Meditation quotes

On this page I have collected a number of meditation quotes from well known and not-so-well known writers and practitioners of meditation. You will find that these are drawn from different traditions. They are of course my personal selection and I make no claim that these are the best quotes you will find anywhere. They are representative of my own journey, as they are only taken from books that I read and savoured and that I know have influenced me positively. I hope to be able to add new quotes regularly.

I have avoided quotes from religious texts, such as the Torah, Old & New Testaments and Quor'an, even though these can be rich sources for inspirational meditation quotes. My intention however is to provide universal quotes for inspiration that can speak to anyone, irrespective of their spiritual heritage. From personal experience I know that it can take several years to overcome one's own cultural biases and become more open-minded about other spiritual streams. The quotes I have chosen should allow such biases to have only a minimal influence over your response to them.

You can use the quotes in different ways in your meditation practice. For example, you could work with a particular quote over the course of a week. Read it every morning, first thing, and then again last thing before you go to sleep. In this way the text will become a part of you and form a background to your meditation practice. You could of course also memorise the quote literally and simply recall it in the morning and evening.

Another approach would be to use the meditation quotes in your actual meditations. You could read or memorise a quote during your meditation session and then let it seep through your being to allow you to resonate with its many meanings. You do this by focusing your awareness on the quote, or part of it and allowing it to speak to you. Just be open and observe the multiple layers that may unfold when you are simply present with these words.

Also, you could work more consciously with a quote in your meditation and realy activitate your thinking. What does the quote mean? What does it make you think of? How does it make you feel? Then if you wish to follow up on it, you could obtain the book from which I took the quote and read it, so that you see the context and can engage more fully with that particular author and stream of consciousness. This approach will help you to extend your meditation practice into the area of knowledge and understanding.


Note: Some of the quotes below used the words 'he' and 'man' in the original, but I have taken the liberty to change this to include women as well as men. This is indicated by a * after the word followed by the original in square brackets. The links are affilliate links to Amazon, but could be to a different edition than the one I have. Finally, if you buy through any of the links, I will receive a small commission (thank you!).

Do you have a quote you would like to see on Meditation For Beginners?

If you have an inspiring quote, please submit it here. Please give full details of the source of the quote, with page number if possible.

Charles Bowness (1986) The Practice of Meditation. Wellingborough: The Aquarian Press.

"You possess a nobler self, so allow it to find the expression it really craves. When this craving is suppressed, it is one of the causes of unhappiness and misery. Remember, the cultivation and eventual freedom of your better, truer self is your key to happiness, peace, and contentment." (page 18)

Jon Kabat-Zin (2012) Full Catastrophe Living. London: Piatkus 15th Anniversary Edition.

"Until recently the very word meditation tended to evoke raised eyebrows and thoughts about mysticism and hocus-pocus in many people. In part, that was because people did not understand that meditation is really about paying attention. This is now more widely known. And since paying attention is something that everybody does, at least occasionally, meditation is not as foreign or irrelevant to our life experience as we might once have thought."(page 21)

Kahlil Gibran (1980 [1926]) The Prophet. London: Pan Books Ltd.

"Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.

But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,

And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,

And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life's inmost secret." (page 32)

"And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?" (page 57)

"The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one." (page 93)

Carl Jung (1986 [1958]) The Undiscovered Self. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

"To be the adherent of a creed, therefore, is not always a religious matter but more often a social one and, as such, it does nothing to give the individual any foundation. For support one* [he] has to depend exclusively on one's* [his] relation to an authority which is not of this world. The criterion here is not lip service to a creed but the psychological fact that the life of the individual is not determined solely by the ego and its opinions or by social factors, but quite as much, if not more, by transcendent authority." (page 22)

"The very fact that through self-knowledge, i.e., by exploring our own souls, we come upon the instincts and their world of imagery should throw some light on the powers slumbering in the psyche, of which we are seldom aware so long as all goes well. They are potentialities of the greatest dynamism, and it depends entirely on the preparedness and attitude of the conscious mind whether the irruption of the forces and the images and ideas associated with them will tend towards construction or catastrophe. " (page 107)

Green, Marian (1988) The path through the labyrinth. Dorest: Element Books Ltd.

"Many people imagine that to dive into the peace and calm of the inner realms will immediatley and permanently rid them of everyday hassles with their nearest and dearest ones. This just isn't so. Within the mind-fields you will have to face all the aspects of your own being and your soul will be bared in a landscape which has nothing tangible to hide behind. You will have your eyes opened and may well not like what you see there." (p. 27).

"Meditation takes a lot of practice which should be regular and continuous for many weeks or perhaps months before a steady flow of new, or at least relevant, materials starts to trickle past your point of inner awareness, to the exclusion of all those annoying and distracting thoughts that so plague the newcomer to the art" (p. 24).

"To many a traveller the journey from the cradle to the grave is a long and dreadful experience, punctuated throughout its entire length with a series of unpleasant events of which he has no control [...] In order to  seek out an alternative way through the wilderness towards freedom and self-awareness he has immediately to turn his back on this passage to orthodoxy and hack his way through the wilderness of other people's opinions or hearsay, and step forward, alone, into the unknown. He will be guided only by his personal curiosity, determination and some inner urge to explore, and eventually, to know." (p. 11)

Rudolf Steiner (2004) Knowledge of the Higher Worlds: How is it achieved? Rudolf Steiner Press.

"In all occult science there is a fundamental principle which cannot be transgressed if any goal is to be reached, and all occult training must instil it into the pupil. All the knowledge you pursue merely for the enrichment of your own learning and to accummulate treasure of your own leads you from your path; but all knowledge you pursue in order to grow more mature on the path of human ennoblement and world-progress brings you a step forward." (p31 of my 1969 London: Rudolf Steiner Press edition, original emphasis.)

"One of the first [...] rules can be expressed in words approximately as follows: 'Provide for yourself moments of inner tranquility, nd learn in these moments to distinguish the essential from the non-essential.'" (p. 32, of my 1969 London: Rudolf Steiner Press edition)

"The pupil must set aside a short period of his daily life during which to concern himself with something altogether different from the objects of his daily occupation. And the way in which he occupies himself during this time must differ entirely from the activities which take up the rest of his day. But this must not be understood to mean that what he does in the time thus set apart has nothing to do with his daily work. On the contrary, he will soon notice it is just these moments of seclusion, when used in the right way, which imbue him with strength to perform his daily tasks. Nor must it be supposed that the observance of this rule will deprive anyone of time essential for the fulfilment of his duties. If anyone were really to have no more time at his disposal, five minutes a day would suffice. What matters is how these five minutes are spent" (p. 33 of my 1969 London: Rudolf Steiner Press edition.)

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