Darrell Calkins

“The greatest tragedy in life is our inability to experience and express fascination for the people and events we love while in their presence.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The human soul is complex. So is Nature (or life, if you prefer). Creating a perfect interface between the two results in a balance that one can recognize in an individual as a state of grace.”

― Darrell Calkins

“I think it’s essential to construct our lives

as if it’s a story we want to tell.”

― Darrell Calkins

“How many people are watching a movie right now, or reading a book or listening to a song or looking into their life or dreaming with this profound, conscious or not, yearning more than anything for some kind of relationship somewhere with someone or something that would cause them to stagger in intimate rawness in friendship and love?”

― Darrell Calkins

“By its nature, what you yearn for is most often intimidating. It produces, and itself is, a question, and one that is not easy to engage or answer.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Conscience exists as a reality-check for intent, but it’s not intent itself. Anyone who really plays, explores and celebrates life has the right intent.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The only resolution is to spontaneously invent an unknown, unique set of qualities and actions so as to blend perfectly with the actual requirements you’re confronted with.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Knowledge burnished through suffering becomes wisdom, which eventually opens into the calling to return in innocence to simple harmony.”

― Darrell Calkins

“There’s surprising relief and regeneration in finding ourselves within a moment of genuine grace, however small or temporary it may be.”

― Darrell Calkins

“In making a clear distinction between desire (answer) and yearning (question), we inevitably end up back at personal purpose.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Listen and look long at beauty that compels you, spontaneously engage what naturally calls to you…this is how we recover our true personal values.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The human soul is complex. So is Nature (or life, if you prefer). Creating a perfect interface between the two results in a balance that one can recognize in an individual as a state of grace. This kind of resulting harmony is just like the dynamic in an exceptional relationship. What we’re talking about, finally, is establishing an exceptional relationship with life. One cannot succeed in this interfacing exclusively by analyzing and manipulating individual parts. It’s more liquid than that, and time and circumstance move too quickly. If you know what life really wants, and if you know what you really want, you can begin to create the relationship. For every individual, that requires a successful balanced interface between what one is compelled by and the essential principles of nature, which we comprehend through our intuitive conscience. Those are our clues to the mystery. When one gets it right, there it is.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Truth, or mystery basically, seeks the expression of itself. That is, evolution exists to create more mystery, not to answer or end the existing mysteries. This is why with every “truth” revealed, or every answer given, all that actually occurs is the creation of yet a more complex and mysterious question.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Everyone claims to want the truth. If you really want it, I’d suggest investing seriously in humor and this mysterious skill of transforming bad news into good. Otherwise, you’ll only get more frustrated.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The divine is a mystery, so the impulse to really discover, like a child, has to be the core response to anything.”

― Darrell Calkins

“These five values are the organic origins of what could be called intuitive conscience. They are also what we experience personally as our core, essential yearnings, however distorted or confused we may interpret them: to care and be cared for; to share equally in freedom and responsibility; to belong, and to trust that what we belong to will continue; that there exists an objective hierarchy of virtue and wisdom; that there exists that which is unquestionably sacred or divine.”

― Darrell Calkins

“You have everything already inside you necessary for the true response to any challenge you will meet. Usually, it’s just a question of assembling some elements in a way that you didn’t think to do before (which brings us to intuition…).”

― Darrell Calkins

“As a soul, you have the freedom – and earned responsibility – to transpose your personal process of evolution, to manifest your greatest talents and vision, into the work that matters to you most as a means to personal redemption.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If you know what life really wants, and if you know what you really want, you can begin to create the relationship.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Virtually everyone defines their identity—or constructs their belief of who they are—through their specific combination of desires and suffering. Or, desires obtained (apparent subjective success at the sacrifice of something else), desires unobtained (suffering), and desires still left as questions (to be obtained or not). And…most of the desires, and the suffering, are themselves by-products of others, established by society and the rules of each sect of society.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Like everyone on the planet, one identifies and looks toward a vision of improvement or refinement, but/and one has to find a way to engage both of those—what is so, and what can be—with an appropriate harmony that is itself the hallmark of wholeness. In essence, we are looking to create a harmony between the existing elements, not a more severe dichotomy between what we want and what we should be doing.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If you are “playing” too much or “working” too much, you will have a reaction on the other side, which indicates your pace is off, too slow or too fast.”

― Darrell Calkins

“This pace and rhythm I speak of is constantly adjusting through discernment and sensitivity to all aspects of our life and being. As you notice more joy and resolution in your life through the movement toward what you yearn for, you naturally adjust in such a way that you invest more in that direction. If the idea of yearning and acting on what you yearn for causes more aggravation and suffering, you’re not looking at the elements accurately, or the idler is fighting against it.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The question under all this: How to get the idler to accept and engage the yearning? And that, my friends, is a deep and subtle question that will take a while to master, and the mastering of it will require redefining the presumption of what mastery even is. It is certainly not control. Mastery of anything is, more than anything else, the transformation of work into play. Giving orders and answers, never making mistakes, and having around you others with the opinion that you are great has nothing at all to do with it. Read carefully: to yearn for, to be compelled by, is being called to play.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Mastery of anything is, more than anything else, the transformation of work into play. Giving orders and answers, never making mistakes, and having around you others with the opinion that you are great has nothing at all to do with it. Read carefully: to yearn for, to be compelled by, is being called to play.”

― Darrell Calkins

“We already know way too much, but don’t know what to do with it. Beneath all that is a soul searching for how to have fun, in the deepest sense of the word, and how to cause fun for others.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Love has an enormous spectrum of expression and impact. At the far end, it begins to unravel and move away from subjective experience and personal preference. It becomes pure intent, something that no longer tickles our desires, but fulfills the deeper needs of each circumstance we’re in.”

― Darrell Calkins

“…let yourself unwind completely, melt into humble gratitude, actually recognize and experience what you value more than yourself…”

― Darrell Calkins

“Listening and hearing implies perception of all forms of communication—from others, from oneself, from the ‘personality’ of any circumstance you find yourself within…with an emphasis not on what is being said but what is meant. In other words, learning to hear what the communicator himself may not hear—the innate intent and yearning present at any moment.”

― Darrell Calkins

“It’s always an excellent idea to take a good look around at nature.”

― Darrell Calkins

“…one lives and analyses data within a frame, unaware that the solution is most often just outside of that frame. Never underestimate the depth of your subjectivity.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If you ever get a single wish from a genie, wish that what you know you should do and what you really have fun doing become one and the same. Whatever grand vision you may have, for you, those you love, or all of humanity and beyond, it becomes attainable there. Indeed, when these two become one, you yourself become the genie.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Real giving, clean, humble, precise, requires at least some anonymity. You do your job, and you’re not going to be paid for it. That’s the point in a way; you were already paid for it…Greatness, if you want to shoot for that, is the ability to do this and not have resentment or any other dis-ease accumulate.”

