Max Ehrmann’s ‘Desiderata’

About the poem:    Desiderata (Latin: desired things), a prose poem written by American author Max Ehrmann in 1927.  Copies in poster form started to circulate in the mid-60s.  In 1967, the prose went mainstream as recited by artist Leonard Nimoy, calling it “Spock Thoughts”.  –

What it means to me:  This poem is a gem! A theater director handed me a copy of Desiderata twenty years ago; she even asked me to memorize it.  The poem turned out to be ‘a gift’.  A couple of months ago, for the first time in N years, I had to dig it out of a virtual treasure chest —  while I was ‘soul-searching’…for there are moments that warrant the need to read something in order for us to cope – for us to be reminded of things which we already know…  I find it difficult at this moment to paint a vivid picture of how it was to go on a soul-searching mode nearing mid-life. Whew! Over it! =)


Marie Antoinette’s Estate – Versailles, France
Photo by: C. Dirampaten

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. 

As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. 

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.  Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in  the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.  Especially, do not feign affection.  Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.  Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not
distress yourself with dark imaginings.  Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the starts; you have the right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.  Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 

With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. 

Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy.

Blooms – Riksjmuseum, Amsterdam
Photo by: C. Dirampaten


Notes on Introspection

Introspection (or internal perception) is the self-examination of one’s conscious thoughts and feelings. In psychology, the process of introspection relies exclusively on the purposeful and rational self-observation of one’s mental state; however, introspection is sometimes referenced in a spiritual context as the examination of one’s soul.  Introspection is closely related the philosophical concept of human self-reflection, and is contrasted with external observation. – Wikipedia


Photo by: A. Sales

I used to be so excited about the Year of the Dragon, but after facing the first quarter storm, I was under the impression that 2012 would be a lackluster year…I was wrong.  Change of perspective or luck?  =)

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. ” – Dalai Lama XIV

“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers, because their presence provide you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience, and understanding.” – Dalai Lama XIV

I’m not as feisty as I was in my 20s.  The years have probably mellowed me.  Since last year, I found myself in deep introspection in several occasions.  It wasn’t about entering a depressive state, but rather thinking about lifelong happiness and fulfillment…a selfless pursuit in putting more meaning to life.  Time to shut the noise – those unwanted signals which blocked the flow of positive energy. Once again, the vibrant energy has begun to transcend across multiple facets of life, including interpersonal dealings.

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes everyday.  This is a power you can cultivate.  If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind.  That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

Quo vadis? – Sentosa, SG
Photo by: C. Dirampaten

“When life becomes too complicated, overwhelming, or confusing, it’s useful to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose or goal.  Take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities based on that.  This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see what directions to take…The turning toward happiness as a valid goal and the conscious decision to systematically seek it can profoundly change the rest of our lives. ” – His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.,  The Essence of Happiness, 2010.

“The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your action will be.” – Dalai Lama XIV

Sunset – Boracay Island, Philippines
Photo: A. Sales