73 David Whyte Quotes from Famous Anglo-Irish Poet

David Whyte born in Yorkshire to Irish and English parents is a famous poet and prose writer known for his spiritual and eclectic works.

With a background in marine biology, Whyte has led expeditions in various global locations.

His poetry collections, such as Songs for Coming Home and Pilgrim and prose works focus on combining poetry with business and organizational contexts, promoting creativity and leadership.

David Whyte

An associate fellow at Oxford’s Said Business School, he has collaborated with international firms and received an honorary doctorate from Neumann College, Pennsylvania. He resides in the Pacific Northwest.

Here is a top collection of quotes from David Whyte.

Top 10 David Whyte Quotes


To feel abandoned is to deny the intimacy of your surroundings. ~ David Whyte.


Art is the act of triggering deep memories, of what it means to be fully human. ~ David Whyte.


Preserving the soul means that we come out of hiding at last and bring more of ourselves into the workplace. ~ David Whyte.


Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity. ~ David Whyte.


Anything that does not bring you alive is too small for you. ~ David Whyte.


Inside everyone is a great shout of joy waiting to be born. ~ David Whyte.


Genius is becoming something you were all along. ~ David Whyte.


Poetry is the art of overhearing ourselves say things from which it is impossible to retreat. ~ David Whyte.


There is no house like the house of belonging. ~ David Whyte.


Absent the edge, we drown in numbness. ~ David Whyte.

Powerful David Whyte Quotes

What you can plan is too small for you to live. What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough for the vitality hidden in your sleep. ~ David Whyte.

These few words are enough. If not these few words, this breath. If not this breath, this sitting here. This opening to the life we have refused again and again. Until now. ~ David Whyte.


There’s a fierce practicality and empiricism which the whole imaginative, lyrical aspect of poetry comes from. ~ David Whyte.

When I recite poems onstage, I put myself into the very personal struggle and it grants tremendous perspective. At the same time you get another perspective on the poem you’re reciting. ~ David Whyte.

Sometimes everything has to be inscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. ~ David Whyte.


We are the only species on earth capable of preventing our own flowering. ~ David Whyte.

The moment you’ve uttered the exact dimensionality of your exile, you’re already turning towards home. ~ David Whyte.


Famous David Whyte Quotes

To have a firm persuasion in our work – to feel that what we do is right for ourselves and good for the world at exactly the same time – is one of the great triumphs of human existence. ~ David Whyte.


A soul-based workplace asks things of me that I didn’t even know I had. It’s constantly telling me that I belong to something large in the world. ~ David Whyte.

To seek out beauty in our work is to make a pilgrimage of our labors, to understand that the consummation of work lies not only in what we have done, but who we have become while accomplishing the task. ~ David Whyte.

Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts; most especially, the ability, despite our grief and losses, to courageously inhabit the past, the present and the future all at once. ~ David Whyte.


Poetry for me has been a long pilgrimage, a journey and a growing relationship with the unknown. ~ David Whyte.

If I don’t have time for the writing, it’s because I’m not making that time. It’s really just a question of whether you want to or not, whether you feel you deserve to write or not. ~ David Whyte.


What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence. ~ David Whyte.

There is a lovely root to the word humiliation – from the latin word humus, meaning soil or ground. When we are humiliated, we are in effect returning to the ground of our being. ~ David Whyte.

Thoughtful David Whyte Quotes

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you. ~ David Whyte.


Stop trying to change reality by eliminating complexity. ~ David Whyte.

Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future. ~ David Whyte.

When your eyes are tired the world is tired also. When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you. ~ David Whyte.


The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears. ~ David Whyte.

The fear of loss, in one form or another, is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties. ~ David Whyte.

Work, like marriage, is a place you can lose yourself more easily perhaps than finding yourself. It is a place full of powerful undercurrents, a place to find ourselves, but also, a place to drown, losing all sense of our own voice, our own contribution and conversation. ~ David Whyte.


No matter the self-conceited importance of our labors we are all compost for worlds we cannot yet imagine. ~ David Whyte.

Wise David Whyte Quotes

The outlaw is the radical, the one close to the roots of existence. The one who refuses to forget their humanity and, in remembering, helps everyone else remember, too. ~ David Whyte.

A sure sign of a soul-based workplace is excitement, enthusiasm, real passion; not manufactured passion, but real involvement. And there’s very little fear. ~ David Whyte.