― Darrell Calkins

“A stone can be used for building a house, blocking a road, or killing someone. The same is true for any idea.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Perhaps the best we can do is to work to uphold the human virtues and qualities we most value, even in the face of everyone’s cynicism, skepticism and distrust, including our own.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If you sustain your balance and intention, everything, including things unimaginable, arrive at the appropriate time and place.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Luck comes when you bend to the requirements of reality.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The greatest challenge that exists in life, in anyone’s life, is that of sustaining a child’s fascination and love for life itself while being bombarded, infiltrated and violated by every possible reason and excuse not to do so. Ultimately, nothing really matters more or has more meaning than a child lost in overwhelming joy and gratitude for a single moment…the all-bodies recognition/revelation that something like Heaven does exist on Earth, right now. Nothing, that is, except for the same thing in an adult.

You can reduce and compress all the greatest lives, philosophies, religions, art, science, literature, all of humanity’s best and most sophisticated knowledge into this single idea. Something like, “Can you hold this through time and space?”


― Darrell Calkins

“One does not find freedom or enact responsibility by surrendering to another’s conceptualization of these ideas.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Think clearly here—desire does not produce fun, but yearning does. To identify the transition point between these two, look at desire as accumulating or consuming, and yearning as letting go of or giving. You don’t collect truth or love, for example, you give them, and in the giving they come into being. And you have fun. Real fun, guilt-free fun, resentment-free fun, doubt-free fun; you experience and become the questions you engage—discipline and strength, imagination, independence, fearlessness, trust and freedom, knowledge, truth.”

― Darrell Calkins

“One’s soul is made up of the unity of conscience and what compels you. That is, at the core, there is already a devotional relationship between these two. We just need to realize that and give them both the freedom to do what they wish.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Once you get off the bandwagon of believing that truth is your enemy and is bad news with all kinds of associated unhappy obligations, you can then afford to take it on with some enthusiasm and start to have some fun with it.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Once you get off the bandwagon of believing that truth is your enemy and is bad news with all kinds of associated unhappy obligations, you can then afford to take it on with some enthusiasm and start to have some fun with it. You can begin to trust yourself and play with mystery and big questions without the need for a crutch of an answer to lean on and sell to others (“Here you go, this crutch worked for me.”). And you then begin to see these big words, like imagination, fearlessness and truth as signposts to more fun, instead of the reverse as you do now. To start the engine, just follow what you yearn for, make a contract with that which compels you, and fulfill the trust of that contract through choice and action.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Our greatest joys and inspirations are usually found behind our fears. The trick is just to find fun in the force of Nature, wherever it manifests.”

― Darrell Calkins

“We live in a dimension where it is necessary to find a balance between wants and needs, or desires and yearning, or answers and questions. The totality of these makes up what we know as reality or truth, at least adolescent truth—facts. The fact of the matter is, you have to live in society one way or another, and there’s a reason for that, so the base of engagement begins with acceptance of the variables as they actually are.”

― Darrell Calkins

“You may have noticed that the questions asked are better than the answers given. What do you expect? Perhaps we could submit these answers in a game and see if anyone could figure out what the hell the question was. “Ahh, how to be happy?”

― Darrell Calkins

“If you want to know what you really value, look at where and how you spend your time.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Make a bigger deal of things…urgently passionate…more vulnerable, less hesitant…subtle, efficient…more interesting, independent choices.”

― Darrell Calkins

“We need specific, frequent rituals that plug us back into recalling, for lack of a better phrase, the meaning of life. Such rituals can be anything in which we stop, feel and look clearly at what we love and value most, or even simpler – emptying out everything in the way of those.”

― Darrell Calkins

“An initial perception or impulse has an infinite number of directions it can go.”

― Darrell Calkins

“A state of grace is when everything imperfect disappears, leaving just stripped-down harmony. One is left empty, with nothing except a fluid open sensation, similar to becoming the sound from a tuning fork piercing through space.”

― Darrell Calkins

“This is where we can find the greatest relief and joy everyday: falling under thought, anxiety, worry and all forms of me, into stillness; losing oneself in compelling engagements that transcend ambition, strategy, self-gain and self-consciousness.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Nothing stands still, even if it looks as though it does. Look at a light in the room you are in right now. It appears to be stationary, while the fact is that millions of rays are moving towards you at the speed of light (299,792,458 kilometres per second). Even in every “inanimate” object, particles are moving rapidly and constantly. Nothing within or outside of you remains completely still.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The pace and number of imagined obligations is neither from earth (nature’s demands) nor from heaven (Nature’s callings). So, they are synthetic and separated from both. The longer and deeper one invests in this synthetic process, the more exhausted and anguished one’s essential spirit becomes.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The experience of yearning is a composite of Nature’s purest impulse in you (the need for radical movement; think of all the analogies in all the religions and philosophies concerning the truth and beauty of light; if you take it literally, that means to become truth, beauty, light, get moving at 299,792,458 kilometres per second) combined with your unique qualities and talents of past/present/future (experiences, potentials, attractions and distractions, imagination, etc.). Simply put: need for radical movement in a definite direction.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Breathing is the fundamental act of being alive. One can go without thoughts, emotions or sensations, sleeping, talking or any other activity for a long time, without food for weeks, without water for days. But if you stop breathing, you’ll be dead before you finish reading this letter. Because it is the essence of life, some focus upon it seems appropriate.”

― Darrell Calkins

“There’s a long tradition in many disciplines regarding the breath, so I’m certainly not the first to suggest its importance. Unfortunately, though, having so much tradition, that gives the sense to many that there’s nothing really new there, nothing extraordinary to discover. The traditions themselves in most cases haven’t really evolved and haven’t succeeded in compelling the general public. Everyone knows to “take a deep breath” when stressed, but the immediate impact is minimal at best (actually, a deep breath is not much help; a long, smooth, slow exhale is, however). And the idea of another obligation, studying or relearning how to breathe, lacks inspiration.”

