#218-1. I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.
(Thanks to Mona Cheriyan for sharing this.)
#218-2. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Thanks to Rajeev Shah for sharing this.)
#218-3. A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
(Thanks to Ankur Pandey for sharing this.)
True friendship rests more on a general sense of trust than agreeability. Note that trust here does not necessarily mean truth or honesty at all times.
Vivekananda, a person with a different background from Emerson, said the same thing in another context. He recommended leading a life of values and contemplation of the divine amidst the ordinary affairs of living in society as a better alternative to retiring to the mountains—where, of course, we will have no excuse for our mind wandering back to what we ran away from. I also recall Chinmayananda's hilariously explained commentary of Chapter 2 of The Gita, which says the perfect person stays awake where others are asleep and sleeps when others are awake.
Some i-TFTD readers tell me that they feel motivated on reading the good words of great people but somehow are unable to translate it into action in a sustained manner. Bruce Lee's quote above provides a useful perspective on this. We should keep aiming and trying, suddenly we may find the goal nearer. I like to believe that some of the ultimate goals are not even goals but useful goal posts. As a new addict of Nintendo Wii (it's not just a glorified video game), let me add a golf analogy: The flagstick is there to help the ball reach the green, not always to get into the hole.