And now, for some uplifting words on intuition from the great Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“The magnetism which all original action exerts is explained when we inquire the reason of self-trust. Who is the Trustee? What is the aboriginal Self, on which a universal reliance may be grounded? What is the nature and power of that science-baffling star, wihout parallax, without calculable elements, which shoots a ray of beauty even into trivial and impure actions if the least mark of independence appear?
“The inquiry leads us to that source, at once of the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call Spontaneity or Instinct. We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition, whilst all later reachings are tuitions. In that deep force, the last fact behind which analysis cannot go, all things find their common origin. For the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life and being also proceed. We first share the life by which things exist and afterward see them as appearances in nature and forget that we have shared their cause. Here is the fountain of action and of thought. Here are the lungs of that inspiration which giveth man wisdom and which cannot be denied without impiety and atheism. We lie in the lap of immense intelligence, which makes us receivers of its truth and organs of its activity.”
What a way with words Ralph had — how soaring and mind-exanding! This hefty, winding passage offers precious nuggets of wisdom if we’re willing to take the time to ride the waves of his thought. It’s from his classic essay, Self-Reliance – surely a quality that we as writers would do well to nurture. Let’s unpack this passage briefly:
Self-trust, and the independence it fosters, is the source of all original action.
Spontaneity, Instinct, Intuition – all these express a primary wisdom we find in ourselves.
Our sense of being found in calm hours, unites us to light, space, time – and to each other.
We “lie in the lap of immense intelligence” and have only to receive and share its wisdom.
There’s so much here to ponder and apply, isn’t there? Above all, Ralph celebrates the power as the source of all original action and thought. Surely something to remember as we all write on!
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