The Rainer Maria Rilke Archive

Poetry, Quotations, & Writings

On Happiness and Joy

“If I were to tell you where my greatest feeling, my universal feeling, the bliss of my earthly existence has been, I would have to confess: It has always, here and there, been in this kind of in-seeing, in the indescribably swift, deep, timeless moments of this divine seeing into the heart of things.”

-Rilke and Benvenuta: an Intimate Correspondence


“I feel that to work is to live without dying. I am full of gratitude and joy. For since my earliest youth I have wanted nothing but that.”

-Selected Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke


“…the reality of any joy in the world is indescribable, only in joy does creation happen (happiness, on the contrary, is only a promising and interpretable pattern of things already existing); joy, however, is a marvelous increasing of what already exists, a pure addition out of nothingness.”

-Selected Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke


“And we who have always thought of joy as rising ,would feel the emotion that almost amazes us when a happy things falls.

-The Duino Elegies: The Tenth Elegy


“I could give you no advice but this: to go into yourself and to explore the depths where your life wells forth.”

-Letters to a Young Poet


“I am learning to see. I don’t know why it is, but everything penetrates more deeply into me and does not stop at the place where until now it always used to finish. I have an inner self of which I was ignorant. Everything goes thither now, what happens there I do not know.”

-Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

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