Wise Words

The BBC reported this week that two notes written by Albert Einstein, including his theory for happy living, sold for $1.56m.

Given to a courier in Tokyo in 1922 instead of a tip, Einstein (who had just heard that he had won the Nobel prize) told the messenger that, if he was lucky, the notes might become valuable one day.

When the courier came to his room to make a delivery, Einstein didn’t have any money to reward him.

Instead, he handed the messenger a signed note – using stationery of the Imperial Hotel Tokyo – with one sentence, written in German:

“A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.”

As I hove towards my 50th birthday; and find myself this lunchtime, sat with a nice cup of tea, in the kitchen listening serendipitously to Tomaso Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor on Spotify – I think Einstein had a point…

More of Einstein’s wise words (thanks to the BBC):

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

“We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.”

“When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”

Heartfelt


As a person (traditionally) of the head, I generally take the arrow of causation to be ‘the head drives the heart’…

Of course that’s not always the case. When the heart skips a beat or starts misbehaving; that certainly gets the head thinking.

But a book I’ve been reading advocates what many world religions say: rather than just a rather ugly fleshy pump, the heart is a rich source of information on what’s going on inside.

The thesis is, if you’re carrying some problem you’ve not ‘processed’, when your mind wanders anywhere close to it, you can feel it a sort of ‘blockage’ in the heart. Experimenting with this for three or four weeks – for me at least – there’s absolutely something in it.

The physiology and location of the actual electrical impulses is a matter for the neurologists and cardiologists; but if I concentrate on where I ‘feel’ angst, I do indeed feel it in the heart. 

And what an acute detection mechanism it is – when you properly tune in to it… If I think of something or someone and feel a slight (or indeed major) tension in the chest; then sure enough it turns out there’s some form of messed up feeling hiding in there.

A combination of taking a breath and exploring round the ‘blockage’, and lo and behold there’s invariably some unfinished emotional business to have a look at…

A few weeks in, and I’ve ironed out and processed a good few anxieties I didn’t know I had, rattling about my chest cavity. I find I’m pausing and reflecting; but also acting and reacting more contentedly, easily, helpfully and kindly. 

Instead of chucking the brain at problems, I’m tuning into and listening to the acutely sensitive and (thankfully) steady thump of the heart. It’s a very fine guide.