Timeless Thoughts About Life | Inspirational Podcasts

Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of wearable inspiration for a better world. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from the book The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, published in 1922.

Podcast Transcript: Work is the essence of life. You work to keep pace with the Earth and the soul of the Earth. To be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons—to step out of life’s procession that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work, you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music. Who of you would choose be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse, and labor a misfortune. But I say to you that when you work you fulfill a part of Earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born. In keeping yourself with labor, you are in truth loving life. And to love life through labor is to be intimate with life’s innermost secret.

Work is love made visible. If you cannot work with love but only distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and be a beggar on the street, accepting charity from those who work with joy.

What is joy? Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And it arises from the selfsame well that houses your laughter and tears. The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. When you are joyous, look deep into your heart, and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some people say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “No, sorrow is the greater.” But I say to you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at the edge of the bed, remember that the other is asleep under the sheets.

Everyone recognizes that the soul is sometimes a battlefield, one where reason and judgment wage war against passions and appetites.

Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, so that it may sing. And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and (like the phoenix) rise above its own ashes.

However, remember this. Pleasure is a freedom-song. But it is not freedom. It is the blossoming of your desires. But it is not their fruit. It is a depth calling unto a height. But it is not the deep nor the high. It is the caged bird taking flight. But it is not the space encompassed.

Yes, pleasure is a freedom-song. And gladly would I have you sing it with fullness of heart; but I warn you not to lose your hearts in the singing.

Beauty is not a need but an ecstasy. It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth. But rather a heart inflamed and a soul enchanted. It is not the image you would see, nor the song you would hear. But rather an image you see, though you close your eyes, and a song you hear, though you shut your ears. It is not the sap within a Maple tree, nor a wing attached to a claw. But rather a garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels forever in flight.

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