In one of the many inspirational essays in this anthology compiled by his daughter Susan, Howard Thurman (1900 -1981) writes:
" 'Saddle your dreams before you ride them.' It is the nature of dreams to run riot, never to wish to contain themselves within limitations that are fixed. Sometimes they seem to be the cry of the heart for the boundless and the unexplored. Often they are fashioned out of longings too vital to die, out of hankerings fed by hidden springs in the dark places of the spirit. Often they are the offspring of hopes that can never be realized and longings that can never find fulfillment. . . . But all their meaning need not be exhausted by such harsh judgment. The dreams belong to us; they come full-blown out of the real world in which we work and hope and carry on. . . . Our dreams must be saddled by the hard facts of our world before we ride them off among the stars. Thus, they become for us the bearers of the new possibility, the enlarged horizon, the great hope."
This eloquent and deeply human meditation gives you a cogent example of the writing talents of this black Baptist minister, philosopher, educator, nature mystic, and poet who throughout his adult years served as one of the greatest spiritual resources of the nation. Thuman taught and lectured at over 500 institutions around the world and wrote more than 20 books on the spiritual journey.
He served as dean of Rankin Chapel and professor of theology at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Thurman was minister and co-founder of the interdenominational Church for the Fellowship of All People in San Francisco. Later, he was dean of Marsh Chapel and minister-at-large of Boson University.
Thurman was a master of everyday spirituality able to see messages about commitment, faith, and hope in the yucca tree and its seeds, the shrubs that survive above the timber line, and the musk deer of North India. He regarded Negro spirituals as "tools of the spirit" to cut "through the wilderness of despair." And, he affirmed that "to love is to make of one's heart a swinging door." For the Inward Journey is a remarkable spiritual excursion.