Pillars of Southwestern College’s philosophy: Ralph Waldo Emerson
by Southwestern College Counseling Student Sylvan Schneider
Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the first Americans to read the sacred texts of Vedic wisdom from India, thus ushering the consciousness and oneness from these texts into the hearts and souls of America and the world at large. In fact when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, America looked to Emerson for his guiding words of wisdom. Emerson taught consciousness through Transcendentalism, inspiring and leading countless Americans to endorse abolition of slavery and support the beginning of women’s and Native Americans’ suffrage.
One of Emerson’s primary philosophies is that life’s purpose is spiritual transformation, and seeking a here and now direct experience of divine oneness within. It’s this type of teaching that Southwestern College embraces. Emerson helped guide the way of many, many souls from all over the world to Atman through his enlightened texts of inspiration. Emerson, and now Southwestern College’s founder Robert Waterman teach us to trust our own inner teacher. It is through one’s own inner teacher that one forges an authentic connection to the universe and creates a gateway to a higher metaphysical consciousness.
Through this higher consciousness, teaches Emerson and Waterman, one explores the path to inner discovery and openness where one can find “thou art that” in relation to our divine nature of being. Emerson mentored the young Henry David Thoreau, who then grew into a sage of non-violent revolution. Thoreau’s way of non-violence directly inspired Gandhi in his liberation of India. In fact ,Gandhi sent detectives to America to track Thoreau and see if he was in fact the “real deal”, and he was.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was deeply moved by Gandhi’s teachings on non-violence and his liberation of India. Thus, through King, the teachings of Emerson and Thoreau were even more woven into the heart and soul of America and the world at large.
Dr. Robert Waterman brought Emerson’s spirit of oneness and transcendentalism into the heart and soul of Southwestern College’s curriculum. I never knew who Ralph Waldo Emerson was before I enrolled at Southwestern College and am forever grateful to learn of his life and teachings. From studying at Southwestern College, I now feel confident that I will be able to carry on these life lessons inside my own mind, heart, spirit, and soul.
I’m writing with deep gratitude to have the opportunity to honor Emerson, Waterman, Gandhi, Thoreau, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the teachings of Southwestern College, for at this home of wisdom Emerson’s teachings still live, thrive, and inspire, leading countless students to their own inner oneness.
Southwestern College is a school that makes a difference in its students’ lives. Their transformation is then carried out and spread into the world through counseling and art therapy. At Southwestern College the transformation of consciousness through education is the mantra that leads its students to discover their own inner voice, connect to wisdom within themselves, and to move toward an ultimate realization of higher consciousness within. For me this has been everything I could have ever wished and dreamed for in a graduate school and education.
About the Moderator
Jim Nolan is in his 7th year as president of Southwestern College. He has worked for a dozen universities or colleges, both online and on the ground. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, and attended graduate school in English/Irish Literature. He reads a lot of books, takes a lot of photos, plays guitar, got married in India in 2010. His best friend of all times, a Wire Haired Fox Terrier named Barney, recently passed into non-physical. Barney was a true guru.
Jim is the opposite of a guru, whatever that is called. He doesn't know anything, and he knows that.