The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Ralph Waldo Emerson | Modern Library © 1992 · 864 pages

Ralph Waldo Emerson is a hero of mine (he occupies the Great-Great+ Grandfather slot in my spiritual family tree) and his essays, although written in 19th century prose, totally fire me up. In this Note, we'll explore some Big Ideas on self-reliance (trust yourself!!!), the power of enthusiasm (did you know the word literally means "God within"?!), and how God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. Plus other goodness.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well… To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson from The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson. The 19th century Transcendental philosopher.

In my spiritual family tree, Emerson occupies the great great+ grandfather slot (right there above Campbell and Maslow). :)

I truly love the man.

You can feel his energy emanating from his powerful essays and if you haven’t read his work yet, I highly recommend it. I’d suggest you start with Self-Reliance and then maybe Nature, Compensation, Spiritual Laws, Heroism, and Circles—all of which are available on the web with a quick google search. To dive deeper, I recommend the hardcover Modern Library edition of The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

If you’re like me, his eloquence, eminent quotability and passion for each of us to experience the transcendent joy that results from connecting to our Highest Self will often leave you in awe.

So, without further adieu, I bring you my Notes on Emerson.

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About the author


Ralph Waldo Emerson

a leading figure of the Transcendentalist movement