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50 Jonathan Livingston Seagull Quotes to Help Your Dreams Take Flight

These Jonathan Livingston Seagull quotes will teach you a thing or two about freedom, love, and the meaning of life.

Richard Bach was a popular novelist during the 1970s. One of his most popular novels is Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a coming-of-age life story of a seagull.

In the book, Jonathan is learning to fly, while also dealing with his quest for self-perfection. The book remained on the bestsellers list for 37 weeks and had over a million print copies in circulation.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is bored with the ‘daily grind’ in this case, the squabbles over food. He is passionate about flight, and strives to learn everything there is to know about flying. His determination and unwillingness to conform to life as a seagull results in his expulsion from the flock. As an outcast, he leads a peaceful and happy life where he continues to learn more and more.

50 Jonathan Livingston Seagull to Help Your Dreams Take Flight

Keep reading these quotes to discover more about what happens to Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Don’t forget to also check out our list of The Crow quotes from the action-packed film with a tragic tale.

Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull quotes about freedom

1. “He was not bone and feather but a perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

2. “You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

3. “We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence, and skill. We can learn to be free! We can learn to fly!” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

4. “Why is it, Jonathan puzzled, that the hardest thing in the world is to convince a bird that he is free, and that he can prove it for himself if he’d just spend a little time practicing? Why should that be so hard?” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

5. “The only true law is one which leads to freedom. There is no other.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

6. “To begin with, you’ve got to understand that a seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull, and your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip, is nothing more than your thought itself, in a form you can see. Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body, too.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

7. “Are you saying I can fly?” “I say you are free.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

8. “Whatever stands against that freedom must be set aside, be it ritual or superstition or limitation in any form.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

9. “Who is more responsible than a gull who finds and follows a meaning, a higher purpose for life? For a thousand years we have scrabbled after fish heads, but now we have a reason to live — to learn, to discover, to be free!” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

10. “He spoke of very simple things- that it is right for a gull to fly, that freedom is the very nature of his being.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

11. “You are always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

12. “We’re free to go where we wish and to be what we are.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Jonathan Seagull quotes about flying

13. “The gull sees farthest who flies highest.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

14. “To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is, you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

15. “Why, Jon, why?” his mother asked. “Why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, Jon? Why can’t you leave low flying to the pelicans, the albatross? Why don’t you eat? Son, you’re bone and feathers!” “I don’t mind being bone and feathers mom. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can’t, that’s all. I just want to know.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

16. “For most gulls it was not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

17. “His one sorrow was not solitude, it was that other gulls refused to believe the glory of flight that awaited them; they refused to open their eyes and see.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

18. “Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight – how to get from shore to food and back again.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

19. “For each of them, the most important thing in living was to reach out and touch perfection in that which they most love to do, and that was to fly.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

20. “You didn’t have faith to fly; you need to understand flying.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

21. “Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Wise Jonathan Livingston Seagull quotes

22. “Jonathan sighed. The price of being misunderstood, he thought. They call you devil or they call you god.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

23. “Overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

24. “Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

25. “We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

26. “Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect. -And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

27. “Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull’s life is so short, and with those gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

28. “Like everything else, Fletcher. Practice.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

29. “Imagination is an old soul.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

30. “One school is finished, and the time has come for another to begin.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

31. “Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

32. “That’s what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we’ve changed because of it, and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games. Losing, in a curious way, is winning.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

33. “Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

34. “You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

35. “If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Jonathan Livingston Seagull quotes about love, soulmates, and friendship

36. “You don’t love hatred and evil, of course. You have to practice and see the real gull, the good in every one of them, and to help them see it in themselves. That’s what I mean by love.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

37. “For each of them, the most important thing in living was to reach out and touch perfection in that which they most loved to do…” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

38. “Keep working on love.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

39. “A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

40. “Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

41. “Sully, for shame!” Jonathan said in reproach, ” and don’t be foolish! What are we trying to practice every day? If our friendship depends on things like space and time, we’ve destroyed our own brotherhood!” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

42. “Boredom between two people doesn’t come from being together physically. It comes from being apart mentally and spiritually.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

43. “This kind of thinking, he found, is not the way to make one’s self popular with other birds. Even his parents were dismayed as Jonathan spent whole days alone, making hundreds of low-level glides, experimenting.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

44. “Do you have any idea how many lives we must have gone through before we even got the first idea that there is more to life than eating, or fighting, or power in the Flock? A thousand lives, Jon, ten thousand!” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

45. “It was morning, and the new sun sparkled gold across the ripples of a gentle sea.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

46. “Fletcher Lynd Seagull was still quite young, but already he knew that no bird had ever been so harshly treated by any Flock, or with so much injustice.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

47. “A moment later Jonathan’s body wavered in the air, shimmering, and began to go transparent. “Don’t let them spread silly rumors about me, or make me a god. O.K., Fletch? I’m a seagull. I like to fly, maybe…” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

48. “I do not exist to impress the world. I exist to live my life in a way that will make me happy.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

49. “The trick, according to Chiang, was for Jonathan to stop seeing himself as trapped inside a limited body that had a forty-two-inch wingspan and performance that could be plotted on a chart. The trick was to know that his true nature lived, as perfect as an unwritten number, everywhere at once across space and time.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

50. “Instead of being enfeebled by age, the Elder had been empowered by it.” ― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

What did you learn from these Jonathan Livingston Seagull quotes?

Jonathan meets two other gulls who take him to a “higher plane of existence.” There is no heaven, but rather a better world discovered through perfection of knowledge. He meets another seagull there who shares his passion for flight.

Jonathan becomes friends with the wisest seagull, Chiang. Chiang teaches him more about the true power of flight, including how to move instantaneously to anywhere in the Universe. The secret, according to Chiang, is to “begin by knowing that you have already arrived.”

Jonathan learns much but still feels like something is missing in his life. He returns to Earth to share with other outcasts what he knows. Jonathan gathers around himself a flock of other gulls, helping one of his students, Fletcher Lynd Seagull, to become a teacher. Jonathan spreads his wings again to leave and teach new flocks.

What life lesson did you learn from Jonathon Living Seagull? I think it is a matter of being true to yourself, and searching for knowledge. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below, along with any other favorite Jonathan Livingston Seagull quotes and sayings.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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1 Comment
  1. Pwf

    July 22, 2021 at 8:19 PM

    25 to 30 years ago, I remember hearing my mom tell about Jonathan Livingston Seagull, that I should read this story (I obviously not). I am 40 now.

    She always knew…and she tried to teach me. Thank you mom, now I understand.
    And it hits me hard

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