Albert Einstein was one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. He became famous for his theory of relativity but left behind a wide-ranging repertoire of wisdom in his observations about reality, wonder, mysticism, curiosity, imagination, and more. In celebration of his birthday, we begin with the following piece by Edward Hays, a devotional master who shares Einstein's respect for the spiritual practice of wonder:

"The great genius Albert Einstein was nicknamed by his parents as a child, der Depperte, or, the dopey one. Albert was so unusually slow in learning that his parents consulted a doctor about their young son who had such difficultly in speaking. Einstein later explained that his slow verbal development actually was an advantage since it allowed him 'to observe with wonder' the everyday things that others took for granted. He said that unlike others who puzzled over mysterious things, he was awestruck over the most commonplace. This exploration of the common paradoxically led Einstein to do the same with the cosmos. When asked, he defined his faith as a reverence for the creation of the universe and its laws, and the mysteriousness of their nature. If, like Einstein, you wish to experience the mysteriousness of life, then practice being slow to speak. Even if you appear to be der depperte by lacking words to describe or name some commonplace thing, you may discover the awe of its wonderfulness."

Make me a scientist of the commonplace
puzzling over the mystery of daily stuff,
wordlessly probing for the Great Mystery,
the Mother of wonders and the awesome.

— Edward Hays in The Book of Wonders


And now for some wisdom by Albert Einstein:

  • "It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."
    — from Holy Clues by Stephen Kendrick
  • "A day without learning is a day wasted. There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it."
    — from Wisdom from World Religions by Sir John Templeton
  • "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."
    — from Less Is More by Mina Parker
  • "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding."
    — from The Way of Conflict by Deidre Combs
  • "A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give the measure as I have received and am still receiving."
    — from The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness by Rami Shapiro
  • "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
    — from Embracing a Beautiful God by Patricia Adams Farmer
  • "The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives."
    — from Silver Linings by Mina Parker
  • "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
    — from Full Esteem Ahead by Diana and Julia Loomans
  • "The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."
    — from Prayers to an Evolutionary God by William Cleary