This page contains a list of my favorite mindfulness quotes. Most of these are short, concise quotes that help bring me back to the present moment, and work well with my “Just Be” mobile app (which is more or less the sponsor of this page).
Background: Just Be
Just Be is a mobile mindfulness app that I created for Android users. This is what the reminders/notifications look like when you receive them on an Android phone or tablet:
As you can imagine, the quality of the app depends on the quality of the mindfulness reminders you add to it. So, to help people use the app, I’ve put together the following list of mindfulness quotes.
A note about quote attributions
In the mindfulness quotes that follow, I attribute each quote to the original source when I know that source. I’ve modified a few of the quotes because I think the altered version works better with the Just Be app. In the cases where I have done this, I show the original author’s initials in quotes. Here are the initials I use in the text below:
- “HHDL” is His Holiness the Dalai Lama
- “JKZ” is Jon Kabat Zinn
- “SS” is Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki
- “TNH” is Thich Nhat Hanh
- “ZMSS” is Zen Master Seung Sahn
My favorite mindfulness quotes
My favorite mindfulness quotes vary over time, but I always like the quotes that bring me back to the present moment when I see them. A few of the quotes on this page are also intended to help keep my ego in check.
My favorite current quotes are:
- Just breathe
- Do every act of your life as though it is the last act of your life.
- Be here now. (Ram Dass)
- Be right here, right now.
- Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
- There is only Now.
- Go through your day as if you are the Dalai Lama undercover.
- Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you have chosen it. (Eckhart Tolle)
- What sensations do you feel right now? Are you hot, or cold? What do you hear in this moment?
- As you breathe in, imagine you are in a fragrant garden of roses.
- Breathe and let be. (JKZ)
- Breathe in deeply. Bring your mind home to your body. (TNH)
- Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. (HHDL)
- Establish yourself in the present moment. (TNH)
- Pay attention to the present moment, on purpose, without judgment. (Jon Kabat Zinn)
- Your body is present; is your mind?
- Be a witness, not a judge. (Rumi)
- I am not this hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within. (Rumi)
- Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else. (SS)
- Leave your front door and back door open. Let your thoughts come and go; just don’t serve them tea. (SS)
- When you do something, burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself. (SS)
- “Battle!” (This comes from the movie Michael. I like it as a reminder to put everything I have into the present task. (It also happens to be something a co-worker and I were yelling at work the day before he died.))
- Breathing in, I calm my body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. (TNH)
- In meditation, be like a cat purring. (Tai Sheridan)
The following mindfulness quotes are attributed to Rumi:
- Love is the bridge between you and everything.
- Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.
- Be a witness, not a judge.
- Listen to your heart, not the crowd.
- The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.
- I am not this hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.
- Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.
- My religion is love.
- I smile like a flower not only with my lips but with my whole being.
- You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.
- Past and future veil God from our sight; burn up both of them with fire.
The following mindfulness quotes are attributed to Ram Dass:
- Be here now.
- When you know how to listen, everybody is the guru.
- We’re all just walking each other home.
- Causing suffering to others is causing suffering to yourself.
- Every person you look at is a soul.
- Treat everyone you meet as if they are God in drag.
- I am not this body. I am in this body, and this is part of my incarnation and I honor it, but that isn’t who I am.
- When you are fully in the moment, this moment is all there is.
- The next message you need is always right where you are.
- If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.
The following mindfulness quotes are attributed to Eckhart Tolle:
- The present moment is all you ever have.
- Let go of thought. Become still and alert.
- Get the inside right. The outside will fall into place.
- All problems are illusions of the mind.
- If not now, when?
- The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razor’s edge of Now.
- Find the life underneath your life situation.
- You cannot be both unhappy and fully present in the Now.
- Give your fullest attention to whatever the moment presents.
- Do not be concerned with the fruits of your action, just give attention to the action itself. (Bhagavad Gita)
The following quotes come from the world of Zen:
- Om mani padme hum
- Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha (Heart Sutra)
- What am I? (ZMSS)
- All things that appear in this world are illusion. If you view all appearance as nonappearance, then you will see your true nature.
- When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep.
- If you understand Zen, all work is the same. (may be ZMSS)
Zen Master Seung Sahn (ZMSS)
The following mindfulness quotes are attributed to Zen Master Seung Sahn:
- Only go straight — don’t know.
- When reading, only read. When eating, only eat. When thinking, only think.
- You must become completely crazy.
- Zen mind is before thinking. If already you are thinking, it is too late.
- Where are you going carrying your bowls?
- Zen is keeping the mind which is before thinking.
- Always keep “Don’t know” mind.
- Great faith. Great courage. Great questioning. (Also known as “great faith, great doubt, and great determination.”)
- When you are not thinking, all things are the same.
- Who is the master of this body, and where does he reside?
- What am I?
- You must first understand that form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Then, no form, no emptiness.
- Great doubt is don’t-know.
- Your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind all deceive you. The true you is without the six senses.
- I though you were a keen-eyed lion.
The following mindfulness quotes are attributed to Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki:
- Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.
- Leave your front door and back door open. Let your thoughts come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.
- When you do something, burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.
- You must exist right here, right now.
- Express yourself as you are.
- What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and exhale.
- When you sit, everything sits with you.
- Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.
- Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future. Concentrate on the present moment.
- What you think, you become.
- Nothing is permanent, everything changes.
Mindfulness quotes related to simple chores
- Clean the floor with love. (Osho)
- Do one thing at a time.
- Life is available only in the present moment.
- Drink your tea slowly and reverently. (TNH)
- Each time for the first time, each moment the only moment. (JKZ)
- Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine. (SS)
- Do dishes, rake leaves.
- Chop wood, carry water.
- Have you eaten your porridge? / Yes, I have. / Then you better wash your bowl.
- Do the laundry without resentment or commentary. (From this article.)
Miscellaneous mindfulness quotes
I haven’t organized the following mindfulness quotes yet:
- We have only now. (Jack Kornfield)
- Where is my mind right now?
- What am I?
- Who is breathing?
- Pay attention
- Focus on your breath
- Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
- An attitude of gratitude makes the space for grace.
- Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more. (Mother Teresa)
- When breathing, just breathe.
- You are the sky. Everything else, it’s just the weather.
- When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you. (Lao Tzu)
- If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. (HHDL)
- Live in the moment, live in the breath. (Amit Ray)
- The words you speak become the house you live in. (Hafiz)
- Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
- Be the change you want to see in the world. (Gandhi)
- You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf. (JKZ)
- Only open your mouth if what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence.
- Just be in this moment.
- Let go of thinking.
- Put it all down, let it all go.
The following quotes are mindfulness quotes, and I also like them as “motivational” quotes:
- Don’t compare or compete, just do your best in the present moment.
- Be the change you want to see in the world. (Gandhi)
I hope you like these mindfulness quotes. I know that I appreciate anything that brings me back to the present moment.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I wrote my Just Be app as a way of using these quotes as notifications. That works pretty well for me.
Another thing I like to do is to write these quotes down on index cards. I then keep those index cards on my work desk, and every day I either choose a quote that’s important to me that day (or that hour), or else I shuffle them and choose one at random. All of these approaches help in my mindfulness practice.