― Darrell Calkins

“There exists a direct link, or harmony, between the past, the present and the future. This has been misinterpreted, or exaggerated in both directions, either by the assumption that everything is random, or that there is already a predetermined destiny. There is an actual link, and there is a lot of mystery or room to play and invent.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Ironically, to “inspire” means to breathe, to infuse life by breathing. As with a lot of things that have the capacity to inspire, it takes some time to get past the apparent boredom and find the hidden secrets. I figure if I keep harping on it, maybe someone will eventually explore the possibility long enough to realize just how breathtaking it is.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Now, what am I here for, again?’ There’s genuine humility, and courage, in that question.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Historically, techniques to attain altered states of consciousness, usually called meditation, or sometimes prayer, actually involve various forms of concentration, the first level of this kind of internal work. The linear scale of progression is Concentration, then Meditation, and finally Contemplation. Virtually all categories of meditation are, in actuality, forms of concentration. What makes them so are the innate “goals” or ambitions attached to them: to achieve a state or to acquire something, like relaxation, insight or “advancement.” This then constructs a dichotomy, or dualism, between the pursuer and the thing pursued. That is, you are conscious of or believe in something “better,” you are separate from it, and there is effort to attain it.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Every brilliant theory in physics, for example, has been proven mainly wrong, except for the most recent ones, which will be. The big players, like Newton and Copernicus, gave us answers that were later proved more wrong than right. What they did—and why they are valued—is direct our attention to more piercing and compelling questions or possibilities. (I’d suggest the same holds true for the big spiritual players, but that’s a different letter.)”

― Darrell Calkins

“Meditation, in contrast, is the accidental moments of actual harmony that arrive anyway when you are trying to get something, even in trying to get harmony or calm. This often happens outside of the intention to meditate, and most people access the beginnings of this through other events, such as walking, working, athletic activities, or transitional moments, such as between waking and sleeping. The effect, in brief, is one of harmony and well-being, from which other insights or intuitive glimpses can naturally emerge. The moment you notice this, the meditation is over.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Contemplation is purer still, yet more sophisticated. This comes from a strongly developed base of concentration—basically, constancy—through any temptation, including altered states of consciousness, that leads one to meditation (effortless engagement), from which is born an intuitive connection to that which is being focused upon (often, the nature of being in the moment, which is the default “focus”). Some people can attain this state accidentally through some combination of surprising events, which is sometimes called revelation. Fewer still can cause this to happen intentionally, mainly because you have to surprise yourself to have it occur. In any case, it requires a real sense of the value of paradox. One leaves a single position behind (such as “I like this” or “I don’t like this”) and expands in comprehension to simultaneously experience its opposite as well. From there, one rises above the two through a creative burst of intuition, and looks down on them both. What you might call transcendence, although I prefer mildly amused.”

― Darrell Calkins

“It is important to understand that the experience of joy and grace, as well as contentment and salvation, is not arrived at by the elimination of conflict, but through one’s precision of movement within it.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The essential war within, and the cause of suffering, begins with the presumption that yearning, impulse and curiosity, desire and question, exist so as to end them. To attain, to acquire, to answer.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The nature of yearning is urgent so as to guarantee evolution, change.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Progress and accomplishment with anything and everything depend on how much quality one brings to the show. What makes for quality, if one breaks it down, is spectrum and depth of virtue.”

― Darrell Calkins

“What is at the base of shame or guilt? It is the consciousness of an imbalance, or of an action in the past that has caused, and probably continues to cause, suffering.”

― Darrell Calkins

“We have been trained to feel shame and guilt basically as a means to cause fear and hesitation, to control behavior, or to oppress real freedom and joy. The origins of that are communal fear, jealousy and the desire for power over others. Consequently, many people have the addiction of using shame or guilt simply to avoid possibilities in life, and have, at the same time, a reason to avoid them—if you act spontaneously or feel joy, the result will eventually bring suffering, so you had better watch out, and don’t ever forget the past shame and guilt.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Intuitive perception will mostly come through very short-term incoming revelation–when we forget about ourselves.”

― Darrell Calkins

“As we move through time, we age, with the general speed of everything and the chaos that that produces in us in the form of anxiety, fear, confusion and negotiating an already-existing war, there is little time and space left to adjust to our developing relationship to yearning. In other words, as our needs are met, the question answered, we don’t then move on to the next question.”

― Darrell Calkins

“In the construction of one’s life, we define ourselves largely by the problems we engage and the debts we incur. The greater and more sophisticated the problems, the greater and more sophisticated the person. True resolution, or transcendence of endless dichotomy, is rare indeed. To truly make a debt vanish requires, in a way, a certain kind of magic. In all traditions, this is looked upon as one of the great mystical tricks. It is not forgotten, fixed, or hidden perfectly; it disappears. To have this occur, one must do more than simply forgive (another or oneself), although in action that’s an important step. One intuits the value of the problem as the birth of possibility.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The experience of frustration comes from the separation we impose between our yearning and our fear. Generally, we yearn for that which we fear, or at least fear the unknown (mystery, and therefore and paradoxically, truth) that will be caused through the pursuit of yearning. The more the separation between these two, yearning and fear, the more frustration if you are conscious, or the more neurosis if you are not (literally, “I can’t stand the frustration, I’m going crazy”).”

― Darrell Calkins

“The simple, external acts in which you resolve shame and guilt, and set right a debt, by passing by them all and giving something grander even so and instead of. You end the circle by leaving it behind. Conscience brings awareness of the need to change something, but the source of your actions must become inspiration and devotion. You’re not doing it to get out of debt; you are doing it because you know it to be the thing to do.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Through the realization of the potentials and possibilities within and outside of you, one connects imagination with reality. What could be becomes so.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Sustainable serenity, joy and fulfillment demand greater spiritual virtuosity, which is only found through deeper integration of conscience into the mix of one’s core intent.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Through the realization of the potentials and possibilities within and outside of you, one connects imagination with reality. What could be becomes so. You transform what exists, causing not only its evolution, but determining to a large part the course of its evolution. It’s a kind of alchemy in that what you create has not existed before, you give birth to other potentials and possibilities, which continues and expands the program. Perhaps more importantly, the very core of existence is touched and celebrated, that being creation itself.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Transcendence is a word I don’t use often; I prefer transformation. Why? Because the essential game is about using what is in front of you and in you exactly as it is, but finding a way to do something with that that is surprising and an expression of inspiration and intuition. You engage reality and make something out of it that only you can, alchemizing limitation, conflict or what appears to be bad into something else.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The depth and complexity of the questions we’ve recently been engaging tend to ignite associated questions very quickly. The family members of these subjects—purpose, responsibility, devotion, commitment, trust, yearning—and their neighbors—frustration, jealousy, ambition, sloth, etc.—get all excited and have things to say to each other. Because of the pressure and tension between them, one has to negotiate the dialogue carefully and use a lot of patience, tolerance and other unsexy qualities. Otherwise, we’ve got another war on our hands.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Transcendence is more about the personal act of not engaging the enemy, finding a way out of the cage that is being designed for you at a particular moment by others, circumstance, or your own bad habits and ignorance.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Anguish – discontentment, stress, anxiety to profound sorrow, rage, despair…the experts who deal with these problems all point to three key factors that reduce these for everyone: creativity, service and physicality.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Transformation, on the other hand, is creating beauty from horror or destruction (or, for beginners, an actually pleasant evening with the usual family problems).”

