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The Spiritual Wisdom of Albert Einstein

By UPLIFT on Wednesday December 16th, 2015

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The spiritual wisdom of Albert Einstein

Pondering the Unknown with the World's Most Famous Scientist

Though he was the most famous scientist of his time, Albert Einstein knew we could never fully understand the workings of the world within the limitations of the human mind. Experiencing the universe as a harmonious whole, he encouraged the use of intuition to solve problems, marvelled at the the mystery of God in nature, and applauded the ideals of great spiritual teachers such as Buddha and Jesus.

In Search of the Cosmic Man

The following is an excerpt of his writings that explore the meeting place between science and spirituality, giving us a fascinating glimpse into how Einstein saw the world:

“School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me. The teachers behaved like Feldwebel (sergeants). I wanted to learn what I wanted to know, but they wanted me to learn for the exam. What I hated most was the competitive system there, and especially sports. Because of this, I wasn’t worth anything, and several times they suggested I leave.

This was a Catholic School in Munich. I felt that my thirst for knowledge was being strangled by my teachers; grades were their only measurement. How can a teacher understand youth with such a system?

Alt text hereEinstein felt strangled by his grade-driven teachers at school

Order in the Universe, Disorder in the Human Mind

From the age of twelve I began to suspect authority and distrust teachers. I learned mostly at home, first from my uncle and then from a student who came to eat with us once a week. He would give me books on physics and astronomy.

The more I read, the more puzzled I was by the order of the universe and the disorder of the human mind, by the scientists who didn’t agree on the how, the when, or the why of creation.

Then one day this student brought me Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Reading Kant, I began to suspect everything I was taught. I no longer believed in the known God of the Bible, but rather in the mysterious God expressed in nature.

The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.

If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune, and the piper who plays this melody from an inscrutable distance—whatever name we give him—Creative Force, or God—escapes all book knowledge.

Science is never finished because the human mind only uses a small portion of its capacity, and man’s exploration of his world is also limited.

Einstein violinA musical Einstein believed we all danced to a mysterious tune within

Experiencing the Universe as a Harmonious Whole

Creation may be spiritual in origin, but that doesn’t mean that everything created is spiritual. How can I explain such things to you? Let us accept the world is a mystery. Nature is neither solely material nor entirely spiritual.

Man, too, is more than flesh and blood; otherwise, no religions would have been possible. Behind each cause is still another cause; the end or the beginning of all causes has yet to be found.

Yet, only one thing must be remembered: there is no effect without a cause, and there is no lawlessness in creation.

If I hadn’t an absolute faith in the harmony of creation, I wouldn’t have tried for thirty years to express it in a mathematical formula. It is only man’s consciousness of what he does with his mind that elevates him above the animals, and enables him to become aware of himself and his relationship to the universe.

I believe that I have cosmic religious feelings. I never could grasp how one could satisfy these feelings by praying to limited objects. The tree outside is life, a statue is dead. The whole of nature is life, and life, as I observe it, rejects a God resembling man.

Man has infinite dimensions and finds God in his conscience. [A cosmic religion] has no dogma other than teaching man that the universe is rational and that his highest destiny is to ponder it and co-create with its laws.

Einstein and TagoreEinstein discussing Science and God with Indian spiritual teacher Tagore

Unveiling the Magnificence of Creation

I like to experience the universe as one harmonious whole. Every cell has life. Matter, too, has life; it is energy solidified. Our bodies are like prisons, and I look forward to be free, but I don’t speculate on what will happen to me.

I live here now, and my responsibility is in this world now. I deal with natural laws. This is my work here on earth.

The world needs new moral impulses which, I’m afraid, won’t come from the churches, heavily compromised as they have been throughout the centuries.

Perhaps those impulses must come from scientists in the tradition of Galileo, Kepler and Newton. In spite of failures and persecutions, these men devoted their lives to proving that the universe is a single entity, in which, I believe, a humanized God has no place.

The genuine scientist is not moved by praise or blame, nor does he preach. He unveils the universe and people come eagerly, without being pushed, to behold a new revelation: the order, the harmony, the magnificence of creation!

And as man becomes conscious of the stupendous laws that govern the universe in perfect harmony, he begins to realize how small he is. He sees the pettiness of human existence, with its ambitions and intrigues, its ‘I am better than thou’ creed.

This is the beginning of cosmic religion within him; fellowship and human service become his moral code. Without such moral foundations, we are hopelessly doomed.

