
Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Nature is not human hearted.
Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.
Of all that is good, sublimity is supreme. Succeeding is the coming together of all that is beautiful. Furtherance is the agreement of all that is just. Perseverance is the foundation of all actions.
One can not reflect in streaming water. Only those who know internal peace can give it to others.
One who is too insistent on his own views, finds few to agree with him.
People in their handlings of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure.
Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.
Silence is a source of great strength.
Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength.
Surrender your self-interest. Love others as much as you love yourself. Then you can be entrusted with all things under heaven.
The career of a sage is of two kinds: He is either honored by all in the world, Like a flower waving its head, Or else he disappears into the silent forest.
The higher the sun ariseth, the less shadow doth he cast; even so the greater is the goodness, the less doth it covet praise; yet cannot avoid its rewards in honours.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.
The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.
The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes.
The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.
The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, The more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.
The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.
The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world.
The True Person governs by emptying the heart of desire and filling the belly with food, weakening ambitions and strengthening bones.
The True Person avoids extremes, self-indulgence, and extravagance.
The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who the people revere. The great leader is he who the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’
The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.
The words of truth are always paradoxical.
The True Person benefits yet expects no reward, does the work and moves on. There is no desire to be considered better than others.
There is no greater offence than harbouring desires. There is no greater disaster than discontent. There is no greater misfortune than wanting more.
The ten thousand things flourish and then each returns to the root from which it came. Returning to the root is stillness. Through stillness each fulfils its destiny.
Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.
To know yet to think that one does not know is best; Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.
To lead people walk behind them.
To realize that you do not understand is a virtue; Not to realize that you do not understand is a defect.
To see things in the seed, that is genius.
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.
Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.
Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good.
Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.
Weapons are not proper instruments for gentle people; they use them only when they have no other choice. Peace and quiet are what they value. They do not glory in victory.
What is well rooted cannot be pulled up. What is firmly grasped will not slip loose. It will be honoured from generation to generation.
When a nation is filled with strife, then do patriots flourish.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
When the best leader’s work is done the people say, “We did it ourselves.”
When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder.
When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
Without stirring abroad, One can know the whole world; Without looking out of the window One can see the way of heaven. The further one goes The less one knows.
25 quotes from Jon Kabat-Zinn on mindfulness and letting go
Ever heard of Jon Kabat-Zinn? If not, he’s one of the main reasons mindfulness is in so popular in the west. A professor of Medicine Emeritus, he created the first center for Mindfulness in Medicine in America.
His practice of yoga and studies with Buddhist teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Zen Master Seung Sahn led him to discover the power in mindfulness and its potential benefits for people all over the world.
He says that mindfulness can help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain and illness. He created the stress reduction program (MBSR), which is offered by medical centres hospitals and health organizations all around America.
He wrote several books detailing the art behind mindful living and how it can help us overcome suffering. We’ve collected some of the most revealing and stand out quotes below from these books. Enjoy!
On letting go and embrace life as it is
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
“You might be tempted to avoid the messiness of daily living for the tranquility of stillness and peacefulness. This of course would be an attachment to stillness, and like any strong attachment, it leads to delusion. It arrests development and short-circuits the cultivation of wisdom.”
“To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking.”
“See for yourself whether letting go when a part of you really wants to hold on doesn’t bring a deeper satisfaction than clinging.”
What spirituality really means
“Perhaps the most “spiritual” thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.”
“Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.”
“From the perspective of meditation, every state is a special state, every moment a special moment.”
On mindful living
“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”
“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”
“Concentration is a cornerstone of mindfulness practice. Your mindfulness will only be as robust as the capacity of your mind to be calm and stable. Without calmness, the mirror of mindfulness will have an agitated and choppy surface and will not be able to reflect things with any accuracy.”
On the present moment
“Wherever you go, there you are”
“Just watch this moment, without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear?”
“To allow ourselves to be truly in touch with where we already are, no matter where that is, we have got to pause in our experience long enough to let the present moment sink in; long enough to actually feel the present moment, to see it in its fullness, to hold it in awareness and thereby come to know and understand it better.”
“There is just this moment. We are not trying to improve or to get anywhere else.”
Looking at things in a different way
“If we hope to go anywhere or develop ourselves in any way, we can only step from where we are standing. If we don’t really know where we are standing… We may only go in circles…”
“look at other people and ask yourself if you are really seeing them or just your thoughts about them…. Without knowing it, we are coloring everything, putting our spin on it all.”
We’re all unique
“Note that this journey is uniquely yours, no one else’s. So the path has to be your own. You cannot imitate somebody else’s journey and still be true to yourself. Are you prepared to honor your uniqueness in this way?”
On embracing all your emotions
“We must be willing to encounter darkness and despair when they come up and face them, over and over again if need be, without running away or numbing ourselves in the thousands of ways we conjure up to avoid the unavoidable.”
“Practice sharing the fullness of your being, your best self, your enthusiasm, your vitality, your spirit, your trust, your openness, above all, your presence. Share it with yourself, with your family, with the world.”
A practical tip
“Make a list of what is really important to you. Embody it.”
“Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.”
On our intrinsic wholeness
“No matter how many scars we carry from what we have gone through and suffered in the past, our intrinsic wholeness is still here: what else contains the scars? None of us has to be a helpless victim of what was done to us or what was not done for us in the past, nor do we have to be helpless in the face of what we may be suffering now. We are also what was present before the scarring—our original wholeness, what was born whole. And we can reconnect with that intrinsic wholeness at any time, because its very nature is that it is always present. It is who we truly are.”
“Perhaps we just need little reminders from time to time that we are already dignified, deserving, worthy. Sometimes we don’t feel that way because of the wounds and the scars we carry from the past or because of the uncertainty of the future. It is doubtful that we came to feel undeserving on our own. We were helped to feel unworthy. We were taught it in a thousand ways when we were little, and we learned our lessons well.”
“Awareness is not the same as thinking. It is a complementary form of intelligence, a way of knowing that is at least as wonderful and as powerful, if not more so, than thinking.”
On love and kindness
“Our ability to touch love and kindness and be touched by them lies buried below our own fears and hurts, below our greed and our hatreds, below our desperate clinging to the illusion that we are separate and alone.”