― Darrell Calkins

“True strength. There is no conflict with vulnerability or humility. Indeed, vulnerability and humility are essential here, and ultimately what makes strength true. One does not don the mask of strength in response to fear, which is a con, like those crazy small reptiles that stand up on their hind legs and spread useless wings to intimidate as a last resort. You stand there in self-respect for Christ’s sake and take it with some courage, responding in accordance with your honest values, taking sincere responsibility for them. Stand up for who you truly are, not the image you would like to sell, nor shrink to fit into the false harmony around you.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Like all things organically formed, there does exist a harmony, interrelated patterns, intuitive logic, and purpose, but these are subtle and you can’t find them exclusively by emotional or intellectual analysis. At first glance it’s all too complex and liquid-like, and our minds and emotions look for control and relief. To know water, you have to get wet; you can’t just sit back and analyze its components. So, do try to enjoy the swim, and don’t be afraid to just sit back and drink now and then—the water’s clean.”

― Darrell Calkins

“In the quest for a functional and direct interaction between imagination and reality, and the evolution of them both, there is in place a natural resistance, which I have referred to as Creative Resistance, because it demands just that: creativity. Much of this calls for redefining, or refining, one’s relationship with time, and all the qualities and skills that will only come from engaging time more creatively and effectively. As such, part of the bargain is about acquiescing to a rhythm that is subtler and has more definite purpose to it than one’s subjective preferences.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Your purpose, and its specific expressions, expands and accelerates as it becomes more similar to Nature’s purpose. The tools you need to apply it you collect along the path in discovering what that is. Time is there to provide you with the “opportunities” to find more creative responses to things like frustration, confusion and self-righteousness. As you gently, oh so gently and delicately, adjust to the requirements that exist in your actual circumstance, you are given the tools needed to surpass them.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Traditionally, true contemplation involves an act of devotion, wherein self-consciousness is removed by transferring consciousness onto the thing at hand. The better you perceive it, the less you observe yourself doing that. In other words, you could say that, at least for the extended moments of engaging it, you love it more than yourself.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The seed of all this is imagination. But when you think of imagination, it helps to view it more as it exists in the rest of nature, rather than as we tend to see it in humans. That is, that imagination is actual and a need, immediately searches for expression, and con- sequently, is intimately connected to yearning and its instantaneous application. This is also the case in human beings, but we generally associate it with unnecessary, or extra, expression, such as an ability to make something more attractive or stimulating (the current view of art, for example), or the creative use of “free time” (time left over after you have done what you had to do).”

― Darrell Calkins

“Appreciation, affection, focus and intention fill up the space of self-reflection, and one loses oneself in the engagement. And what a relief it is when you get there.”

― Darrell Calkins

“On a psychological and physiological level, the habits of contraction are often caused by the desire to control or acquire, even to acquire generosity or devotion or emptiness. These are subtle and take time to identify and release. Under this is the desire for self-gain or improvement, to win something or better something. Those intentions are healthy enough up to a point, but to really see and engage what you have in front of you, you have to intend that it gains or wins.”

― Darrell Calkins

“In an animal’s or a plant’s expression of imagination (let’s leave out the rest for now, so we don’t have to deal with the question of consciousness in, for example, minerals), there is always purity in the connection between need and evolution. That which is created is a response to reality and very specific, essential concerns. This then is the origin of the union between what is so and mysterious harmony—truth and beauty. The bridge between them is inspired intuition and the actions it causes. Or, imagination causes inspiration causes intuition causes beauty, which then causes imagination again…”

― Darrell Calkins

“One could make a nice link between imagination and spirit. To make that link, all we need is some inspiration. Essentially, imagination has the innate potential to compel or inspire and to set in motion causation. That’s why it exists.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Preceding the birth of every religion, there was someone who was an incarnation of this process: imagination causes inspiration causes intuition causes beauty, which causes imagination…the dynamic that takes place in the dimension of spirit. That is, for whatever reasons that will remain mysterious, although they are suggested in various schools of thought, someone got the cause thing down right, and the rest flowed. After the fact, an effort was made, almost always by others, to control both the impact of this and the possible benefits from it. Ambition and desire took over. Where you had an exact presentation, or manifestation, of beauty and truth, somebody began using it for other purposes.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If your curiosity reaches a breaking point (compelled actually means that you only have the remaining choice to act on it, having tried all the other options before), and becomes fascination with mystery or truth, you find what you need. Maybe it’s a person, maybe it’s a tragedy, maybe it’s an explosive recognition that, “My God, I’m still alive.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Life will give you what you need once you will do something with it. It may not give you what you want so as to be as comfortable as you want, as Nature’s concern is need as it relates to evolution. In my humble opinion, Nature is too kind, but, as I say, the game is big, and the challenges and temptations absolute. And this is a fascinating aspect of the totality of beauty; it gives more than is only necessary. The generosity is mind- and heart boggling.”

― Darrell Calkins

“It takes a relative amount of courage just to get out of bed each day. There are those who are stronger in their courage, and they help to compel us along a little further in the fulfillment of our faith.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The exact proportion and combination of the qualities within you, as they are, even while you search and struggle for them to be different or better, is a unique beauty.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The infinite possibilities that exist in any given moment cause infinite possibilities in response. The wording is correct here; the possibilities exist already, and have already caused the existing possibilities of response.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Sometimes I wonder how much of our suffering we allow or impose on ourselves simply in search of our worthiness to accept our own respect and appreciation.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Sometimes I wonder how much of our suffering we allow or impose on ourselves simply in search of our worthiness to accept our own respect and appreciation. I’d written before some years ago that we often cause suffering in another so that we can then love them, as in, “You have suffered for me, so I can love you now.” The eventual shock of realizing the sacrifice made for you destroys the walls of self-righteousness and protection. The suffering sacrifice of another creates the willingness and capacity to do the same. Finally, love and respect (respect is part of the body of love) come from the recognition of something else already given up for them.