Einstein faithEinstein believed that the real scientist has faith

Improving the World with Ideals, not Scientific Knowledge

If we want to improve the world we cannot do it with scientific knowledge but with ideals. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi have done more for humanity than science has done.

We must begin with the heart of man—with his conscience—and the values of conscience can only be manifested by selfless service to mankind.

Religion and science go together. As I’ve said before, science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. They are interdependent and have a common goal—the search for truth.

Hence it is absurd for religion to proscribe Galileo or Darwin or other scientists. And it is equally absurd when scientists say that there is no God. The real scientist has faith, which does not mean that he must subscribe to a creed.

Without religion there is no charity. The soul given to each of us is moved by the same living spirit that moves the universe.

I am not a mystic. Trying to find out the laws of nature has nothing to do with mysticism, though in the face of creation I feel very humble. It is as if a spirit is manifest infinitely superior to man’s spirit. Through my pursuit in science I have known cosmic religious feelings. But I don’t care to be called a mystic.

I believe that we don’t need to worry about what happens after this life, as long as we do our duty here—to love and to serve.

I have faith in the universe, for it is rational. Law underlies each happening. And I have faith in my purpose here on earth. I have faith in my intuition, the language of my conscience, but I have no faith in speculation about Heaven and Hell. I’m concerned with this time—here and now.

Einstein intuitive mind quoteThe intuitive mind is a sacred gift

It is Intuition which Advances Humanity

Many people think that the progress of the human race is based on experiences of an empirical, critical nature, but I say that true knowledge is to be had only through a philosophy of deduction. For it is intuition that improves the world, not just following a trodden path of thought.

Intuition makes us look at unrelated facts and then think about them until they can all be brought under one law. To look for related facts means holding onto what one has instead of searching for new facts.

Intuition is the father of new knowledge, while empiricism is nothing but an accumulation of old knowledge. Intuition, not intellect, is the ‘open sesame’ of yourself.

Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity. Intuition tells man his purpose in this life.

I do not need any promise of eternity to be happy. My eternity is now. I have only one interest: to fulfill my purpose here where I am.

This purpose is not given me by my parents or my surroundings. It is induced by some unknown factors. These factors make me a part of eternity.”

~ Albert Einstein

Text Source: Einstein and the Poet: In Search of the Cosmic Man (1983). From a series of meetings William Hermanns had with Einstein in 1930, 1943, 1948, and 1954

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29 Responses to The Spiritual Wisdom of Albert Einstein

  1. Albert and his finite wisdom was onto something here. God IS REAL.No matter how you want to beat around the bush, He is,He was and He always will be.

    • Prove it… You are your own being, we can see you. We all have a cosmic life within US, we don’t need to be told what to believe or how. See Luke 17: 20-21. Kind of sums it up.

  2. He is bind blowing smart, an has just stated the obvious. Some of it is all just such strong built in natural instincts ( intuition )so strong that we cant handle it in our minds (conscious) so we force to manifest it into something we can handle… like a god? or science? … Mayb ? Which he explains is always possible. In a endless amount of ways.

  3. His both of the left and right brains were able to communicate. After Newton, he was the ever genius human mankind has…his washroom had been full of equations all over..very nice article..its like we all need to connect the dots/bits and pieces of information like in a sacred geometry tetrahedon as we all are connected in the sacred COSMOS. Namaste.

  4. If, we don’t think, outside the square, we won’t know we’re in it. When everything is relative, inconsequence could be nothing-;!

    • The square is man made it just fences things in, the triangle shows us our path to God and the circles ever widening, as we embrace more and more, are what truly binds us together and keep us alive.

  5. “If we want to improve the world we cannot do it with scientific knowledge but with ideals. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi have done more for humanity than science has done” Without science you’d still think the sun rotates around the Earth and you’d not be publishing this utter nonsense.

    • How could he possibly have overlooked the confirmation by Copernicus being the turning point when people began treating other people justly, after which we all lived happily ever after? Now I understand why Einstein devoted his life to religion, and had so little regard for science.

  6. Behind every pair of eyes save our own there is an unknown universe into which we can not enter. We can make assumptions of similar experiences but these assumptions come with limitations and can in themselves be limiting. To assume the human consciousness to be “higher” makes such an assumption. It is similar in its fallacy to a person educated within a specified culture to assume some other cultures to be “primitive.” Our god after all may not be a he or a she but an it. It may be very creative but it may not necessarily be just.
    Life itself is a grand experiment for which even the hypothesis has yet to be written.- Fragscap Napoli

  7. Einstein provided uplifting words here, especially for the times in which they were written when science reigned: “reason over passion”- and relevant now….disappointed in many of the comments which are not uplifting….

