by Robert Wilkinson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the earliest and greatest of American Sages, a philosopher who created the Transcendentalist movement which gave young America intellectual and metaphysical credibility and direction. The practical spirituality that Emerson and others wrote about and lived in the early 19th century offered seed ideas that prepared America for the Ageless Wisdom introduced by H.P. Blavatsky a few decades later.
The "Sage from Concord" was one of the most enlightened Americans ever to grace our nation, a wise man and Initiate of the highest order. His wisdom is profound, practical, and still very relevant in our irrational world.
As I wrote in "Ralph Waldo Emerson - Enlightened American," "One principle of Transcendentalism is that all of us are able to commune directly with the source of Divine Inspiration, since all of us are parts of a larger Unity of Soul-Spirit. As it was put by W.H. Channing, 'Amidst materialists, zealots, and skeptics, the Transcendentalist believed in perpetual inspiration, the miraculous power of will, and a birthright to universal good.'"
From Emerson's "The Over-Soul," courtesy of "The Sage from Concord."
"Thus revering the soul, and learning, as the ancient said, that 'its beauty is immense,' man will come to see that the world is the perennial miracle which the soul worketh, and be less astonished at particular wonders; he will learn that there is no profane history; that all history is sacred; that the universe is represented in an atom, in a moment of time. He will weave no longer a spotted life of shreds and patches, but he will live with a divine unity. He will cease from what is base and frivolous in his life and be content with all places and with any service he can render. He will calmly front the morrow in the negligency of that trust which carried God with it and so hath already the whole future in the bottom of the heart."
As I noted in that article, there is definitely something to be said for living in the here and now, observing the impermanence of what we perceive with our five senses and our minds. Everything in this world is always in flux, except the love and light we are, whether we or anyone else notices it nor not.
Since we are Eternals having human experiences in the physical, emotional, and mental realms, it's good to be flexible, detach from taking the changes personally, and be as positive as possible in cultivating genuine goodwill in the midst of the ignorance, dullness, and violence of our times. "All history is sacred." It's all in your point of view. And anything is possible if you just find the right point of view.
Anyway, today I saw another quote from Emerson:
Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances -- it was somebody's name, or he happened to be there at the time, or it was so then, and another day would have been otherwise. Strong men believe in cause and effect.
That got me to thinking, and I found even more gems of his wisdom. For your consideration:
All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.
A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.
A man's growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.
A good indignation brings out all one's powers.
A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before.
A man is a method, a progressive arrangement; a selecting principle, gathering his like to him; wherever he goes.
A man is usually more careful of his money than he is of his principles.
For even more quotes from this remarkable American Original, please check out Ralph Waldo Emerson's Enlightened Transcendentalism. In that article I gave quite a few quotes from his essay on "Self Reliance." Also from the post, I offered you that one of Emerson's most famous quotes is often attributed to Einstein, showing that the father of quantum physics was also a fan of the Sage of Concord. From Emerson,
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds... With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today
Two more of my faves from that article include:
Discontent is the want of self-reliance; it is infirmity of will. Regret calamities if you can thereby help the sufferer; if not, attend your own work and already the evil begins to be repaired.
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
Please check out the above link to read more philosophical gems from this remarkable man for the Ages. His life and works are a tribute to practical spirituality.
© Copyright 2010 Robert Wilkinson