“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Master of the aphorism, Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most quoted American authors. He valued religious experience, and a spiritual message lies at the heart of his philosophy.
Amassing thoughtfully selected passages from Emerson’s lectures, essays, sermons, books, poetry, and journals, editor Barry M. Andrews has created a rare anthology highlighting the brilliant mind and astute heart of one America’s most beloved authors.
Taking readers from January 1 to December 31, A Dream Too Wild is a thought-provoking and amazingly insightful daily devotional. Rather than brief quotes, the passages in this book reflect the full range of Emerson’s thoughts on spiritual matters such as: •Self reliance •Nature •The Over-soul •Solitude •“Plain living and high thinking” •Ecstasy •Moral sentiment
November 1, culled from Emerson’s journal of 1833, says:
“The universe is a more amazing puzzle than ever as you glance along this bewildering series of animated forms—the hazy butterflies, the carved shells, the birds, beasts, fishes, insects, snakes—and the upheaving principle of life everywhere incipient, in the very rock aping organized forms. Not a form so grotesque, so savage, nor so beautiful but is an expression of some property inherent in man the observer—an occult relation between the very scorpions and man. I feel the centipede in me—cayman, carp, eagle, and fox. I am moved by strange sympathies, I say continually ‘I will be a naturalist’.”
At the end of each passage, Andrews poses a pertinent question. For example, at the end of the previous passage he asks, “Do you feel a kinship with the plants and animals? Do you sense ‘an occult relation’ between ‘scorpions and man’?”
A prolific writer, Emerson admits that he was not a systematic thinker. Rather, he strung thoughts together like pearls on a necklace, with each containing a “lustre”, as he called it—a thought to ponder, a brief meditation to contemplate.
In A Dream Too Wild, Andrews has done an admirable job compiling Emerson’s timeless pearls of wisdom. Emerson once said of himself “I am an endless seeker with no past at my back”, and this book appeals to the modern spiritual seeker—especially one that searches with an open heart and critical mind.
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