Vulnerability is not a weakness but a faculty for understanding. ~ David Whyte.

A true vocation calls us out beyond ourselves; breaks our heart in the process and then humbles, simplifies and enlightens us about the hidden, core nature of the work that enticed us in the first place. ~ David Whyte.


The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life. ~ David Whyte.

The frail, vulnerable sounds of which we are capable seem to be essential to a later ability to roar like a lion without scaring everyone to death. ~ David Whyte.

The great poems are not about experience, but are the experience itself, felt in the body. ~ David Whyte.

Honesty is grounded in humility and indeed in humiliation, and in admitting exactly where we are powerless. ~ David Whyte.


Poetry is a break for freedom. ~ David Whyte.

Some things cannot be spoken or discovered until we have been stuck, incapacitated, or blown off course for awhile. Plain sailing is pleasant, but you are not going to explore many unknown realms that way. ~ David Whyte.

Best David Whyte Quotes


I want to know if you are willing to live, day by day, with the consequence of love. ~ David Whyte.

You must learn one thing. The world was made to be free in. Give up all the other worlds Except the one in which you belong. ~ David Whyte.

All of our great traditions, religious, contemplative and artistic, say that you must learn how to be alone – and have a relationship with silence. It is difficult, but it can start with just the tiniest quiet moment. ~ David Whyte.


Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone. ~ David Whyte.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. Pay attention to everything in the world as if it’s alive. Realize everything has its own discrete existence outside your story. By doing this, you open to gifts and lessons that the world has to give you. ~ David Whyte.

We withdraw not to disappear, but to find another ground from which to see; a solid ground from which to step, and from which to speak again, in a different way, a clear, rested, embodied voice we begin to remember again as our own. ~ David Whyte.


Honesty is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. ~ David Whyte.

The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by the answering. ~ David Whyte.


Poetry is language against which you have no defenses. ~ David Whyte.

Humiliation is mostly something we try to avoid, but it is something more often, all for the best, in retrospect. There is a lovely root to the word, the Latin word humus, meaning soil or ground. When we are humiliated, we are in effect returned to the ground of our being. Any fancy ideas we have about ourselves are shriven away by the reality of the moment. We come to earth with a thump. It may be a narrow piece of ground, but at least it is real and at least it is our own. ~ David Whyte.

Popular David Whyte Quotes

Everyone casts a shadow. Everyone has a relationship with the fearful unknown. ~ David Whyte.


The greatest tragedy is to live out someone else’s life thinking it was your own. ~ David Whyte.

For the personality, bankruptcy or failure may be a disaster. For the soul, it may be grist for its strangely joyful mill, and a condition it has been secretly engineering for years. ~ David Whyte.

Poetry is often the art of overhearing yourself say things you didn’t know you knew. It is a learned skill to force yourself to articulate your life, your present world or your possibilities for the future. ~ David Whyte.

A real conversation always contains an invitation. You are inviting another person to reveal herself or himself to you, to tell you who they are or what they want. ~ David Whyte.


To be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others. ~ David Whyte.

The tragedy with velocity as the answer to complexity is that, after awhile, you cannot see or comprehend anything that is not traveling at the same speed you are. And you actually start to feel disturbed by people who have a sense of restfulness to their existence. ~ David Whyte.

Profound David Whyte Quotes


Whether we stay or whether we go – to be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made. ~ David Whyte.

Love is the conversation between possible, searing disappointment and a profoundly imagined sense of arrival and fulfillment; how we shape that conversation is the touchstone of our ability to love in the real inhabited world. ~ David Whyte.

We can never know in the beginning, in giving ourselves to a person, to a work, to a marriage or to a cause, exactly what kind of love we are involved with. ~ David Whyte.

Our work is to make ourselves visible in the world. This is the soul’s individual journey, and the soul would much rather fail at its own life than succeed at someone else’s. ~ David Whyte.


What I have not seen or failed to see I leave as a gift. ~ David Whyte.

Therefore, at any time of life, follow your own questions; don’t mistake other people’s questions for your own. ~ David Whyte.

Gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. ~ David Whyte.


The courageous conversation is the one you don’t want to have. ~ David Whyte.

To remember the other world in this world is to live in your true inheritance. ~ David Whyte.

The truth about our own modest contribution might immobilize us: much easier then, to tell ourselves a story about how much we make our own reality. ~ David Whyte.

So these were the 73 top quotes about David Whyte.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Clarice Lispector quotes and Julius Evola quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar