Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quotes- St. Augustine

I’ve kept a quote book for almost ten years now. In it are a collection of thoughts that at the moment I read them touched me in some way. I recently read a post by Ryan Holiday discussing the practice of collecting quotes by the stoic Michel de Montaigne and the use of it for self reflection. I continuously look through my own book (now at 37 pages) when delving for moments of inspiration. My hope is that I can share these quotes with you and in some small way enrich your life.

Patience is the companion of wisdom.
-Saint Augustine

This is the very first quote I ever recorded. Thirty seven pages later it’s still one of my absolute favorites. I believe as a generation we have become a group of constant change and movement. Rarely do I find myself stopping to breathe enjoy life and just wait. Immediacy is the new word of the day and when I wrote this quote I had just started college in 2001. I was impatient and had no love for tasks or activities that paid off at a future point in time. Judgments were immediate and without recourse. I was right and I knew my path. It had to change.

I’m not sure if this battle is ever something that I overcome, but I now know to take time to breathe, reflect and act. The incredible depth of a person is not something to surmise off one meeting, or one experience. Instead we should stop and reflect; those that are patient see the true beauty in those around us. And with tasks, often the things worth doing are the ones that pay off in the long run. If we exercise patience now we reap a bigger reward down the line.

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.
-Saint Augustine

Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
-Reinhold Niebuhr

I couple these two together because I’ve always thought of them in the same moment. A spiritual journey is something that for me has been far from static. I’ve come to understand how little I know and have strayed from an adherence to strict rules and ideologies to a message of faith and a search for connectedness and love. At the end of the day I think we are all connected and part of a higher plane then mere human existence. We therefore must give to those around us and in return we receive back in abundance. I can tell you through my own experience that this has been the case.
In the last few years I have made it a point to be more giving of my time and money. I’m far from empathetic, but these quotes reminds me that when life happens; let it. Don’t get angry or sad. If it’s out of your hands then it just is. We move forward. For things I can control I must give my best effort because what I do will change my environment and those around me. This isn’t a message of mastery that I’m writing believe me. It’s a hope.

Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.
-St. Augustine

I’m selfish by nature. I’m not sure if that is the product of human experience or my environment. When I first recorded this quote it was in recognition of this glaring fault and the strive for improvement. I believe it was around 2003 as I reflected on my contribution to the world. In the last three years or so I’ve had a dramatic shift from finding value in monetary success to finding value in bringing joy to those around me. Financial gains are fleeting, but relationships and experiences last a life time. I definitely am blessed with more than I’ll ever need and I try and find outlets to bring joy to others. One thing I’ve had great fun in doing is hosting parties for friends. The set up, clean up, and cost can be substantial but the memories last forever. I also have donated to a few charities such as donorschoose, habitat for humanity, or my church. Giving can take many forms and can be something even as small as a smile. We all have something to be thankful for. Find your abundance and give back.

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