John O’Donohue quotes

John O’Donohue was born 1 January 1956 and died 4 January 2008. He was a native Irish speaker, and a poet, priest, and philosopher. He popularised Celtic spirituality.

John O’Donohue short bio
More great Irish quotes

John O'Donohue quote. One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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We live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender. Each morning, we awaken to the light and the invitation to a new day in the world of time; each night, we surrender to the dark to be taken to play in the world of dreams where time is no more.

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Good friends won’t let you off the hook when you shouldn’t be let off the hook. You can let fall the masks we seem to need to survive in a cutthroat world. There is a value of truth that we typically don’t find in other parts of life.

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John O'Donohue quote. Inspiration is always a surprising visitor. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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When we hear the word ‘beauty’, we inevitably think that beauty belongs in a special elite realm where only the extraordinary dwells. Yet without realizing it, each day each one of us is visited by beauty. When you actually listen to people, it is surprising how often beauty is mentioned. A world without beauty would be unbearable.

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When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning.

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 John O'Donohue quote. The way you look at things is the most powerful force in shaping your life. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.

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It could be a meeting on the street, or a party or a lecture, or just a simple, banal introduction, then suddenly there is a flash of recognition and the embers of kinship glow. There is an awakening between you, a sense of ancient knowing.

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 John O'Donohue quote. A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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No one else has access to the world you carry around within yourself; you are its custodian and entrance. No one else can see the world the way you see it. No one else can feel your life the way you feel it. Thus it is impossible to ever compare two people because each stands on such different ground. When you compare yourself to others, you are inviting envy into your consciousness; it can be a dangerous and destructive guest.

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One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.

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 John O'Donohue quote. If you have a trust in and an expectation of your own solitude, everything that you need to know will be revealed to you. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Much of the stress and emptiness that haunt us can be traced back to our lack of attention to beauty. Internally, the mind becomes coarse and dull if it remains unvisited by images and thoughts that hold the radiance of beauty.

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The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere – in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves. No one would desire not to be beautiful. When we experience the beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming.

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John O'Donohue quote. A blessing is a circle of light drawn around a person to protect, heal and strengthen. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.

John O’Donohue short bio
Quotes Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

All images copyright Ireland Calling

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