Helen Keller – a strengthened soul

‘Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.’ Helen Keller

I just had to share this video with you. I’ve never seen or heard Helen Keller before and was so moved when a friend shared this short video on Facebook. ‘The Miracle Worker‘ is an incredible film that depicts Helen Keller’s struggle for existence and the emergence from darkness through the loving, determined effort of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. We watched it twice on our Spiritual Cinema programme with friends and all cried and laughed together, feeling stronger and inspired to make our contribution in the world. Here is a short clip from ‘The Miracle Worker’, the moment when Helen suddenly understands Anne is teaching her:

I thoroughly recommend watching the whole movie, acted incredibly, and so very moving.

Now to see this footage of Helen as an older lady, smiling, loving, loved and strong despite her lack of sight or hearing – can you imagine living in darkness and silence? Ramin and I feel so inspired by her example and blessed to have the abilities we have.

Helen’s sadness that she never managed to develop natural speech is understandable, yet she did so much good with her limited speech, more than most people do who can speak as clear as bells. I feel it is not what you are given in this life that really matters, it’s how you make use of your talents in this world that is the most important. I wonder how many of us have no disabilities yet see no  spiritual light or hear no uplifting music in our lives? Let’s change that for ourselves and for those around us!

To give you a brief feel of the work Helen did, here is a short excerpt from an online biography of her life:

“After college, Keller set out to learn more about the world and how she could help improve the lives of others. News of her story spread beyond Massachusetts and New England. She became a well-known celebrity and lecturer by sharing her experiences with audiences, and working on behalf of others living with disabilities. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Keller tackled social and political issues, including women’s suffrage, pacifism and birth control. She testified before Congress, strongly advocating to improve the welfare of blind people. In 1915, along with renowned city planner George Kessler, she co-founded Helen Keller International to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition. In 1920, she helped found the American Civil Liberties Union.”

Helen once said,

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”

One more thing, Helen also read something about the Baha’i Faith – thought we’d share this with you too:

‘The philosophy of Bahá’u’lláh deserves the best thought we can give it. I am returning the book so that other blind people who have more leisure than myself may be “shown a ray of Divinity” and their hearts be “bathed in an inundation of eternal love.”

I take this opportunity to thank you for your kind thought of me, and for the inspiration which even the most cursory reading of Bahá’u’lláh’s life cannot fail to impart. What nobler theme than the “good of the world and the happiness of the nations” can occupy our lives? The message of universal peace will surely prevail. It is useless to combine or conspire against an idea which has in it potency to create a new earth and a new heaven and to quicken human beings with a holy passion of service. (In a personal letter written to an American Bahá’í after having read something from the Braille edition of “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era.”)’ Helen Keller (go here for the link, it’s on page 55)


helenkeller‘Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference
for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.’

Helen Keller 1880 – 1968


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