Transcendence is a fundamental part of the human experience. Since the dawn of our species, people have been losing themselves in ritualistic prayer, song, and dance. …Most people have had some sort of transcendent experience…and about a third of the population has had “intense experiences of unity.” …You can lose yourself in love, or feel awe watching a lightning storm from your porch …[or] when you step outside of your head while listening to a beautiful piece of music [or] “major transcendent experiences,” where your sense of self completely dissolves and you feel at one with the universe. …Transcendent experiences …bring perspective, helping us to abandon the conceit that we are at the center of the world. “We can experience union with something larger than ourselves,” as William James put it, “and in that union find our greatest peace.”
Emily Esfahani Smith
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?
Join us this month in exploring “Transcendence.”