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Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Intellect - The oracle comes, because we had previously laid seige to the shrine



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Intellect

Let him intend his mind without respite, without rest in one direction.  His best heed long time avails him nothing.  Yet thoughts are flitting before him.  We all but apprehend, we dimly forbode the truth.  We say, I will walk abroad and the truth will take form and clearness to me .  We go forth, but cannot find it.  It seems as if we needed only the stillness and composed attitude of the library to seize thought, but we come in and are as far from it as at first.

Then, in a moment and unannounced, the truth appears.  A certain wandering light appears, and is the distinction, the principle we wanted.  But the oracle comes, because we had previously laid seige to the shrine.  It seems as if the law of the intellect resembled that law of nature by which we now inspire, now expire breath; by which the heart now draws in, then hurls out the blood – the law of undulation.  So now you must labour with your brains, and now you must forbear your activity and see what the great soul showeth.

The source of the experience

Emerson, Ralph Waldo

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