If you chance to live and move and have your being in that thin stratum in which the events that make the news transpire, -- thinner than the paper on which it is printed, -- then these things will fill the world for you; but if you soar above or dive below that plane, you cannot remember nor be reminded of them. Really to see the sun rise or go down every day, so to relate ourselves to a universal fact, would preserve us sane forever.

Henry David Thoreau, Life Without Principle

separator image
separator image

Thoreau thought a lot about how we should occupy our minds. Surely, one cannot argue too much with this recommendation:

"We should treat our minds, that is, ourselves, as innocent and ingenuous children, whose guardians we are, and be careful what objects and what subjects we thrust on their attention. Read not the Times. Read the Eternities."

Or this:

"Knowledge does not come to us by details, but in flashes of light from heaven."

I try to treat my life events as Thoreau would treat a walk in the woods: approach each event and live each moment not only bodily but spiritually. Shouldn't we ultimately live as Thoreau prescribes when recounting his excursion to Walden Pond:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. . . For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to 'glorify God and enjoy Him forever.'"

separator image
Google Book Search
email icon