Inspiring Quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson

Throughout his life, Ralph Waldo Emerson comprised a volume of philosophical and spiritual essays. His most significant work was his book, Nature, which subsequently inspired a movement of “Transcendental” philosophy based on the ideals of pantheistic spirituality without religious dogma. I have found his work to be an inspiration to my spiritual and intellectual life. I hope you enjoy a few words of wisdom from his volume of work.

Quotes on Self-Reliance

“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius.

We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents…but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.

“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you.

“Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Quotes on Nature

“Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchers of the fathers…the foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe?”

“The stars awaken a certain reverence…the sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.”

“In the presence of nature a wild delight runs through man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says,-he is my creature, and maugre (in spite of ) all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me.”

“Standing on the bare ground,-my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space,-all mean egoism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate though me; I am part of parcel of God.”

“The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship…behind nature, throughout nature, spirit is present…”

“To the body and mind which have been cramped by noxious work or company, nature is medicinal and restores their tone.”
(The Divinity School Address)

Quotes on Spiritual Laws

“We are begirt with laws, which execute themselves.”

“A little consideration of what takes place around us every day would show us that a higher law than that of our will regulates events.”

“O my brothers, God exists. There is a soul at the centre of nature and over the will of every man.”

“Our strength grows our of our weakness…a great man is always willing to be little…when he is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something…learns his ignorance; is cured of the insanity of conceit.”

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