20 wisest quotes


By Kate Taylor

I’ve always liked the idea of a “spiritual toolbox,” a figurative vessel for holding everything that calms, inspires and enlightens.

That’s why several years ago I decided to create a physical spiritual toolbox. I found a funky wooden thrift store box and — in a flurry of paint, glue, material scraps and glitter — turned it into a nifty container for my favorite meditations, soothing stones, Buddha and White Tara statuettes and wisdom quotes (quotes from great spiritual thinkers).

The toolbox is now a permanent fixture on my alter, and has saved me from countless foul moods and nasty vibes.

Every item in it is essential, but the wisdom quotes are especially powerful medicine for blue moods.

They help me make decisions. They remind me to slow down, breathe and witness the beauty around me. They show me that this world has produced truly enlightened people who made the world a much better place.

If you could use a little extra comfort or inspiration in your life, read on to find 26 of the most universally-loved wisdom quotes from luminaries ranging from Buddha to Socrates. They’ll help to guide your thinking and decisions in life, work and love.


  • “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” ―Socrates


  • “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” – Henry van Dyke


  • “I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.” – Corazon Aquino


  • “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl


  • If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito. — His Holiness the 14TH Dalai Lama



  • “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross


  • “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” ―Socrates


  • “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” –Albert Einstein


  • “He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because he fears.” – Michel De Montaigne


  • “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill


  • “If you decide that you’re going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. This is truly a spiritual path, and it as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist.”
    ― Michael A. SingerThe Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself



  • “When you come to see you are not as wise today as you thought you were yesterday, you are wiser today.”
    ― Anthony de Mello


  • “The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way we can grow is if we change. The only way we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we are exposed is if we throw ourselves into the open.” – C. Joybell


  • “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” – George Bernhard Shaw


  • “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” – Bil Keane


  • “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi



  • “When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller


  • “Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.” – Pema Chödrön



  • “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” – Viktor Frankl


  • “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes


  • You can’t stop the water, but you can learn how to surf. — Jack Kornfield


  • “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius


  • “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein


  • “In seeking happiness for others, you will find it in yourself.” – Unknown


  • “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. – Buddha