“… We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole, the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE. ”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Transcendentalism, as a living philosophy, focused on our direct relationship with God and Nature. At its core is this idea of an all-pervasive, omniscient, supreme mind. In keeping with many spiritual traditions, they put forth the supposition that in all things, no matter how infinitesimal, universal laws are at work. This is the path to understanding the self, and the gateway to a perception of Higher Truth.
When Emerson wrote “The Over-Soul essay” in 1841, what he had in common with other similar thinkers was the sense that society was long overdue for a critical review of ways of conceiving the self; they proposed that philosophical ideas should be for life, should shape our politics.
There is a time to gently hold onto our ideas, to care for them, to nurture the soul in the context of a spiritually bereft society. There is also a time for release, for flight, for exploration; to consider an expansive view that allows for each to find and cherish their connection to something larger than themselves, each according to their need and disposition… and yet, still an integral part of a complex One.