Emerson looks upon the universe as a witness, not as a lover. He waits for things to display themselves before him so that he can “yield to the law of their being.” Without being in the least a scientist, he is often impressively disinterested and curious about phenomena. He complained that “Now many are thought not only unexplained but inexplicable; as language, sleep, madness, dreams, beasts, sex.”
Emerson is at his best not when he is announcing the Oversoul to the people or flattering his audience, but when he is idiosyncratic, spare and strange; in those moods of almost sleepy reflection and passive wonder one feels that he is entirely open to his unconscious, that he can get it to speak through him in the same way, to use his own image, as the tree puts itself forth through its leaves and branches. “The secret of the world is the tie between person and event . . . . The soul contains the event that shall befall it, for the event is only the actualization of its thoughts and what we pray to ourselves for is always granted.”
– Alfred Kazin The Atlantic
Two birds of golden plumage sat on the same tree. The one above, serene, majestic, immersed in his own glory; the one below restless and eating the fruits of the tree, now sweet, now bitter.
Once he ate an exceptionally bitter fruit, then he paused and looked up at the majestic bird above; but he soon forgot about the other bird and went on eating the fruits of the tree as before.
Again he ate a bitter fruit and this time he hopped up a few boughs nearer to the bird at the top.
This happened many tines until at last the lower bird came to the place of the upper bird and lost himself. He found all at once that there had never been two birds, but that he was all the time that upper bird, serene, majestic and immersed in his own glory.
– Swami Vivekananda, Meditation and Its Methods