Have you ever wondered why great ideas come to you when you seem to least expect them? You have a problem so you sit down and think as hard as you can…and yet a solution escapes you. Then you take a shower…or maybe a nap, and an idea magically appears.
Ralph Waldo Emerson shares your perplexity with this issue. He was absolutely mesmerized by this mysterious power. I have included some excerpts from his essay The Over-Soul below. After reading it, click the link at the bottom. I promise it will be worth it.
The philosophy of six thousand years has not searched the chambers and magazines of the soul. In its experiments there has always remained, in the last analysis, a residuum it could not resolve. Man is a stream whose source is hidden. Our being is descending into us from we know not whence. I am constrained every moment to acknowledge a higher origin for events than the will I call mine.
As with events, so is it with thoughts. When I watch that flowing river, which, out of regions I see not, pours for a season its streams into me, I see that I am a pensioner; not a cause, but a surprised spectator of this ethereal water; that I desire and look up, and put myself in the attitude of reception, but from some alien energy the visions come.
From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all. A man is the facade of a temple wherein all wisdom and all good abide. What we commonly call man, the eating, drinking, planting, counting man, does not, as we know him, represent himself, but misrepresents himself. Him we do not respect, but the soul, whose organ he is, would he let it appear through his action, would make our knees bend.
When it breathes through his intellect, it is genius; when it breathes through his will, it is virtue; when it flows through his affection, it is love.
All reform aims, in some one particular, to let the soul have its way through us; in other words, to engage us to obey. Let man, then, learn the revelation of all nature and all thought to his heart; this, namely; that the Highest dwells with him; that the sources of nature are in his own mind, if the sentiment of duty is there. He must greatly listen to himself, withdrawing himself from all the accents of other men’s devotion.
Emerson would write passages and be astounded as to its source. He knew that nothing in his life could have prepared him to write such words…and yet there they were. He knew there was something deeper inspiring him.
Our lives can be hectic…and at times we lose sight of the source of our power. A personal quiet place can take us there. Do you have one?Click here to begin that journey!
Great post! I'll share a story that truly reinforces what this post and the personal quiet place are trying to say.
We live in a society dependent on technology. Almost everyone has a smartphone now, including myself, and it seems almost impossible to live one day without it. Although I love social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. it was starting to overwhelm my daily life. I decided to experiment and see just how much of a distraction I had allowed social media to become in my life. I decided to delete the Facebook and Twitter applications from my smartphone for 12 weeks, and the results were incredible. I was much more alert and focused at work, because the ease by which I could check these apps had disappeared. I realized that I don't need to see constant status updates that don't affect me in the least bit every 5 minutes, hour, or even day. I began checking these social media outlets once a day rather than 10-15 times, and my thoughts became much clearer both at work and in social settings. I felt almost freed from the control of social media.
Don't get me wrong, I still love social media (such as this website/blog) but now understand that too much can overwhelm my mind. I suggest to everyone to try my experiment. About a week ago, I added these apps back to my phone. I then decided to re-delete them yesterday, further proving that social media will be my asset, not something that overwhelms my thoughts.
Wow.. it is so true! My life had been very hectic, loud, and busy for many years, and last year I moved from my homeland and found myself in a very peaceful, calm, and silent environment. I spent a lot of days without TV, Facebook, twitter, etc. and found that I was beginning to have a life of good quality. I love my silent moments, where I only hear the sound of my thoughts. It is relaxing and most of all, amazing. I love to revisit that place from time to time, and often find myself doing so, without phones, computers, etc. Sometimes 30 seconds a day could be enough!! Amazing post… thanks for sharing!!
Thank you for writing! I completely agree with everything you said. I find it amazing sometimes when I look back at my week and realize I have not spent one second without my phone being within five feet of me. I am always constantly waiting for the next call, text, or Facebook message. I love how you said the "sound of my thoughts". That's exactly what I'm striving more to do and have started taking walks without my phone in an effort to just think. It's refreshing to be unreachable for a while.
Awesome awesome post! Your passage selection and context for it made my day a better one. Silence bless you, Nikolai!
Thanks! You can't go wrong with a passage by Emerson. I gotta admit that is the first time I've heard that farewell line!