20 Awakenings Quotes on Life and Spirituality

These Awakenings quotes will remind you of what really matters in life.

Awakenings is a drama movie released in 1990 and was based on Oliver Sack’s novel of the same name. The story revolves around Dr. Malcolm Sayer, a neurologist who uses a drug to treat catatonic patients.

After decades of medication, patients are awakened and struggle to live their new lives. Though it is a struggle, people are given a whole new chance to do the things they once weren’t able to. And, though short-lived, many lessons can be learned from their second chances.

Without a doubt, Awakenings makes us think deeply about our beings; it helps us recognize the value of living and the small things that have significant roles in our lives.

So, if you need some words that will inspire you, then add this to your must-read list now. Read the entire collection below to find out more about Awakenings.

Let’s get started.

And don’t forget to check out these Robin Williams quotes and Taxi Driver quotes.

Best Awakenings Quotes

1. “What we do know is that, as the chemical window closed, another awakening took place. That the human spirit is more powerful than any drug, and that is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. These are the things that matter. This is what we’d forgotten. The simplest things.” – Dr. Malcolm Sayer

2. Leonard Lowe: “We’ve got to tell everybody. We’ve got to remind them. We’ve got to remind them how good it is.”

Dr. Malcolm Sayer: “How good what is, Leonard?”

Leonard Lowe: “Read the newspaper. What does it say? All bad. It’s all bad. People have forgotten what life is all about. They’ve forgotten what it is to be alive. They need to be reminded. They need to be reminded of what they have and what they can lose. What I feel is the joy of life, the gift of life, the freedom of life, the wonderment of life.”

3. “I’m sorry. If you were right, I would agree with you.” – Dr. Malcolm Sayer

4. Dr. Malcolm Sayer: “You told him I was a kind man. How kind is it to give life, only to take it away again?”

Eleanor Costello: “It’s given to and taken away from all of us.”

Dr. Malcolm Sayer: “Why does that not comfort me?”

Eleanor Costello: “Because you are a kind man. Because he’s your friend.”

Awakenings Quotes That’ll Make You Think

5. “You’d think, at a certain point, all these atypical somethings would amount to a typical something.” – Dr. Malcolm Sayer

6. “I’m not very good with people. I like them. I wish I could say I had more than a rudimentary understanding of them. Maybe, if they were less unpredictable.” – Dr. Malcolm Sayer

7. Dr. Peter Ingham: “Most died during the acute stage of the illness, during a sleep so deep they couldn’t be roused. A sleep that, in most cases, lasted several months. Those who survived, who awoke, seemed fine, as though nothing had happened. Years went by—5, 10, and 15  before anyone suspected they were not well. They were not. I began to see them in the early 1930s—old people brought in by their children, young people brought in by their parents—all of them complaining they weren’t themselves anymore. They’d grown distant, aloof, anti-social; they daydreamed at the dinner table. I referred them to psychiatrists. Before long, they were being referred back to me. They could no longer dress themselves or feed themselves. They could no longer speak in most cases. Families went mad. People who were normal were now elsewhere.”

Dr. Malcolm Sayer: “What’s it like to be them? What are they thinking?”

Dr. Peter Ingham: “They’re not. The virus didn’t spare the higher faculties.”

Dr. Malcolm Sayer: “We know that for a fact?”

Dr. Peter Ingham: “Yes.”

Dr. Malcolm Sayer: “Because?”

Dr. Peter Ingham: “Because the alternative is unthinkable.”

