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April 15, 2015

25 Kahlil Gibran Quotes to Leave you Speechless.

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Some words pass through us quickly and vanish into the air; others burrow into our very flesh and change the way we think, speak and feel.

For me, the work of Kahlil Gibran (alt. Khalil Gibran) falls into the second category.

Lebanese born, educated in New York, Paris and Beirut, he was the third best-selling poet in history, and his words sparked a literary revolution. Best known in the West for his book, The Prophet, Gibran lived from 1883 to 1931, but his legacy survived much longer, messages of universal love, freedom and tolerance taking root in the countercultural soil of the American sixties.

I set out to offer you ten of my favorite passages from his writing, but as you will see, it is simply too brilliant to stop so soon.

Each of these quotes has at some point touched me deeply. I have no words to express the profound impact of this poetry, and I hope it will leave you speechless as well:

“One day you will ask me which is more important? My life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.”

~

“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”

~

“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”

~

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

~

“Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.”

~

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

~

“My friend, I am not what I seem. Seeming is but a garment I wear — a care-woven garment that protects me from thy questionings and thee from my negligence. The “I” in me, my friend, dwells in the house of silence, and therein it shall remain for ever more, unperceived, unapproachable.”

~

“I have found both freedom and safety in my madness; the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.”

~

“The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.”

~

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

~

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.”

~

“The appearance of things changes according to the emotions; and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.”

~

“They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price.”

~

“If you reveal your secrets to the wind,
you should not blame the wind for
revealing them to the trees.”

~

“We are all prisoners but some of us are in cells with windows and some without.”

~

“We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered.”

~

“For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?”

~

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself…
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

~

“Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you can not bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain.”

~

“Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself, Love possesses not nor would it be possessed: For love is sufficient unto love.”

~

“To measure you by your smallest deed
is to reckon the ocean by the frailty of its foam.
To judge you by your failures
is to cast blame upon the seasons
for their inconsistencies.”

~

“For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.”

~

“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.”

~

“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.”

~

Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’

~

Walk the Talk with Waylon Lewis:

~

~

Relephant Read:

Oh My: Kahlil Gibran’s Prophet to be Released in Cinemas this Summer!

 

Author: Toby Israel

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Courtesy of Author & Pixabay

Relephant bonus:

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Cindy Simonetti Dec 2, 2018 9:11am

Thank you for posting this! I so often turn to the pages of Gibran’s works. (I found some new gems in your list!) The naked truth of his words cut straight to my spirit, my heart, or some much needed rational thinking every time. I am sharing the below, not to sound like gloom and doom, but because this is a challenging time of year for those who have lost loved ones. And though I am at peace with my losses, on call and at arm’s length since Thanksgiving, Gibran’s book, “A Tear and a Smile” is bookmarked at “The Beauty of Death.” It might be something of similar help to you or someone you know.

This has always been a difficult time of year for me, as I miss my Daddy so much. (He introduced me to Gibran’s works 35 years ago, three years before he passed.) Gibran’s writings provided solace during that loss. Especially this one small except from the comforting poignancy of “The Beauty of Death”.

“I am cloaked in full whiteness. I am in comfort. I am in peace.”

Isn’t that where we want our loved ones? In the past three years it has been the same source of comfort three more times as I’ve lost three trusted friends/family members/confidantes. It was the death of the man I grew up calling my brother
that was most difficult. (He too shared a love of Gibran.) When I was writing the eulogy, I knew I needed something to provide what would be a deeply grieving family, and still large and close-knit group of (likely teary-eyed) friends since preschool with peace. When the day came, I was worried I wouldn’t make it thru the eulogy without crying, so I had two people on the ready to take over. After reading the first sentence, I looked up and both of them were crying heavily and I could almost hear Daddy saying, “That worked. Stick with Gibran.” And so it was that I shakily held it together. Finally finding my own peace when I closed with these final two excerpts:

“Go back to the joy of your dwellings
And you will find there that which Death cannot remove from you and me.”
Then,
“Talk not of my departure with sighs in your hearts;
Close your eyes and you will see me with you forevermore.”

Trish Apr 10, 2016 8:15am

What a delight to find you today. I love what Frases says about offering us a meal. I've quoted Kahil Gibran for at least 30 years but today you've given me a new gentle nudge and delicious memory from my favorite poet. I wish you well on your fabulous journey.

831Jules Dec 27, 2015 12:05pm

Kahlil Gibran, an amazing and expressive poet….I was given the book, THE PROPHET, at 18 and read it but skimmed over it…it wasn't until I experienced some life that I could relate to Gibran. And now, it as if I am peeling layers off his beautiful words revealing a new layer to ponder. I am now living here in Beirut with the beautiful and joyful Lebanese. I had the opportunity to visit Gibran's home and museum which was a former monastery…his poetry is thought provoking and I knew a little about him but didn't realize his visual artistic capabilities….incredible and deeply thoughtful. His poetry combined with his artwork is truly powerful. His gift to the world is a treasure.

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Toby Israel

Toby Israel is a vagabond and storyteller with a metaphorical closet full of hats. She currently works as a creative facilitator, editor, and writer, and as Chief Storyteller at NuMundo. She is also a full-time lover of movement, food, and words. For the moment, she lives in Costa Rica. (She came for a master’s degree in Media, Peace, and Conflict Studies from the UN-mandated University for Peace—and stayed for the papaya, sunshine, and conscious community.) Share her journey on her website, and on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!