The Books in my Life, Henry Miller

The struggle of the human being to emancipate himself, that is, to liberate himself from the prison of his own making, that is for me the supreme subject.

The indirect method of education: as with the ancients, his technique consisted in indicating that "it" was not this, not that. Whatever "it" was, and of course it was the all, he taught me never to approach it head on, never to name or define. The oblique method of art. First and last things. But no first and no last. Always from the center outward. Always the spiral motion: never the straight line, never sharp angles, never the impasse or the cul-de-sac.

He had a way of never closing a subject. He was content to skirmish and reconnoiter, to throw out feelers, to dangle clues, to give hints, to suggest rather than to inform. Whether one wished it or not, he compelled his listener to think for himself. I can't recall ever once receiving advice or instruction from him, yet everything which issued form his mouth constituted advice and instruction... if one knew how to take it!

Why do you martyrize yourself and cause suffering to everyone with whom you come in contact? Understand, rather, who you really are, how truly insignificant and vulnerable is the being you call you, and which you recognize in your own shape, and to what extent, on the contrary, the real you is immeasurably your spiritual self - and having understood this, begin to live each moment to accomplish your true mission in life revealed to you by a universal wisdom, the teachings of Christ and your own conscience. Put the best of yourself into increasing the emancipation of your spirit form the illusions of the flesh and into love of your neighbor, which is one and the same thing.

One of the reasons why so few of us ever act, instead of reacting, is because we are continually stifling our deepest impulses.

I have often wondered, if suddenly we were all privileged to function perfectly, what we would do with our time.

Meditate on free time!

I am one of those individuals frequently accused of reading into things more than they contain, or more than what was intended. This faculty of overlooking - for it was an overlooking and not a failure to see properly - what the critical mind terms mere play-acting, this faculty which I deliberately nurtured, was born of a refusal to accept things at face value.