8. “I’m all right, and then everything stops. There’s no warning. It’s like a light switch going off. It happens that fast. Something has to happen to bring me back. A sound or a touch, and then I can move again. I’m okay again. It’s not that it feels bad. It’s just that it’s nothing. I feel nothing like I’m dead. Nothing. Gets to be like I’m not a person anymore. Just a collection of tics. Not that I mind them necessarily. Sometimes, they make life kind of interesting. Though I’m not sure who’s in control, me or them. What I do mind is knowing that they shouldn’t be there.” – Leonard Lowe

9. “His gaze from staring through the bars has grown so weary that it can take in nothing more. For him, it is as though there were a thousand bars, and behind the thousand bars, no world. As he paces in cramped circles, over and over, his powerful strides are like a ritual dance around a center, where a great will stands paralyzed. At times, the curtains of the eye lift without a sound, and a shape enters, slips through the tightened silence of the shoulders, reaches the heart, and dies.” – Dr. Malcolm Sayer

Unforgettable Awakenings Quotes to Revisit

10. “When my son was born healthy, I never asked why. Why was I so lucky? What did I do to deserve this perfect child? This perfect life? But when he got sick, you can bet I asked why. I demanded to know why. Why was this happening?” – Mrs. Lowe

11. “I just can’t imagine being older than 22. I’ve no experience at it. I know it’s not 1926. I just need it to be.” – Lucy

12. Anthony: “How’s it going?”

Frank: “How’s it going?”

Anthony: “Yeah, how do you feel?”

Frank: “Well, my parents are dead. My wife is in an institution. My son has disappeared out west somewhere. I feel old, and I feel swindled. That’s how I feel.”

13. Nurse Beth: “Dr. Sayer.”

Dr. Malcolm Sayer: “What is it?”

Nurse Beth: “It’s a fucking miracle.”

14. Leonard Lowe: “It’s quiet.”

Dr. Malcolm Sayer: “Yes, everybody’s sleeping.”

Leonard Lowe: “I’m not asleep.”

Dr. Malcolm Sayer: “No. You’re awake.”

15. Mrs. Lowe: “My son is in pain! Please, stop this!”

Dr. Malcolm Sayer: “He’s fighting, Mrs. Lowe.”

Mrs. Lowe: “He’s losing.”

Also read: Hook Quotes, Patch Adams Quotes

Other Awakenings Quotes for Everyone Who Read the Book

16. “Awakening, basically, is a reversal of this: the patient ceases to feel the presence of illness and the absence of the world, and comes to feel the absence of his illness and the full presence of the world.” – Oliver Sacks, Author

17. “Leonard L., speaking for them all, wrote at the end of his autobiography: ‘I am a living candle. I am consumed that you may learn. New things will be seen in the light of my suffering.'” – Oliver Sacks, Author

18. “One must drop all presuppositions and dogmas and rules, for there only lead to stalemate or disaster. One must cease to regard all patients as replicas and honor each one with individual reactions and propensities, and, in this way, with the patient as one’s equal, one’s co-explorer, not one’s puppet, one may find therapeutic ways which are better than other ways, tactics which can be modified as occasion requires.” – Oliver Sacks, Author

19. “The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.” – Oliver Sacks, Author

20. “We rationalize, we dissimilate, we pretend. We pretend that modern medicine is a rational science, all facts, no-nonsense, and just what it seems. But we have only to tap its glossy veneer for it to split wide open and reveal to us its roots and foundations, its old dark heart of metaphysics, mysticism, magic, and myth. Medicine is the oldest of the arts and the oldest of the sciences. Would one not expect it to spring from the deepest knowledge and feelings we have?” – Oliver Sacks, Author

Did These Awakenings Quotes Open Your Eyes to the Deeper Meaning of Life?

As humans, it is inevitable for us to feel weak and hopeless. Life can be too challenging, and it will bring us down. But, we must remember that we can be strong enough to pass through the bad days.

In Awakenings, we are reminded that the human spirit is not a delicate thing. It is a vital part of ourselves fueled by the things and people we love. We should keep in mind that the small things that matter, such as time spent with family or doing our mundane chores and hobbies, are our anchors in fighting in life.

Hopefully, our list of Awakenings quotes was able to inspire you to rediscover the toughness of your spirit. You will never be a weak person. Remember to be strong because being strong is a characteristic that we embody when we believe in ourselves and our capabilities.

Which Awakenings quote is your favorite? Have you read the novel or watched the movie? Comment below!

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

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