Within the individual, you or me, a similar process takes place toward oneself. It is as if we know some- where that we are not worthy of our own love or respect until we have earned the right to it, and that is mainly through some kind of suffering. That suffering may be generic, as in a life lived in which tragedy after tragedy accumulate, or it may be specific, as in the constant sacrifice of other easier things for a being or vision. Or, perhaps more correctly, it is either consciously chosen or not.”

― Darrell Calkins

“What is it that we do here? By easing away from the mania that pulls on us, recalling and reconnecting with our essential spirit and callings, we regenerate our core inspiration and faith in Life and our place within it…with a purposeful eye toward facilitating evolution toward ‘More capable human beings,’ meaning grander, freer, more authentic and meaningfully effective.

How do we do that? By delving into pockets of rituals that have, across traditions and cultures, produced superior forms of insight and understanding, healing, evolution and resolution. One could call these tunnels into beauty, truth and love. And we can find access to them in any given day of our lives.”


― Darrell Calkins

“My personal sense of presence that I kind of carry around with me is along the lines of “Somebody has to be there first before acting.” The more one is there, the better the results in whatever you’re doing — more precision, subtlety, relevance…and much less dispersion and depletion. When you watch someone who is good at this, you can sometimes feel like they’re actually stretching out the walls of possibility in a given situation, literally creating open space. Much of this comes only through time and experience, eventual understanding that how one does something, not the specifics of action, is what impacts others most.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Of course, the self-righteous demand and expectation for love, and exactly how it should be expressed, is not the most streamlined method for producing it in another for you. That is, it does not compel or create the love itself. You’re neither loving nor producing that which would compel the love toward you. You’re compressed between them both and incapable of accepting either. And rightly so. Which then accelerates the accumulating suffering.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The composite of what you know to do—that which compels you, that which you are naturally already drawn to, that which exploits the unique potentials inside you, that which you know you are capable of doing, that which will build a bridge between imagination and reality—causes a relationship that obliges sacrifice.”

― Darrell Calkins

“My hope and intent is to provide a wide range of resources and ideas that provoke real questions and considerations under the surface of common dialogue. With a definite thrust toward clues for moving beyond limiting patterns that restrict our personal and communal evolution and experience of, as well as effectiveness in, life. Part of that is about giving different angles of insight into the why and how of developing skills, whatever they may be. I think the larger discussion, or maybe the more relevant one surrounding skills development, involves what quality of fuel is being used to run the skill. Inevitably, and very quickly, this enters into considerations of how much of oneself one brings to the show. For example, anyone can learn a sophisticated skill in an extremely short period of time, once they’re completely convinced of the need, benefit and value of doing so and find enough full-bodied conviction to engage it accordingly (“You never hear anyone practicing a language; they simply listen and then begin to speak.” — Wade Davis).”

― Darrell Calkins

“Because as you become better at everything, as the innate skills actually manifest in reality, the bar rises for the next jump. The core demand for evolution is relentless, and respect, happiness, love and joy are irrevocably tied to it.”

― Darrell Calkins

“One of the great images to come down to us through Zen Buddhism is the encounter between an enlightened master and an advanced apprentice during the course of a shared meal. The apprentice, becoming fed up with the stress and waiting and the master’s apparent disregard for him, demands an explanation without complication of exactly how to become enlightened. The master asks, “Have you finished your rice?” “Yes,” says the apprentice. “Then go wash your bowl.”

― Darrell Calkins

“There’s a tunnel between our external skill sets and our deepest longings and passions. People with the highest developed skills always know how to traverse that tunnel. That is, personal integration and wholeness — and consequent accomplishment and fulfillment — are largely about “enlightening” the tool with the best we have in us. The tool could be anything — a voice or body, a musical instrument or paint brush, a trowel or computer. But skill is made up of capability, and that requires practiced familiarity over time with how to inject into the moment our unique talents, virtues and qualities.”

― Darrell Calkins

“My take on personal evolution is largely about the spirit of connecting and disconnecting things, relating to what I call “the gap” or time and space between things. It is also about becoming practical in all this, developing the power and precision to simply bring the grand ideas home, to compress the paradigm of perception/choice/action/result into a single gesture.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The ability to remain constant, whole and playful, even while working technically, concentrating and upholding urgency, is essential to achieve a state of balance that will allow for this to happen. This has to come to life, and cannot stay just an idea or hope or intention or imitation, or ignored. The guarantee and proof that this balance and power is real is in its actualization. That is, that it manifests in functional reality. As in any intention, whether that be vague or specific, an ambition or desire, a goal or state of being, a question or hope, a curiosity or purpose, there exist natural and unnatural obstacles to its realization.”

― Darrell Calkins

“What you have to do to achieve what you want necessitates the creative actualization of the totality of your being as it is. Nothing more, but also nothing less.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Recent discoveries in developmental psychology and other behavioral disciplines have shown that babies are born with a “first draft” of a moral mind. Among others, brain scientist, Gary Marcus, has described this moral understanding as “already defined and organized before experience.” Evolutionary psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, describes this first draft of the moral mind as consisting of five primary values. Modern cross-cultural anthropologists point to these same five primary values as the foundation of all cultures, currently and historically, and 21st century ethologists suggest the same values apply to most if not all species.”

― Darrell Calkins

“There is something mysterious yet definitely accessible to us all under the agitated waves of difficulty that allows us to feel and flow along a more comprehensive intuitive and spiritual understanding of true meaning. And to find solace, accepting serenity and even beauty within it.”

― Darrell Calkins

“By music I mean the ‘spirit of the game,’ which is what all spirituality ultimately points to — ‘I hear the voice’ (of Nature, God, beauty, truth, love…). Hear it and move onto or into. The easiest way to do that is to notice and invest in whatever it is that provokes wonderment. You could call this coming back to mysticism as a way of life. We were all already there as children.”

― Darrell Calkins

“It’s misleading or deceptive in a way that such skills are learned like any other — simple practice, sincere investment over time. Yes, like small steps, one at a time, to cross the bridge. Just a single step today.”

― Darrell Calkins

“I don’t really consider myself to be a teacher, although I understand that others do. There’s a certain restriction or reduction in that stereotype that doesn’t ring true. Especially the underlying assumption that I know something that others don’t, and my job is to give them what I know. That’s simply not true.”

― Darrell Calkins

“We do have some capacity to determine how things evolve, and how we evolve, individually and as a community or race. That’s a tremendous freedom and a tremendous responsibility.”

