state of extreme poverty, sadness or distress
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Misery is a feeling of great unhappiness, suffering and/or pain.


  • The worst of misery
    Is when a nature framed for noblest things
    Condemns itself in youth to petty joys,
    And, sore athirst for air, breathes scanty life
    Gasping from out the shallows.
  • Grim-visaged, comfortless despair.
    • Thomas Gray, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College (1742).
  • There are a good many real miseries in life that we cannot help smiling at, but they are the smiles that make wrinkles and not dimples.
  • The First Truth is an assertion that all manifested life is sorrow, unless man knows how to live it... the Cause of Sorrow is always desire. If a man has no desires, if he is not striving for place or power or wealth, then he is equally tranquil whether the wealth or position comes or whether it goes. He remains unruffled and serene.... Being human, he will of course wish for this or that, but always mildly and gently, so that he does not allow himself to be disturbed... the Noble Eightfold Path... can be taken at all levels. The man in the world, even the uneducated man, can take it in its lowest aspects and find a way to peace and comfort through it. And yet the highest philosopher may also take it and interpret it at his level and learn very much from it.
  • How often, for example, a young man desires affection from someone who cannot give it to him, who has it not to give! From such a desire as that comes often a great deal of sadness, jealousy and much other ill-feeling. You will say that such a desire is natural; undoubtedly it is, and affection which is returned is a great source of happiness. Yet if it cannot be returned, a man should have the strength to accept the situation, and not allow sorrow to be caused by the unsatisfied desire.
  • Ah, happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay, but misery hides aloof, so we deem that misery there is none.
  • What is the light that can dispel this ignorance of ours and remove all sorrows? A. The knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, as the Buddha called them... How can we escape the sufferings which result from unsatisfied desires and ignorant cravings? A. By complete conquest over, and destruction of, this eager thirst for life and its pleasures, which causes sorrow...
  • And bear about the mockery of woe
    To midnight dances and the public show.
  • The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life. The pain that you create now is always some form of non acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind. The mind always seeks to deny the Now and to escape from it. In other words, the more you are identified with your mind, the more you suffer. Or you may put it like this: the more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain, of suffering - and free of the egoic mind. p. 26
  • Your unhappiness is polluting not only your own inner being and those around you but also the collective human psyche of which you are an inseparable part. The pollution of the planet is only an outward reflection of an inner psychic pollution: millions of unconscious individuals not taking responsibility for their inner space. Either stop doing what you are doing, speak to the person concerned and express fully what you feel, or drop the negativity that your mind has created around the situation and that serves no purpose whatsoever except to strengthen a false sense of self. Recognizing its futility is important. Negativity is never the optimum way of dealing with any situation. In fact, in most cases it keeps you stuck in it, blocking real change. Anything that is done with negative energy will become contaminated by it and in time give rise to more pain, more unhappiness. Furthermore, any negative inner state is contagious: Unhappiness spreads more easily than a physical disease. Through the law of resonance, it triggers and feeds latent negativity in others, unless they are immune - that is, highly conscious. Are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess? You are responsible for your inner space; nobody else is... p. 53
  • How can we drop negativity, as you suggest? By dropping it. How do you drop a piece of hot coal that you are holding in your hand? How do you drop some heavy and useless baggage that you are carrying? By recognizing that you don't want to suffer the pain or carry the burden anymore and then letting go of it.
  • Quæque ipse misserrima vidi, et quorum pars magna fui.
    • All of which misery I saw, part of which I was.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), line 5.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 517-18.
  • Levis est consolatio ex miseria aliorum.
    • The comfort derived from the misery of others is slight.
    • Cicero, Epistles, VI. 3.
  • Horatio looked handsomely miserable, like Hamlet slipping on a piece of orange-peel.
    • Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz, Horatio Sparkins (omitted in some editions).
  • This, this is misery! the last, the worst,
    That man can feel.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book XXII, line 106. Pope's translation.
  • That to live by one man's will became the cause of all men's misery.
  • Il ne se faut jamais moquer des misérables,
    Car qui peut s'assurer d'être toujours heureux?
    • We ought never to scoff at the wretched, for who can be sure of continued happiness?
    • Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, V. 17.
  • The child of misery, baptized in tears!
  • Frei geht das Unglück durch die ganze Erde!
    • Misery travels free through the whole world!
    • Friedrich Schiller, Wallenstein's Tod, IV. 11. 31.
  • Ignis aurum probat, misera fortes viros.
  • Miserias properant suas
    Audire miseri.
    • The wretched hasten to hear of their own miseries.
    • Seneca the Younger, Hercules Œtæus, 754.
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