  8. It’s a shame society has to corral itself into the realm of rational thought but I suppose it’s seen as the only way to maintain order and control the direction of progress to any degree. Most people simply don’t have the level of intelligence required to allow intuition to be our guiding philosophy; it would simply result in chaos. Or would it? Maybe if intuition was given a higher standing in our education system it would release a spring of latent brilliance. Either way…I wish we had more Einsteins.

    • It’s not whether you are intelligent enough to listen to intuition…we all have intuition…we’ve just been conditioned by industrialism to ignore it.

  9. The article is titled “The Spiritual World of Albert Einstein” and it is very interesting to read what a man of his intellectual capacity believed. It’s not for anyone in this day and age of so many church leaders and leaders of alternative belief systems, who have been exposed as having feet of clay, to expose their lack of compassion and enlightenment by denouncing or criticizing what Einstein believed. After the horrors and omissions committed by of one of the biggest religions on the planet today…how can anyone follow its tenets with the sort of blind devotion many do, mystifies me. what you believe and how you express that belief should be private and is no-one’s business but yours…forcing your beliefs on others is pure selfish ego.

  10. Its unfortunate that commenters here are disappointed that Einstein didn’t satisfy their pre-conceived notions. He provided a wonderful perspective, and as he mentioned at the end, he was only here to fulfill his purpose.

  11. Cosmic Religion

    The Following section was taken from Albert Einstein’s Ideas and Opinion (1954): Cosmic Religion “But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.

    The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity of marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as sort of a prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole… The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man’s image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were, in many cases, regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints.

      • Gardeners of duality – great way to put it. And we, as one cosmic mind, did it for the fun. Only to “ascend”, begin to remember, and probably do it all over again falling back into the “Forgetfulness” of the veil. Here we go again.. And onto fourth density we go!

    • What I find hilarious is that my current Physics book I’m using for Physics101 in college, goes into a egotistical rant concerning intuition and “Pseudo” sciences. Yet so called “Pseudo” sciences actually do have a place in REAL science. Its appalling and utterly nauseating that much incredible scientific research that has been done regarding intelligent energy around us is laughed out of dodge and considered “logical fallacy”. For example, Dr. Jim Tucker’s research of reincarnation is absolutely incredible. I think its very scientific and valid. Most scientists today repulse me. “Rationality” is the enemy of intuition. Intuition is available to all, scientist or not. One need not be a mathematical genius to perceive the truth of the cosmos. It may be that math fails us in the end and destroys our opportunity for spiritual ascension. One can not see the big picture if they are peering through a keyhole out of FEAR of what they will see if they open their hearts/minds up to their own gift (power) of intuition. Yes, it takes courage to look in that direction. You may be labeled a mystic or a fool, but in the end, you’re looking at truth while much of science is trying to measure God with an equation.

  12. Great read! Do good, help others and stay in today ?
    Very interesting reading all these comments..
    Do the next right thing!

  13. Einstein was a true father of Philosophy – one of the greatest and he knew where he stood! Such depth in every word he wrote or stated – ex “I do not need any promise of eternity to be happy. My eternity is now. I have only one interest: to fulfill my purpose here where I am.” And Einstein Lives On!

  14. Agreed, not a religious person but a kind person. Living in the moment, enjoying life and not in the least concerned about heaven or Hell but rather what form my energy will take. The Universe is a big place.

  15. Here is a man who truly understood the Nature of Relativity … the nature by which one “relates” to the world of time, space and energy. And that all falls under the description of Quantum Physics.

    But IMO .. what he never “Said” … but was implicit in his thinking was the fact that it is the Qualia (the quality of entangled harmonic relationships) that is the driving force of . . . “Causation” that precedes and is essential for the . . . .Quanta “Effects” of things we call reality.

    And so when social scientists catch up with the axioms of “Quantum of Physics” … with their “Qualia of Harmonics” … then humanity may just have a chance of surviving the corporate and political secrets, lie, corruption and greed that is destroying our chances of survival.

  16. don’t refer god as him….. because back then it was known to be both forces as one! stop using and referring god to HIM ok fanatics? because male and female unified is what creates

  17. These may be some of the most beautiful words I have ever read in my life.. Like reading my own thoughts. I love this man.

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