― Darrell Calkins

“We survive largely because of the existence and recognition of high-end qualities—compassion, integrity, courage, humility, etc. These are how we perceive spirit. Even the most cynical and fatalistic bastard will snap out of self-absorption, abuse and hopelessness when confronted by an extreme expression of any one of these qualities. (Case studies show that this also applies even to rapists and murderers, not always, but more so than any other technique or therapy.) That is, beyond belief, the desire to feel good, or even hope or despair, there does exist an essential intuitive value system in each of us. This runs through and across every culture, and even every species. I don’t believe that those intuitive values are there to fool us into occupying ourselves so as to feel good while waiting for the inevitable to happen. Nature is not so decadent. Or cynical.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Whether or not we personally do impact some ultimate evolution beyond ourselves, we can definitely influence what happens today. To choose to waste a day, or a lifetime, is opposed to the essential spirit of life, expressed, sacrificed for, and upheld through every perceivable interaction in nature. It’s also opposed to every human expression of spirit throughout history. We know to live up to our potential, to fulfill the trust of creation by moving forward, even if we don’t believe it or feel like it or know why.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The primary reason that I’m not a representative of specific groups or schools of thought is that that choice gives me the freedom to look at these groups and thoughts from the inside and the outside. I’m trying to be honest in that role—what really works here and what does not? That is, I have nothing to sell or win by any given position. I’m promoting a similar process for any person I interact with in my work, including toward me.

Investment in a given idea or group tends to immediately shut down options for perception, and then choice. Prejudice, bigotry and arrogance breed from that. One is forced to think a certain way to stay within the group or thought, and then to defend against apparent opposition. This constructs and feeds the kinds of adamant separation and conflict we see so many manifestations of on every level. In many cases, it’s also the cause of deep internal conflict in most individuals, yet it isn’t really addressed.”


― Darrell Calkins

“There are some things that don’t function as one would assume. For example, the impulse and linear thinking associated with the search for happiness most often produce questions like, “What’s in it for me?” or “How do I get what I want?” Paradoxically, if you will, that very question pushes authentic happiness away. Now, to try to explain that to someone in such a way that they hear and are interested by the idea is going to probably involve some paradox and non-linearity.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Freedom and responsibility themselves are at stake. One does not find freedom or enact responsibility by surrendering to another’s conceptualization of these ideas. Living out the rules of conscience laid down by someone else for the attainment of an unquestioned goal, a freedom designed and articulated by someone else, is the surrender of human imagination and intuition.

In the more extreme versions of this, we end up with a collective momentum resulting in events such as Nazi extermination of millions of Jews, the Inquisition, or similar events recently in Africa and elsewhere. That comes from allocating one’s conscience to someone else, not attending to one’s own deeper intuitive sense of right and wrong.”


― Darrell Calkins

“Each religion has provided a tremendous service in defining elements of conscience. They have made it possible for us to live together in a society, to work toward common goals, and to learn how to accept or tolerate relative opposition to our own opinions. I also think that this has been done much as a parent needs to provide a similar service for an adolescent. Internal and external conflict requires discipline to organize and structure some form of minimizing the chaos imposed on others.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If you don’t practice presence, you never learn how to have busyness facilitate accomplishment.”

― Darrell Calkins

“There is a pivot point, however, to become an adult. That transition comes from recognizing and acting in accordance with your own deepest impulses. On the responsibility front, that means acting in harmony with your conscience, not because you’re going to be punished if you don’t, or paid for it if you do (heaven, enlightenment, salvation, or whatever), but because you know it to be right. On the freedom front, that means acquiescing to your deepest inspirations, following what truly compels you, even when it’s difficult to do so. These two principles brought together in the same time and space is what integrity is all about. And it is only through such integrity that you resolve conflict between the two of them: what you “know to do” and what you “want to do.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Forgiveness is really about absolution: to set free. But if you look carefully at the dynamic, the one you’re setting free is yourself.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Whether or not one believes in the accelerating dangers of the climate crisis, the end of fossil fuels, or the permanent annihilation of species of plants, insects and animals that essentially cover our ass by maintaining an inconceivably complex environment in which we have the freedom and responsibility to do pretty much whatever we’d like, it’s not too difficult to at least perceive the dangers of heightened tensions between cultures that now, for the first time, have the power to annihilate each other or the entire planet.”

― Darrell Calkins

“We all understand the value of sacrifice, even if that only involves setting aside dessert so as to lose weight, or putting money in the bank so as to later buy a house. Progress or achievement in any arena requires choices that often oppose what one feels like doing. The trick in truly succeeding with this in the long run is locating enough depth of feeling that the experience of conflicting desires dissolves. For that to happen, one has to learn how to think emotionally and physiologically.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Traditional stoicism, indifference to pleasure or pain, is a form of imposing conscience so as to block more immediate desires. The problem is that it eventually collapses on itself because natural emotional and physiological impulses are being ignored or repressed. To pass beyond that dichotomy—”I want to eat ice cream, and yet I don’t”—requires conceiving and creating an integrated mind in which our passions and childlike impulses find expression through conscience. In other words, what we feel like doing and what we “should” do become one and the same.”

― Darrell Calkins

“We don’t know how to feel with conscience. Ideas like integrity or devotion remain abstract, theoretically correct and good, but lacking the ability to produce immediately fulfilling emotions or sensations. What I mean by learning to think emotionally and physiologically is rediscovering the visceral joy of investing in what we already love, the kind of unquestioned spiritual relentlessness we had as kids. As adults, that demands an internal dialogue through which we transpose the search for pleasure onto a platform that is in harmony with our conscience and real responsibilities. We find the pleasure in applied conscience. That’s a lot easier than it sounds. Basically, it’s about recognizing and feeling passion for what we really want to do in our lives.”

― Darrell Calkins

“On those who try to make me their guru or master, my approach is to start destroying that from the first moment we meet. It probably seems naive and idealistic, but I rely on basic, old-fashioned qualities in keeping my interactions clean: integrity, chivalry, honesty. In my experience, it’s not that difficult to eliminate the guru paradigm and stereotype, if one really wants to. Finally, it comes down to simply not accepting a role or the associated temptations offered.”

― Darrell Calkins

“General attitude and outlook—the way we perceive and experience anything—is more influenced by our physical state than anything other single factor. I’d guess that for most of us, at least 50% of our struggles and discontent are brought on by being physically out of balance. The causes of that imbalance are many, but at the core, there’s an insensitivity or inability to locate and maneuver essential physical processes within us: how to breathe, how to sit, stand and walk, how to see and hear, how to slow down or speed up, how to relax, how to sleep, how to eat, how to adjust our physiological responses to the different circumstances we find ourselves within. This kind of removal or abstraction from our physicality causes an enormous amount of problems on many levels. One key result of it is a distrust in our own ability to influence our emotional state and our energy and perspectives in general; we often feel that we can’t get our hands on the control switches, as if most of life just happens and we can’t do much about it.”

