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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Louise H. Miller was born and brought up in Honolulu, Hawaii. While in her twenties she moved to Washington, DC, where she met her husband, who is now an executive of Radio Free Europe. Louise Miller calls herself an ordinary housewife and mother, but her ideas are far from ordinary. Here is her creed.
There is a version of the Lord’s Prayer by Rudolf Steiner which begins, “Our Father, who art in heaven, heaven is unlimited. It is within ourselves, as well as without.” This is the essence of my philosophy. Heaven, or spirit, is not only a world outside of us, but permeates, as well, the center of man. And maintaining an open channel between this center in man and a world which he can tap for higher development is for me a need. I must bring this outside wisdom into its counterpart in the inner man from which it can, in turn, flow outward, through my conscious effort, into life with my fellow man.
The activity through this channel can be created best by my own conscious endeavor, although overtones of its reality sometimes break through even without effort. Love, courage, beauty, evil, suffering: these are with me as sources of strength, hints of deeper meaning, sometimes as revelation. The world unfolds its miracles as the inner self grows, but the self must be constantly nourished. There can be neither dependence upon the without, alone—as with blind, unthinking faith—nor reliance upon myself, severed from my connection with the whole.
Specifically, I strive for this balance in two ways, neither of which is complete without the other. By meditation and reading, I seek to strengthen the man within. This is activity and not passive faith. Meditation is not easy. No conscious effort to know oneself and one’s relationship to the whole is easy. The rewards of this kind of effort are subtle but pervasive, and the proof can only be found within the individual. By striving in my daily living to use what I call “creative consciousness,” there is no moment that does not bear within it a challenge.
Every instant of living offers an opportunity to be creative. This means working consciously, or absorbing consciously. It means the will to use one’s strengths and to recognize and then to transmute one’s weaknesses. This is not easy. Mostly I fail, but not always; and in the times when I am plodding, there comes the deepened humility without which all individual achievement is as nothing. If I search my own depths within and attempt to open them always to the without, which can become a part of the within, there is no need for me to talk of community responsibility and find human relationships as motivating causes.
The creature from its creator cannot be set free. The part of us that enters into human relationships determines their value. A whole man, with his own choice of direction, takes into each relationship his full potential. Activities which come at us and find us rejecting them inwardly while performing outwardly cannot have the quality that comes from a willed, thoughtful, loving action emanating from a human being who has no antagonism to his task, even if distasteful.
Kierkegaard said, “Oh, but when I read the New Testament, I get the impression that in God’s opinion, every man is a giant.” Our limited experience gives us a brief vision of this, and Christianity does teach it to us, not only in the concept of the simple man of Nazareth with his therapeutic doctrine of love, but in the concept of a mighty Christ impulse through which is achieved the Resurrection, which is the birth of man’s higher self. This I believe.
That was Louise H. Miller, a housewife and mother. She lives with her husband and two children in Chappaqua, New York.