March 3, 2014

How Waldo Changed My World. ~ Elizabeth Olson

Photo by Wikimedia

Days come when I need a little reassurance.

Being new to a community, friendships are being cultivated. Yet, it takes time for them to fully develop. Moments on the mat and at the studio are lovely, yet short in comparison to the hours spent in the commercial world.

Sitting at home looking for inspiration and some sort of connection, my mind quickly turned to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Reading over his quotations and essays made me feel reassured—it was nice knowing others had prescribed to the process of finding higher powers within themselves.

Being a beginner to yoga these strands of knowledge mean everything. Granted, Emerson wasn’t a yogi but believing in connection and unity brings a beauty to his work.

Sometimes during meditation a bit of light cracks through, letting me know this practice is a valuable commitment. Though there are also days when I question the sanity of these disciplines, exploring his quotations and essays, my body warmed and felt a lightness, the sensation that comes when pieces of something great and wonderful present themselves.

Researching further I learned he believed in listening to one’s self, intuition and communing with truth through nature: internal and external. Feeling into the space that exists within myself and reading the validation of such work coming from another my mind was eased. Though in that moment I was alone in the room, the sense that the path and its rewards were real began resonating through the grace of another.

I felt renewed. I was ready to continue in strength thanks to the validation and observations of one who came before. Like any good friend I would like to pass on a few of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quotes which touched my heart.

I hope that you find inspiration in them as well.

1. “Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right and a perfect contentment.”

2. “I wish to write such rhymes as shall not suggest a restraint, but contrariwise the wildest freedom.”

3. “Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

4. “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad Gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”

5. “The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence. Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection. Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood.”

6. “Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.”

7. “Thought is all light, and publishes itself to the universe. It will speak, though you were dumb, by its own miraculous organ. It will flow out of your actions, your manners, and your face. It will bring you friendships. It will impledge you to truth by the love and expectation of generous minds. By virtue of the laws of that Nature, which is one and perfect, it shall yield every sincere good that is in the soul, to the scholar beloved of earth and heaven.”

8. “It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, — ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.'”

9. “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else—and for everything you gain, you lose something.”

10. “Everything in nature contains all the powers of nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff.”

11. “Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.”

12. “Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world. No hope so bright but is the beginning of its own fulfilment.”

13. “The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”

14. “Poetry must be new as foam and as old as the rock.”

15. “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”

16. “Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus.”

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Editorial Assistant: Jen Weddle/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives

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Elizabeth Olson