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Teachers who offer you the ultimate answers do not possess the ultimate answers, for if they did, they would know that the ultimate answers cannot be given, they can only be received.
It is better to be small, colorful, sexy, careless, and peaceful, like the flowers, than large, conservative, repressed, fearful, and aggressive, like the thunder lizards; a lesson, by the way, that the Earth has yet to learn.
Perhaps the most terrible (or wonderful) thing that can happen to an imaginative youth, aside from the curse (or blessing) of imagination itself, is to be exposed without preparation to the life outside his or her own sphere--the sudden revelation that there is a there out there.
When we accept small wonders, we qualify ourselves to imagine great wonders.
I cannot believe that the most delicious things were placed here merely to test us, to tempt us, to make it the more difficult for us to capture the grand prize: the safety of the void. To fashion of life such a petty game is unworthy of both men and gods.
The word desire suggests that there is something we do not have. If we have everything already, then there can be no desire, for there is nothing left to want. I think that what the Buddha may have been trying to tell us is that we have it all, each of us, all the time; therefore, desire is simply unnecessary.
If you insist on leaving your fate to the gods, then the gods will repay your weakness by having a grin or two at your expense. Should you fail to pilot your own ship, don't be surprised at what inappropriate port you will find yourself docked.
I don't want salvation, I want life, all of life, the miserable as well as the superb.
The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is the more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
Those who possess wisdom cannot just ladle it out to every wantwit and jackanapes who comes along and asks for it. A person must be prepared to receive wisdom, or else it will do him more harm than good. Moreover, a lout thrashing about in the clear waters of wisdom will dirty those waters for everyone else.
Perhaps that is why desire causes men calamity. By identifying with our desires and taking them too seriously, we not only increase our susceptibility to disappointment, we actually create a climate inhospitable to the free and easy fulfillment of those desires.
Christianity is merely a system for turning priestesses into handmaidens, queens into concubines, and goddesses into muses.
Hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown. Once you're brown, you'll find out you're blue. As blue as indigo. And you know what that means. Indigo. Indigoing. Indigone.
The aroma of flowers, from which we have borrowed our perfumes, while extremely powerful, has been from the beginning entirely seductive in its intentions. A rose is a rose is a rogue. Perfume, fundamentally, is the sexual attractant of flowers, or, in the case of civet and musk, of animals. Squeezed from the reproductive glands of plants and creatures, perfume is the smell of creation, a sign dramatically delivered to our senses of the Earth's regenerative powers--a message of hope and a message of pleasure.
There are apparently few limitations either of time or space on where the psyche might journey and only the customs inspector employed by our own inhibitions restricts what it might bring back when it reenters the home country of everyday consciousness.
Birth and death were easy. It was life that was hard.
"You know what I mean? Real and unreal, beautiful and strange, like a dream. It got me high as a kite, but it didn't last long enough. It ended too soon and left nothing behind."
That's how it is with dreams," said Priscilla. "They're the perfect crime."
I journey to the east, where I have been told, there are men who have taught death some manners.
You don't have to be a genius to recognize one. If you did, Einstein would never have gotten invited to the White House.
Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air--moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh--felt as if it were being exhaled into one's face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing.
She needed help, but God was in a meeting whenever she rang.
The Middle Ages hangs over history's belt like a beer belly. It is too late now for aerobic dancing or cottage cheese lunches to reduce the Middle Ages. History will have to wear size 48 shorts forever.
My lunar sign is in Virgo. Every month when the moon is full, I'm driven to balance my checkbook and straighten up my apartment. I can't help myself. Instead of a werewolf I turn into an accountant.
Well, there's one thing to be said for money. It can make you rich.
Zippers are primal and modern at the very same time. On the one hand, your zipper is primitive and reptilian, on the other, mechanical and slick. A zipper is where the Industrial Revolution meets the Cobra Cult.
A sense of humor, properly developed, is superior to any religion so far devised.
A lot of progress was being made there at MIT. Those guys had molecules jumping through hoops like poodles in a circus.
The price of self-destiny is never cheap, and in certain situations it is unthinkable. But to achieve the marvelous, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought.
The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being. Still, lovers quarrel. Frequently, they quarrel simply to recharge the air between them, to sharpen the aliveness of their relationship. To precipitate such a quarrel, the sweaty kimono of sexual jealousy is usually dragged out of the hamper, although almost any excuse will do. Only rarely is the spat rooted in the beet-deep soil of serious issue, but when it is, a special sadness attends it, for the mind is slower to heal than the heart, and such quarrels can doom a union, even one that has prospered for a very long time.
Politics is for people who have a passion for changing life but lack a passion for living it.
Reality is subjective, and there's an unenlightened tendency in this culture to regard something as 'important' only if it's sober and severe. Your Cheerful Dumb are not so much happy as lobotomized. But your Gloomy Smart are just as ridiculous. When you're unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. And you get to take yourself oh so very seriously. Your truly happy people, which is to say, your people who truly LIKE themselves, they don't think about themselves very much. Your unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence.
If the earth needs night as well as day, wouldn't it follow that the soul requires endarkenment to balance enlightenment?
Pan had begun to live in his memories, an unhealthy symptom in anyone, suggesting as it does that life has peaked.
The gods do not limit men. Men limit men.
Should one be shallow enough to view existence as a system of rewards and punishments, one soon learns that we pay as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats.
He'd grown convinced that play--more than piety, more than charity or vigilance--was what allowed human beings to transcend evil.
Our individuality is all, all, that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole society, but blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures and rides it, in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life's bittersweet route.
Death is impatient and thoughtless. It barges into your room when you are right in the middle of something, and it doesn't bother to wipe its boots.
The universe does not have laws. It has habits. And habits can be broken.
News: Tom's most recent book "Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life" (a memoir of sorts) was released in May 2014.
What follows is an excerpt from the blurb from amazon.com.
Internationally bestselling novelist and American icon Tom Robbins delivers the long awaited tale of his wild life and times, both at home and around the globe.
Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels — including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates — provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.
In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward,... Read more...