My Favorite Mindfulness Quotes

Quotes seem to be an integral part of the mindfulness world, so I would be remiss if I didn’t share some of my favorites! In fact, they are so foundational to the way I approach mindfulness and my way of being in the world that they are the basis for three of my tattoos. They are all positioned to be right-way-up when I look at them so that they always serve as little reminders of the ground of my practice and what is most important to me.

The tree:

“The earth is my witness.”

― Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha)

This quote (or something like it) is said to be what Siddhartha Gautama uttered when he was sitting under the Bodhi tree, facing down all of the temptations that tried to pull him away from his goal of achieving enlightenment. When asked (something along the lines of), “Who do you think you are to become enlightened?” he reached down and touched the earth, indicating that the earth was his witness - that he did not need any further validation than his own existence in order to claim and know his interconnectedness with everything.

The heart:

“Be kind to your sleeping heart.

Take it out in the vast field of light

And let it breathe.”


I first learned about this quote on a retreat during graduate school. I was especially struggling with the parts of me that seem to get in the way of feeling fully present and engaged with my life. That part of me that is present when I feel grounded and connected seemed to be (and many times still seems to be) asleep, and I just wanted to shake it awake. This quote always brings to mind images of the open grassy areas around Colorado that fill me with such a sense of spaciousness and ease, and the thought of allowing my “sleeping heart” the space to simply rest in that field brings me so much calm in moments when I feel stuck.

The lamp:

“Be a lamp unto yourself, be a refuge to yourself. Take yourself to no external refuge.”

― Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha)

This particular version of this quote comes from Tara Brach’s book ‘True Refuge.’ I remember the moment when this quote truly landed with me while I was on a solo mini-retreat. I was really wrestling with my longing to be with and connect with a partner, but it was from a place of deep lack and pain rather than from the desire for the gifts and challenges that partnership can bring. I saw partnership as the ultimate refuge that was going to save me. This quote (and the whole book!) was such a gift and allowed me to truly start to step into my relationship with myself more wholeheartedly than I ever had before.


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