― Darrell Calkins

“On an even subtler dimension, clarity, intuitive knowledge and contentment are primarily determined by chemical and hormonal balances in the body and brain. Most of this is entirely manipulable through fairly simple physical exercises that anyone can do.”

― Darrell Calkins

“In my work, I try to create situations in which we take ideas, information, experiences and qualities to a pragmatic arena. Then within those, to relearn or experiment with how we respond to internal and external variables. There’s no point to understanding something but remaining incapable of applying it. I think real knowledge and understanding is experiential, and the easiest way to access those is through our physical being.”

― Darrell Calkins

“I think that as a species we’ve played at being the self-indulgent, spoiled adolescent way too long, and now there are permanent damages and absolute risks that most people are ignoring.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The temptations and reactions that can cause non-creativity, imbalance and distraction are many. Let’s start with the prejudice everyone has against imposed challenges. It’s a concept that people associate with an accusation, a kind of guilty until proven innocent. Or, you’re not good enough until you prove it, with the implication behind this that you will probably fail or are unworthy. If you settle for this association at the expense of perceiving the actuality and necessity of challenge, or Creative Resistance, in hundreds or thousands of situations in every day of your life, and in anything worthy of your attention, you bought into the illusion sold basically to keep you small, in control, like those and safe for those who sell it.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Resolution of conflicting interests within each of us—the desire to fulfill a personal purpose versus the desire to forget about it and just go have fun, for example—takes time and focus and application of a lot of qualities, like playing a difficult piece of music with two hands on the piano. Many people are looking for a simple pill to make that apparent dichotomy go away. Once they discover it doesn’t exist, it’s very frustrating.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The purest definition of “religious” is: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The challenges are illusions, but necessary ones to determine if you can see through them.”

― Darrell Calkins

“There are so many stereotypes, prepackaged concepts and platitudes out there in our thinking on the divine, and the associated emotions those produce; it’s very difficult to transcend. But that’s ultimately what experiencing the divine is all about: transcending stereotypes, concepts and platitudes. As soon as one falls back on an acceptable definition or understanding, it disappears. It’s like water; the moment you try to grasp it, you lose it.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Accurately perceiving and following one’s intuition is, I think, the essential human spiritual process. The distractions, confusion, misinterpretations and temptations that oppose that process are enormous. At the same time, there are always clues for how to go about it. The divine is a mystery, so the impulse to really discover, like a child, has to be the core response to anything; that’s the only way beyond the habits, presumptions and prejudices that feed ignorance and fear. To question well, instead of hiding behind a belief or answer, requires the application of the most valued of all human qualities, such as compassion, courage, imagination, respect, humility, devotion, and ultimately love of life itself.

This kind of passionate questing is evident in the most admired and, if you will, divine individuals in every culture, religion, and skill throughout history.”


― Darrell Calkins

“More focus has been placed on these subjects through human history than on anything else—mystery and mysticism, God, imagination, intuition, the nature of relationships, human purpose, happiness and salvation…”

― Darrell Calkins

“In terms of achieving what I call “being in the right place at the right time,” one has to know balance. Not from the outside as an observer, but from the inside out. For every individual, that requires creating a successful balanced interface between what one is compelled by and the essential principles of nature, which we comprehend through our intuitive conscience. Those are our clues to the mystery. When one gets it right, there it is.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Now, if you open the treasure chest of desire, what do you find there? What do all the desires have in common? You. Go ahead and stop here and test it for a few days if you are really serious about the question. After you get past the first thousand, you begin to enter into a subtle territory, known as the border between desire and yearning. Or, if you want, between answers and questions. The defining quality, or essence, of desire is that it is engaged as if it were an answer.”

― Darrell Calkins

“My intention is not to define a perfect life and then cause an unhappy analysis of what you are not doing correctly or are incapable of doing.”

― Darrell Calkins

“There is an actual and palpable hierarchy of emotional, mental and physiological intensity that corresponds to the actual capacities and limitations of human beings. In other words, there does exist a real and definable scale of suffering, and of joy.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Although each of us has the right to believe we are suffering, I suppose, there is a definite and ultimately essential distinction to be made between actual suffering, its cause and resolution, and invented or imagined suffering.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The subjective experience of intense pain (‘That’s all I can take’) corresponds exactly to one’s subjective experience in relation to truth (‘That’s all I can take’).”

― Darrell Calkins

“The transitory and random quality of emotions (‘Well, that’s just the way I feel about it’) is deeply connected to, and largely the cause of, random engagement of one’s values and priorities. This very randomness and inconsistency is actually the cause of deeper suffering, primarily through the accumulation of addictions and the indulgence in reactions that are disproportionately small in comparison to what is really being sacrificed for them. Curiously—and a major theme in my own work over decades—the casual association of emotions to love is part of the insanity in all this.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If you, one, loves something or someone, that means that one is willing to, and does, sacrifice for it. That is, one chooses to do and give what is better to the being or thing one loves than to sacrifice the loved one for the personal emotion that is unrelated to or even hinders the giving. In other words, the way to transform an emotion is with a deeper one. This involves discernment and, yes, discipline, which are both frowned upon and seen as emotionless and less important. Which is immaturity, plain and simple, and is the fundamental aspect of human growth from child to adolescence to adult.”

― Darrell Calkins

“True balance, and harmony, necessitates finding a way to override the addictive, reactive emotions that are the fabric of one’s subjective illusion, and discover emotions that correspond to actuality.”

― Darrell Calkins

“On the high-end spectrum of emotions, which are innately connected to intuition and direct comprehension as well as imagination and creativity, meaning true empathy and knowledge, appreciative realization, transformation and invention, one finds a richer and more voluptuous combination of experience. Unfortunately, to ‘get there,’ one has to be willing to sacrifice what is known for what is not.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If one follows what is in one’s heart (let’s leave out mind for the moment), one ends up with what one truly values and loves in life—and one acts accordingly. One’s own private indulgent cyclic habitual reactive subjective transitory feelings are, hopefully, not at the head of that list.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Yearning often does not provide a sense of attainment or ‘peace,’ as it is fuel for one’s personal purpose, to in some specific way give or create; to do that is not necessarily easy or peaceful.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The trick is in genuinely appreciating the elements of apparent resistance while you are engaging them. Not to oppose or remove them as much as to creatively fold them into one’s linear line of movement, exploiting them and making the necessary adjustments as you go.”

