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In these times of chronic planetary, traumatic stress, we have access to the radical and relevant philosophy of the American treasure, Ralph Waldo Emerson. His transformational and prescient wisdom addresses the current pressing needs of the world today. Emerson’s philosophy of self-reliance which, in his terms, was much more than standing alone as a self-sufficient individual. It is about paying attention to the well-being of the spirit and reliance on the divine intelligence that we all share. He encourages us to pay attention to our angle of vision. Matousek shares, “Knowing our ‘angle of vision’ is the first step toward self-awareness. Whether it’s using Emerson’s philosophy or using standard mindfulness practice, it is recognizing that you are not your story.” Emerson’s philosophy encourages us to be constantly vigilant to separate truth from falsehood. Like his friend Henry David Thoreau, he felt that the natural world has much to teach us and advocated listening to it. He was disinvited to speak at his Alma Mater of Harvard for 30 years because he told young theologians that basically they’re wasting their time in school and studying the Bible. Rather, they should go into the woods because they don’t need an intermediary to connect them to the Divine. He encouraged us to listen to the sermon of the trees. Keeping a journal was a daily practice for him and he was ahead of his time in his clarity that nonduality is the basis of life.
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