A Human Being, Wrote Einstein, Is A Part Of The Whole

blackboard Einstien

We Experience Our Thoughts And Feelings Alone—Our Task Must Be To Free Ourselves From This Prison By Widening Our Circle Of Compassion To Embrace All Living Creatures And The Whole Nature In Its Beauty

Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

Aug. 3, ‘82

I was in a very different mood after we left the festival. I think it had something to do with the quiet after so much excitement. I can’t put that mood into words, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Michelle likes to stop a lot. This practice is okay, particularly since I enjoy the bits of history that I pick up along the way. Also, we get to share these experiences together, and sharing with an intelligent and pretty woman makes for a very special experience indeed. In the vicinity of the town of Middleton, there was a museum that was exceptionally nice. Maybe the place was less a museum and more a historic site. I’m not sure. Anyway, on the top floor there was a room full of books. I walked over to the shelf on the far side of the room from where two women were cataloging books, and took the book entitled Einstein down from the shelf. When I opened it, a newspaper clipping fell out. I found a quote taken from one of Einstein’s letters in it. It was an incredible quote, so I wrote it down:

“An ordained Rabbi had written explaining that he had sought to comfort his 19-year-old daughter over the death of her sister, ‘a sinless, beautiful, 16-year-old child.’ The surviving daughter found no comfort ‘based on traditional religious grounds,’ the Rabbi said, but had told her mother that perhaps a scientist could help.

‘A human being,’ wrote Einstein in reply, ‘is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, and his thoughts, and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.’”

I have had exceptional good fortune. I have had a wonderful and beautiful trip. I even have a T-shirt and a cup that I prize as souvenirs from Nova Scotia, but the discovery of this quote, which essentially states the philosophy that I believe in, and have struggled to express for two years, coming form the man I admire most, is a prize beyond compare.

Aug. 4,

Here I am on a beautiful morning, eating cinnamon donuts and drinking hot coffee. Michelle is still sleeping. I expect she will be rising before long. I used her stove to heat up this water.

Yesterday, after a long day of riding and stopping, we arrived in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. We checked out the youth hostel and were welcomed with an $8.00 per bed greeting. Even though we were too tired to look for a freebee campsite, Michelle took the lead and we got back on our bikes. We didn’t have far to go. Down by the bay, we passed by a bearded artisan who was quick to strike up a conversation. He was cleaning up after painting the outside of his art gallery. After hearing our story, he happily gave us permission to put our tents up in his backyard. The very friendly French Canadian left soon after that, and Michelle rolled out her sleeping bag. The moon was full and there was a fishing wharf not far from the gallery, so I forced myself to go check it out. At the end of the pier, in the middle of the ocean, I savored the seclusion, moon, and salty air. I just had to. The moon had pretty much traversed the sky when I finally crawled into my sleeping bag.


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