Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Eat, Pray, Love is an exploration of the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Truthfully, I'm not the best traveler in the world. I know this because I've traveled a lot and I've met people who are great at it. Real naturals. I've met travelers who are so physically sturdy they could drink a shoebox of water from a Calcutta gutter and never get sick. People who can pick up new languages where others of us might only pick up infectious diseases. People who know how to stand down a threatening border guard or cajole an uncooperative bureaucrat at the visa office. People who are the right height and complexion that they kind of look halfway normal wherever they go - in Turkey they just might be Turks, in Mexico they are suddenly Mexican, in Spain they could be mistaken for a Basque, in Northern Africa they can sometimes pass for Arab.
When I don't know what I'm doing, I look like I don't know what I'm doing. When I'm excited or nervous, I look excited or nervous. And when I am lost, which is frequently, I look lost. My face is a transparent transmitter of my every thought.
Traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt, ever since I was sixteen years old and first went to Russia with my saved-up babysitting money, that to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. [...] I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby - I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it's mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to - I just don't care.
What a large number of factors constitute a single human being! How very many layers we operate on, and how very many influences we receive from our minds, our bodies, our histories, our families, our cities, our souls and our lunches!
That's the thing about a human life - there's no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed.
Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that's not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today.
I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog's money, my dog's time - everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.
Rome doesn't compete. Rome just watches all the fussing and striving, completely unfazed, exuding an air like: Hey - do whatever you want, but I'm still Rome. I am inspired by the regal self-assurance of this town, so grounded and rounded, so amused and monumental, knowing that she is held securely in the palm of history. I would like to be like Rome when I am an old lady.
I think people have children for all manner of reasons - sometimes out of a pure desire to nurture and witness life, sometimes out of an absence of choice, sometimes in order to hold on to a partner or create an heir, sometimes without thinking about it in any particular way. Not all the reasons to have children are the same, and not all of them are necessarily unselfish. Not all the reasons not to have children are the same, either, though. Nor are all those reasons necessarily selfish.
Venice is beautiful, but like a Bergman movie is beautiful; you can admire it, but you don't really want to live in it.
When you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt - this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.
Yoga is the effort to experience one's divinity personally and then to hold on to that experience forever. Yoga is about self-mastery and the dedicated effort to haul your attention away from your endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying about the future so that you can seek, instead, a place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and your surroundings with poise. Only from that point of even-mindedness will the true nature of the world (and yourself) be revealed to you.
There is a theory that if you yearn sincerely enough for a Guru, you will find one. The universe will shift, destiny's molecules will get themselves organized and your path will soon intersect with the path of the master you need.
Life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death. Time - when pursued like a bandit - will behave like one; always remaining one county or one room ahead of you, changing its name and hair color to elude you, slipping out the back door of the motel just as you're banging through the lobby with your newest search warrant, leaving only a burning cigarette in the ashtray to taunt you. At some point you have to stop because it won't. You have to admit that you can't catch it. That you're not supposed to catch it. At some point, [...], you gotta let go and sit still and allow contentment to come to you.
The search for God is a reversal of the normal, mundane worldly order. In the search for God, you revert from what attracts you and swim toward that which is difficult. You abandon your comforting and familiar habits with the hope (the mere hope!) that something greater will be offered you in return for what you've given up.
If faith were rational, it wouldn't be - by definition - faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be ... a prudent insurance policy.
I'm tired of being a skeptic, I'm irritated by spiritual prudence and I feel bored and parched by empirical debate. I don't want to hear it anymore. I couldn't care less about evidence and proof and assurances. I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water.
Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can't even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I'm aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don't have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.
We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses - one foot is on the horse called "fate," the other on the horse called "free will." And the question you have to ask every day is - which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it's not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort?
As smoking is to the lungs, so is resentment to the soul; even one puff of it is bad for you.
Silence and solitude are universally recognized spiritual practices, and there are good reasons for this. Learning how to discipline your speech is a way of preventing your energies from spilling out of you through the rupture of your mouth, exhausting you and filling the world with words, words, words instead of serenity, peace and bliss.
It's not a ludicrous hypothesis to say that the Balinese are the global masters of balance, the people for whom the maintenance of perfect equilibrium is an art, a science and a religion.
The Balinese don't wait and see "how things go." That would be terrifying. They organize how things go, in order to keep things from falling apart.
This is the supreme lesson of karma - take care of the problems now, or else you'll just have to suffer again later when you screw everything up the next time. And that repetition of suffering - that's hell. Moving out of that endless repetition to a new level of understanding - there's where you'll find heaven.
I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.
One thing I do know about intimacy is that there are certain natural laws which govern the sexual experience of two people, and that these laws cannot be budged any more than gravity can be negotiated with. To feel physically comfortable with someone else's body is not a decision you can make. It has very little to do with how two people think or act or talk or even look. The mysterious magnet is either there, buried somewhere deep behind the sternum, or it is not. When it isn't there you can no more force it to exist than a surgeon can force a patient's body to accept a kidney from the wrong donor.
Bullshit is a word that has been more emotionally incorporated into Balinese than almost any other in the English language. It's one of the very worst things you can call someone in Bali - "a bullshit." In this culture, where people bullshit each other a dozen times before breakfast, where bullshitting is a sport, an art, a habit, and a desperate survival tactic, to actually call someone out on their bullshit is an appalling statement. It's something that would have, in old Europe, guaranteed you a duel.