― Darrell Calkins

“It’s highly refined stuff—holding to one’s purpose and focus, but also intuiting the value of being a piece in a larger design and evolution. The balance between these two rhythms is where and when true harmony is achieved and magic happens. Often, just the release of the obsession for personal preferences and to personally gain opens the door.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If I were to make a list of focus for well-being, I would begin with lifestyle (the totality of one’s circumstance and how that is engaged, including job and relationships, and proximity to nature), attending to the physical functions correctly (posture, breathing, exercise, food, rest, etc.), consistent expression of your natural range of qualities, working and playing well and hard, and designing things so that you are doing what compels you. Obviously, you can’t give this list out as a prescription for physical problems and diseases, but then again, it is probably the correct prescription. If one were to follow it, any specific problem, even extreme, would almost certainly resolve itself.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If I were to make a list of focus for well-being, I would begin with lifestyle (the totality of one’s circumstance and how that is engaged, including job and relationships, and proximity to nature), attending to the physical functions correctly (posture, breathing, exercise, food, rest, etc.), consistent expression of your natural range of qualities, working and playing well and hard, and designing things so that you are doing what compels you.”

― Darrell Calkins

“As I’ve mentioned too often before, we are governed, and specifically our physicality is governed, by fairly strict rules, which are easily observable in nature. We have some freedom to manipulate some of these, but really not by very much. Everyone knows, or at least has the information, about the horrors of ignoring health issues and expecting your body to do what you want it to do with the least investment in it. Another ‘authority’ telling you what you should do is not the answer.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Ironically, many of the institutions that run the economy, such as medicine, education, law and even psychology are largely dependent upon failing health. If you add up the amounts of money exchanged in the control, anticipation and reaction to failing health (insurance, pharmaceutical research and products, reactive or compensatory medicine, related legal issues, consultation and therapy for those who are unwilling to improve their physical health and claim or believe the problem is elsewhere, etc.), you end up with an enormous chunk. To keep that moving, we need people to be sick. Then we have the extreme social emphasis placed on the pursuit and maintenance of a lifestyle based on making money at any cost, often at the sacrifice of health, sanity and well-being.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Getting down to the gym a couple days a week and having low-fat milk in your morning latte isn’t going to make much of a dent in a system or lifestyle that is essentially, well, unwell.”

― Darrell Calkins

“No one will improve his health significantly without accurately perceiving priorities, knowing clearly what is at stake if those are not attended to and what is to be gained if acted on correctly. That’s the basic homework before any change can come about. Then that knowledge has to be transformed into a sustainable motivation.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The typical image of a depressed, lazy and tired person is someone hunched over and inert. Often, the assumption is that if one had more enthusiasm and inspiration, he would thenstand up straight and move. In many cases, this equation is backward. But, as with everything related to one’s physicality, balance is the key. An overly erect and rigid posture may convey confidence and power to some, but it also causes a subtle accumulation of tension and rigidity on various levels, including psychological and emotional.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Besides having been identified recently as the single most important factor in what men find sexy in women, the list of how correct posture influences internal organs and systems, and also mood and general energy, is very long indeed. Your internal environment depends on the efficiency of the flow of elements within it. Obviously, this includes oxygen, blood, hormones and nutrients, but also all interaction between nerves and the brain. The spine, which is your foundation and support, has a natural position that guarantees the efficiency of movement and interaction of the related elements. Your internal organs are all right alongside the spine and depend on its correct position to function well. Any prolonged restriction or deviation from this natural position will result in some, at least partial, dysfunction. Over a long time, the results can be devastating.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The essential dynamic underlying almost every elite and esoteric physical art is work with the breath, so there’s information available. I would only add that it’s unfortunate that so much work is done with it, and not much play. Laughter has got to be the single healthiest activity one can perform. Just think how healthy you would be if you could sincerely laugh at that which now oppresses you. I’ve mentioned before that one good measure of someone’s depth of spirituality is how long it takes before they become offended. Imagine laughing hysterically at the criticisms, complaints and impositions you receive. At the least, you’d be breathing well.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Laughter has got to be the single healthiest activity one can perform. Just think how healthy you would be if you could sincerely laugh at that which now oppresses you.”

― Darrell Calkins

“The human body, like the human mind, is best at versatility and adaptability. This is our greatest skill and our greatest chance to unlock natural potential. What that means in terms of physical movement is that a fairly equal amount of time and effort should be allocated to the widest possible range of activity. That includes strength, flexibility, precision and endurance, but it certainly doesn’t stop there.”

― Darrell Calkins

“‘A balanced diet’ is not so much about protein/fat/carbohydrate ratios. The real ratios to consider, at least for the typical American or European, are energy consumption/expenditure, pleasure/actual need, food/everything else.”

― Darrell Calkins

“I look at the idea of rest as rotating one’s qualitative focus, not just doing less or changing activity. The role of rest is recovery. If you keep pushing the same quality button (fast or slow, concentrated or dispersed, hard-working or lazy…) for the same component all the time, of course it’s going to become depleted, just like if you keep working a single muscle in the same fashion or don’t use it at all.”

― Darrell Calkins

“In my experience, most people are actually seeking recovery from the monotony and anxiety of qualitative repetition. This applies to body, emotions and mind. And that monotony and anxiety involves inertia just as much as over-use, meaning inertia in some areas and over-use in others.”

― Darrell Calkins

“People generally believe that stress is responsible for depletion, but apathy and uninspired systematic repetition are equally responsible. Or rather, systematic repetition produces as much or more stress and anxiety as anything else.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Recovery through sleep isn’t going to happen if the majority of the components of your being aren’t getting enough stimulation or resistance to work against. Your brain may be tired after work, but if your body and emotions haven’t been challenged through the day, they’re going to keep irritating you even if you’re asleep. They don’t need rest; they need work for real recovery to take place.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Well-being, or wholeness, implies integrity and harmony between all existing elements, providing freedom for the whole.”

― Darrell Calkins

“If you’re ignoring a high percentage of the elements of your entire being, and the range of qualities they can naturally engage, there will be no real recovery or progress until you do. The typical relentless worker is just as lazy as the typical indulgent idler; they’re both just going through the habitual motions. To break the repetitive pattern, and discover more energy and effectiveness, one simply must stretch out in all directions, rotating focus and application of the qualities that make up one’s natural versatility.”

― Darrell Calkins

“Physical well-being necessitates listening to what you already know, and then taking it seriously enough to act accordingly. When you wake up and feel the impulse to arch your back, stretch and exhale with a loud sigh, for God’s sake, do it.”

― Darrell Calkins