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Author Archive

Experiencing “the Great Silence” within us —
Howard Thurman

10/07/2013

Minister, author, philosopher, theologian, educator, civil rights leader, and one of the most important figures in African American history, Howard Thurman was born in Florida and grew up in a world of segregation. Read more

Connecting with the “deep soul” –
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook

06/13/2013

Abraham Isaac Kook was one of the greatest figures in 20th century Judaism. Considered a prodigy as a child, Kook (pronounced cook) became a rabbi at the age of 23, serving first in small communities in Latvia and Lithuania. In 1904, when he was 39, he moved to Palestine (prior to the formation of Israel) and established a Jewish academy (yeshiva) in the seaport town of Jaffa. Read more

“Rapturous Joy Transcending Any Other”

02/21/2013

We know about the Buddha’s life chiefly through legends, written down several centuries after he lived. Born Siddhartha Gautama in present-day Nepal, he was a prince who lived an opulent life, shielded by his father, King Suddhodana, from the world’s travails. Read more

“It is in the purest thing that the soul is capable of”

12/01/2012

Meister Eckhart was considered the most knowledgeable scholar of his time and was one of the most popular and beloved preachers — people flocked to hear his bold, fresh sermons. Read more

“Sitting in a Timeless Stillness”

08/17/2012

The English novelist E.M. Forster called him “the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.”1 D.H. Lawrence began his working life as a teacher while also writing poems, short stories, and a novel. Publishing his work early, he was able to devote himself full-time to writing. Read more

“Transcending all knowledge” – St. John of the Cross

06/15/2012

Born near Avila, Juan de Yepes Álvarez entered the Carmelite order when he was 21 and moved to Salamanca, in western Spain, where he studied philosophy and theology at the university there. At 25 he was ordained a priest. Read more

“We are laid asleep in body, and become a living soul” – William Wordsworth

04/13/2012

ON A FRESH MORNING IN EARLY JULY, a 28-year-old man sets out on foot from his home on the southwest coast of England. A writer, he loves walking, traversing the countryside for days at a time. On this excursion, he and his sister are heading up the scenic Wye River Valley, just across the border in Wales, with its many low, forest-blanketed hills. Read more

Emily Dickinson: “The Soul’s Superior instants”

12/29/2011

Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, Emily Dickinson traveled outside her home village only a few times, outside of Massachusetts but once. After the age of 42, she rarely left her house and yard. She never married. She deliberately chose a life of Read more

Albert Einstein – “There is Neither Evolution nor Destiny; Only Being.”

09/21/2011

Albert Einstein is widely regarded as one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. The totality of his work converges into one supreme goal: to understand the unity underlying nature’s diversity. Read more

“Why don’t you try wandering with me to the Palace of Not-Even-Anything” – Zhuangzi

07/22/2011

Zhuangzi, also known as Chuang Tzu, is esteemed alongside Laozi as one of the founders of Daoism in China. His writings also influenced the growth of Chinese Buddhism. Read more

“A state of great quiet and deep satisfaction” – St. Teresa

06/09/2011

Born in Avila, in west-central Spain, St. Teresa was one of the greatest women of the Roman Catholic church. She wrote a number of influential books including The Interior Castle and her autobiography, now considered masterpieces. St. Teresa initiated the Carmelite Reform, which restored… Read more

Brahms – “In tune with the Infinite”

05/10/2011

In his early teens, to support his family, Brahms earned money playing in dance halls and inns around the docks in Hamburg — the same area and the kinds of places where the Beatles would develop their performing skills just over a century later. When Brahms was 20… Read more

Rumi – “I have passed beyond all thoughts”

04/10/2011

Rumi has been described as “the most popular poet in America” — a Muslim teacher and scholar who lived 800 years ago in a far corner of the world. Jalál al-dín Mahammud Rúmí is considered the greatest poet in the Persian language and one of the greatest in world literature. Read more

Plato – “And this state of the soul is called wisdom”

03/20/2011

Plato was his nickname. His real name was Aristocles. He was reportedly called Plato, which means broad, by his wrestling coach, due to his broad shoulders or possibly his wrestling style.
Plato was born to an aristocratic family, with his father’s lineage stretching back to the early kings of Athens. He was about 19 when he met Socrates and become his devoted student. Read more

“The kingdom of God is within you”

12/06/2010

Jesus was once asked when the kingdom of God would come. The kingdom of God, he replied, is not something people will be able to see and point to. Then came these striking words: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) Read more

Henry David Thoreau – “We become like a still lake of purest crystal”

10/27/2010

Henry David Thoreau was 28 when he went to Walden Pond, seek¬ing spiritual regeneration through harmony with nature. He lived there for two years and two months, in a cabin he built himself, reading, writing, and studying the surrounding woodland life. Read more

Ralph Waldo Emerson – “Within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty”

09/27/2010

In 1836, an essay entitled Nature was published anonymously. It created a great stir, especially among college students, who formed clubs to discuss it. The essay marked the beginning of a movement that came to be called American Transcendentalism and influenced the entire nation — an influence we continue to feel today. Read more

Walt Whitman – “The luminousness of real vision”

08/24/2010

Walt Whitman left school at eleven and worked at a variety of trades — he was a printer, a teacher, a newspaper writer and editor, a stationer, and a real estate speculator. One never would have guessed he was destined to become America’s seer. Read more

Alfred, Lord Tennyson – “A state of transcendent wonder”

06/25/2010

If 19th-century England had anything resembling a rock star, it was Alfred, Lord Tennyson. He was one of the most popular and exciting poets of his era, with a riveting stage presence. He remains one of the English language’s most popular poets to this day. Read more

Helen Keller – “I feel the flame of eternity in my soul”

05/17/2010

Though blind and deaf from the age of two, Helen Keller graduated with honors from Radcliffe College — the first blind and deaf person to earn a college degree. She devoted her life, through lecturing and writing books, to social reform. Read more

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