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Alfred, Lord Tennyson - 'A state of transcendent wonder'
by Craig Pearson, PhD
Transcendental Meditation - USA
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29 June 2010
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The article is another in a series of brilliant essays by Craig Pearson, PhD,* about great historical figures in world culture whose thinking, speech, actions, and written works have expressed a deep familiarity—based on direct experience—with the transcendental field of life. This one is about 19th century English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who became Poet Laureate of England, and remains one of the English language's most popular poets to this day.
As in articles on Helen Keller, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and others, Dr Pearson analyzes beautiful passages from Tennyson's work, articulating the details of experiences he describes in terms of the knowledge and experience of transcendental consciousness—the fourth major state of consciousness, beyond waking, dreaming, and sleeping—brought to light from the ancient Vedic tradition by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
For example, Tennyson writes of '. . . a kind of waking trance—this for lack of a better word—I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have been all alone. . . . All at once, as it were out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being, and this not a confused state but the clearest, the surest of the surest . . . utterly beyond words—where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life. . . .' He also described this experience as 'a state of transcendent wonder'.
Dr Pearson explains, 'Tennyson offers a clear description of transcendence. When the mind dives within during practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, mental activity settles down, like waves settling on the ocean. We experience finer and finer levels of the thinking process, until we transcend, or go beyond, thinking altogether. What do we experience then? Consciousness itself—not consciousness of perceptions, thoughts, or feelings but pure consciousness, silent and unbounded. This is our innermost Self, the innermost reality of the universe.' Using one of Maharishi's early terms, it is 'a field of pure Being', he says.
Please visit Excellence in Action to enjoy the complete essay.
* Dr Pearson is Executive Vice-President of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA. He has served the University for 33 years, also as Dean of Faculty, Dean of Students, Director of Maharishi University of Management Press, Director of Freshman Composition, and Professor of Professional Writing. He holds a PhD in Maharishi Vedic Science from MUM and is the author of books on the development of full human potential, including The Complete Book of Yogic Flying.
© Copyright 2011 Maharishi Foundation USA
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