From “William James on Consciousness Beyond the Margin,” by Eugene Taylor, p. 63
James was, first of all, impressed with the Hindu emphasis on an inner tranquility that could be systematically cultivated. In his Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students of Some of Life’s Ideals (1899), he said:
“We have lately had a number of accomplished Hindu visitors at Cambridge, who talked freely on life and philosophy. More than one of them has confided to me that the sight of our faces, all contracted as they are with the habitual American over-intensity and anxiety of expression, and our ungraceful and distorted attitudes when sitting, made on him a very painful impression. “I do not see,” said one, “how it is possible for you to live as you do, without a single minute in your day deliberately given to tranquility and meditation. It is an invariable part of our Hindu life to retire for at least half an hour daily into silence, to relax our muscles, govern our breathing, and mediate on central things. Every Hindu child is trained to do this from an early age.”