Why Emily Brontë is a Sage

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In the Western world, spiritual knowledge has become tied up with academia. We didn't really make sage-advice accessible for the everyday person until very recently. When you look close enough, you begin to see mysterious knowledge hidden in our European past. 

Emily Brontë was a writer and author in the Victorian era. She grew up in Yorkshire and lived a bit of an abnormal life for her time. In her adult years, Emily became a teacher, but soon left as the workload made her ill. Life was leading her down the path of becoming a writer, something she had enjoyed from her early childhood.

For a Victorian, she had a larger imagination than most people and was able to see the flaws within society - something that was written into her novel. She was completely opposed to the strict conventions of Victorian England and instead, drew most of her inspiration from the Yorkshire Moors. With her sisters as support, they all began to write poetry and novels, while publishing under pseudonyms in order to be taken seriously by the public.

What makes Emily such an insightful person is her inner-knowing. She observes the world from the perspective of nature - everything is interconnected, some of it wild, and always in a state of flux. 

Many people look to obvious themes in Wuthering Heights or her many poems, in order to determine Emily's character; because we really don't have a good source for evidence of her character.

To me, this is one dimensional. Wuthering Heights and her collection of poems, show her extraordinary imagination and wit - but it doesn't show her character. To see her character, we have to look beyond the surface of the words on the page to notice the nuggets of wisdom that she left for us.

I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind. And this is one: I’m going to tell it - but take care not to smile at any part of it.

Our intentions, create our reality. The further we envelope ourselves into our dreams, the more they change us. When these dreams come to light, they alter the way we view the world. Our whole world becomes absolutely shattered when we conceive of a new reality. Emily asks us to keep dreaming for as long as we live, so we can continue to use our intentions to shape our reality. The last sentence, is just as important as the beautiful wine imagery; we have to let go, and not attach ourselves too firmly to this reality, if we really want to see it. In other words, don't let the ego be gratified with smiles at every step, but allow yourself to be humbled and relax into contentment. 

Love is like the wild rose-briar; Friendship like the holly-tree. The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms, but which will bloom most constantly?

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts in life, and it's also the most solid foundation. Emily reminds us of the fickle nature of infatuated love. Like the roses, it too will fade and the petals will fall. Friendship, she reminds us, is like a holly-bush. We might think that roses are more beautiful than holly, but in reality, the beauty of the holly bush lasts longer. The friendships that we have in our lives will serve us continually over the years. The beauty of a friendship is in its everlasting nature. Emily isn't asking us to abandon romantic love, she's asking us to build our romantic relationships upon a foundation of friendship, rather than infatuation. 

If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.

Abandon the need to be proud in your work, and that will determine your legacy. Emily knows that those who attach themselves to constant praise and validation in their work, are only limiting their true potential. To create something lasting and useful, we need to act our of service for others. Working in silence, and what Emily calls 'obscurity', ensures that we don't become too attached to the outcome or reward of our work. We just continue with it, without the need for ceremony, to help others. The reward of your efforts will be realised by the results. In other words, let the results speak for themselves. The energy of your willingness to be of service will be embedded into your work and ensure its success. 

A good heart will help you to a bonny face, my lad and a bad one will turn the bonniest into something worse than ugly.

A kind heart and gentle soul is all you need. Emily understood that shining your heart forward was the best way to live. A beautiful face, and character, depends on your ability to share love. She warns us, that a 'bad' heart will turn the purest of souls, into something that is far worse than ugly. We seal our fate with our actions, so why not choose to be the best version of yourself? What is the point of acting cruely to 'get ahead' of others?

I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.

All the earthly pleasures of life, is not what life is really about. It is nice to enjoy the gifts that Life gives to us, but it is not the purpose of our lives to seek these pleasures out. Emily tells us that we must not waste this gift of life by seeking out material pleasures, but rather, seek to get to know ourselves better. To completely love ourselves, be okay with who we are and to be fine with being by ourselves is the greatest accomplishment. It doesn't mean that we avoid relationships, friendships or material gifts. Instead, we become so still within ourselves that we are not attached to any of these things; so that we become completely reliant on ourselves.

I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.

Our life path is unique to us alone. Emily encourages us to be strong enough to follow our heart along our own path. Be lead by your heart, to find a life of fulfillment. Emily knew that following another's path, will only bring misery. After all, she became a teacher at a young age and became incredibly sick from following a path that was not intended for her. Sometimes, we need to break away from the expectations of others to live a life that is worth living. 

I know Emily would feel overjoyed that the world today takes personal growth with more reverence. She was a person that was committed to growing and learning each day. Nature, was one of Life's greatest teachers to Emily. Just as Lao Tzu used nature to draw analogies, so too did Emily teach her Victorian audience how to live, with nature as her compass. She continues to teach us beyond death, through her novel, poems, and love of the natural world. For me, Emily Brontë gives me the courage the pursue my dreams, and live my life authentically.