Few people in the west have put as much effort into embracing Buddhism and ancient Dharma wisdom as Jack Kerouac. The American novelist, poet and painter was a key figurehead for the Beat Generation and his literary fame has only grown since his death in 1969. The spiritual messages that he brought to America are so personal and profound that all his writing is still in print today.
“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” – Kerouac spent his life exploring what it means to be human. He knew that the flaws in mankind were not in the way he loved or hated, but in how he chose to use those emotions, how he chose to reflect them in the real world.
“The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view.” – While famously solitary in his life and learning, Kerouac was never dishonest about his influences. He treated them as human beings who can make mistakes; he knew that hero-worship of mortal men was foolish. Instead, he understood when people spoke reasonably and made an effort to learn things for himself when no one else’s explanations fit with sense.
“Life must be rich and full of loving – it’s not good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone.” –A lot of people talk about love being one of the most important things in the world. A lot of them say it without really understanding what the sentiment means. Kerouac spent his whole life searching for what was important. And he settled on love.
“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” – Often, people jump onto bandwagons hoping to be a part of the excitement and the success. But copying other people can only get you so for. You’ll never do anything original, you’ll never do anything unique or ground-breaking. Kerouac spent his life seeking out what was pure and beautiful regardless of popular opinion. He achieved great things.
“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” – Your life is what you make of it. You have the freedom to do with it whatever you will, and this is the one chance you will get to do it. Kerouac spent his life outside of the mainstream world to find the exact things he wanted to put on his page. Make sure that whatever ends up on yours is just as perfectly you.
“It always makes me proud of love the world somehow – hate’s so easy compared.” – People are annoying. Work is long and boring and difficult. The world, in short, is frustrating. It’s easy to get tired of it, it’s easy to lash out at people as if they’re not in more or less the same position you are. If you can reach past all the pain and anger and hurt and still manage to love your fellow man, you are living wisely.
“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”
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