Want a Spiritual Practice? Memorize These Four Quotes

Want a Spiritual Practice? Memorize These Four Quotes August 23, 2019




I recall in my youth being told how in ancient Rome when someone was given a “Triumph,” a parade through the city in honor of some major accomplishment a slave was assigned to stand right behind them in their chariot, whispering over and over, “You are a mortal.”

Turns out this practice is not universally attested. But. It should have been their practice. If they were being smart.

Change is the universal rule. What is up will eventually become down. And, in good time go away completely…

It is the first of the “three marks of existence” in classical Buddhism. While I am not prepared to say it is the chief among them, it is critical to understand. And to understand right down to the marrow of our bones… There is a reason one ancient Buddhist practice was to sit quietly and aware in graveyards…

So. Want a spiritual practice? Memorize these four quotes. Not, I believe, a “complete” spiritual practice, but they will do you no harm, and might prove helpful at some critical moment in your life.


“The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30


I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—’Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

Percy Bysshe Shelley


Sic transit Gloria mundi

If you need to, look it up,

Or, in short, that ancient teaching echoed in both the Scriptures and among the Persian Sufis, but without a clear first citation…

This, too, shall pass…

"the people that brought up 9/11 in 2019 were devout christians. i say let go ..."

Take Care of the Children, A ..."
"James, thank you so much for sharing this excellent and inspiring (and challenging) message. I ..."

Theodore Parker, the Moral Arc of ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment