This is essentially my reaction to various pieces of text from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “The Over-Soul.” I take what Emerson says to the reader and bring it to my own philosophies and beliefs.
“All goes to show that the soul in man is not an organ, but animates and exercises all the organs;…”
- I will begin by saying that I view Emerson’s “Soul” as the Holy Spirit.
- By this, the statement above allows me to really think about how God and the Holy Spirit bind us all together. Not only do our own organs move because of it, but we as humans function as one body under Him. Each individual mind and heart is just a fraction of what we can truly be capable of when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and have a common goal.
“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 quote that I was reminded of by this…”We are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.”
- This is the essence of what it means to be truly humble. It is a realization that only through the light of God in us may we accomplish anything in this world.
“The soul is the perceiver and revealer of truth. We know truth when we see it, let skeptic and scoffer say what they choose. Foolish people ask you, when you have spoken what they do not wish to hear, ‘How do you know it is the truth, and not an error of your own?’ We know truth when we see it, from opinion, as we know when we are awake that we are awake.”
- Emerson greatly explores where blind faith meets true faith. It is one of the greatest battles we as the children of God have when talking to those who do not walk on our path.
- I take from Emerson that to answer those questions from others we must have an answer for ourselves. Why do YOU believe? Never stop asking that because when you stop asking, you stop caring about the truth.
“If he have not found his home in God, his manners, his forms of speech, the turn of his sentences, the build, shall I say, of all his opinions, will involuntarily confess it…”
- This statement grows from something I feel very strongly about. Those living a life for God should glow with His love. Others do recognize something different in us. Whether it be the way we talk, think, act, or all three, we must not be ashamed to show the light in our hearts.
“When we have broken our god of tradition, and ceased from our god of rhetoric, then may God fire the heart with his presence.”
- To me, this is just a different way of saying cast away your false idols. Tradition can cause contentment in something not true.
“The things that are really for thee gravitate to thee. You are running to seek your friend. Let your feet run, but your mind need not. If you do not find him, will you not acquiesce that it is best you should not find him? for there is a power, which as it is in you, is in him also, and could therefore very well bring you together, if it were for the best.”
- Taking this text in the literal sense could pertain to one searching for a lost friend in the forest, river, etc. in which the seeker would be putting him/herself in danger by searching. Therefore, it would be in both persons’ best interest to stay put and hope the lost one may find his/her way home. In the more metaphorical sense, certain things and people may seem unattainable for a reason; perhaps it is not the right time, maybe they need to do some of the searching, or it could just not be what you need.
- Either way, the essence of this section of text is that those things which are meant to be will always happen. Trust that God has His plan, though it may not be what you expect.
“And this, because the heart in thee is the heart of all; not a valve, not a wall, not an intersection is there anywhere in nature, but one blood rolls uninterruptedly an endless circulation through all men, as the water of the globe is all one sea, and, truly seen, its tide is one.”
- This section reiterates how the Holy Spirit exists in all of us, as long as we are willing to accept that truth we will be one body.
“We know that all spiritual being is in man. A wise old proverb says, “God comes to see us without bell” that is, as there is no screen or ceiling between our heads and the infinite heavens, so there is no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins. The walls are taken away. We lie open on one side to the deeps of spiritual nature, to the attributes of God.”
- Emerson once again delves into the fact that we are of God. There are no natural barriers between Him and us, merely those we create for ourselves.
I hope my internal ramblings came to light and provided you with some sort of insight on what I got out of Emerson’s “The Over-Soul.”