Helen Keller – The Powers Within

The powers that are available to a human being, the powers of thought, decision, love and will, are glorious in nature and limitless in effect. It is easy to take them for granted or to use them in a way that is binding rather than liberating. With philosophy, these powers may be controlled and directed in such a way that they bring freedom both for the individual and everyone around him or her.

An example of how these powers that we inherit can be taken for granted comes from the story of Helen Keller. As an infant, she was struck by an illness that rendered her both blind and deaf. She remained like that for the rest of her life. When she was seven she was given a teacher, Anne Sullivan, who taught her what she called the sign-language. Helen learnt quickly. When she was thirsty she spelt out the sign ‘water’. Then one day something happened that transformed her life. Anne Sullivan took her for a walk in the garden. Helen Keller later described the event:

We walked down the path to the well-house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered. Some one was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word ‘water’, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motion of the fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten Ð a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew that the ‘water’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand.

That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away. I left the well-house eager to learn. Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. As we returned to the house every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life.

(Helen Keller: The Story of My Life.)

The story indicates the power and vibrancy of the powers available to all of us as well as the importance of directing them in a positive manner and not taking them for granted.