The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Summary
  1. The Prophet must leave a city he has been in for 12 years but speaks to a crowd before he leaves on certain important topics. He explains what is important in many different areas of life
Key Takeaways
  1. He was above all else, ‘a powerful advocate of the unity of being’. ‘All things in this creation exist within you, and all things in you exist in creation; there is no border between you and the closest things, and there is no distance between you and the farthest things, and all things, from the lowest to the loftiest, from the smallest to the greatest, are within you as equal things.’ Gibran’s sense of unity – not only of the unity of being but of the unity of life – enabled him to marry, or at least bridge, the many dualities that seem to have characterized his life
  2. The Prophet reminds us of the knowledge that, lying unspoken within us, we each have the capacity to pass beyond our ‘pigmy-self’ and experience the vastness of our ‘god-self’.
  3. ‘No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.’
  4. who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret?
  5. A seeker of silences am I, and what treasure have I found in silences that I may dispense with confidence?
  6. Much have we loved you. But speechless was our love, and with veils has it been veiled. Yet now it cries aloud unto you, and would stand revealed before you. And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
  7. 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.
  8. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
  9. And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
  10. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
  11. But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
  12. Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. 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. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
  13. You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
  14. It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.
  15. See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. For in truth it is life that gives unto life – while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.  
  16. But since you must kill to eat, and rob the newly born of its mother’s milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship,
  17. And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.
  18. Work is love made visible.  
  19. Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.  The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
  20. When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.  
  21. Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning in the funeral.
  22. But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you, So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.
  23. Only then shall you know that the erect and the fallen are but one man standing in twilight between the night of his pigmy-self and the day of his god-self, And that the corner-stone of the temple is not higher than the lowest stone in its foundation.  
  24. Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.
  25. Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas. For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
  26. Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.  
  27. Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights. But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge. You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
  28. Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’ Say not, ‘I have found the path of the soul.’ Say rather, ‘I have met the soul walking upon my path.’ For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
  29. No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of our knowledge.
  30. If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.  
  31. And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
  32. You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts; And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime. And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
  33. You are good when you are one with yourself. Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil. For a divided house is not a den of thieves; it is only a divided house. And a ship without rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the bottom. You are good when you strive to give of yourself. Yet you are not evil when you seek gain for yourself.  
  34. You are good when you are fully awake in your speech.
  35. You are good when you walk to your goal firmly and with bold steps.  
  36. For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?
  37. For if you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking you shall not receive: And if you should enter into it to humble yourself you shall not be lifted: Or even if you should enter into it to beg for the good of others you shall not be heard. It is enough that you enter the temple invisible. I cannot teach you how to pray in words. God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips.
  38. Oftentimes in denying yourself pleasure you do but store the desire in the recesses of your being.
  39. And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
  40. Beauty is life when life unveils her holy face. But you are life and you are the veil. Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.
  41. Your daily life is your temple and your religion. Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.  
  42. Is not religion all deeds and all reflection?
  43. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
  44. If this be vague words, then seek not to clear them. Vague and nebulous is the beginning of all things, but not their end, And I fain would have you remember me as a beginning. Life, and all that lives, is conceived in the mist and not in the crystal.
Summary
  1. Quick and beautiful read which covers some basics of life like love, good/evil, wedding, food, clothes, etc. Re-read occasionally!