Albert Einstein, Abraham Heschel, "Radical Amazement" and Thanksgiving

Instead of only practicing gratitude one day a year, and for friends, family and turkeys, how about heeding the words of Albert Einstein and Joshua Heschel and taking gratitude to a whole new level?

One of my favorite Einstein quotes addresses this in a stark, binary way . . .

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

I firmly believe, and believe that Einstein did as well, that everything, truly everything, is a miracle.

And, a few years after Einstein’s quote, the brilliant Rabbi Abraham Heschel echoed Albert and created an entire philosophy around this thought.

Everything is not only a “miracle”, according to Heschel, but should inspire something he called “Radical Amazement”.

And, now that we have microscopes and telescopes we can confirm that – from the sub-atomic, microscopic level to the universal, macroscopic level – there really is no other rational way to look at our lives and the very existence of life itself.

Heschel sums it up in this famous quote:

“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazemement [to] get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”

So, in addition to my friends and family and the vegan turkey my amazing 88 year old mother is preparing for my brother, sister-in-law, daughter and me tonight, here is a very partial list of some of the things I am also thankful for:

1. The absolutely amazing thing called “The Strong Force” which holds the Quadrillions and Quadrillions of protons in our body, and in all things, in concert with the Quadrillions and Quadrillions of neutrons so that every bit of matter we see, taste or touch can stay together

2. The electrons which zoom around those protons and neutrons which give life and much of the planet its energy

3. The 118 different kinds of atoms that, literally, make up virtually everything in the entire Universe

4. The many, many molecules, formed from those atoms, which come together in magical ways to form our cells, our organs and our organ systems which allow us (and our dogs and cats and every other living being) to live and move and love

5. That the Earth is precisely close enough and precisely far enough away from The Sun to sustain Billions of species of life, including Billions of humans

6. The amazing balance and perfect inter-connectedness in our bodies and our local and national and global ecosystems that allow life to happen

7. That our planet Earth, somehow, knows how to spin at the rate of about 1,000 miles per hour, travel around the sun at the rate of 66,000 miles per hour and that we (and Mars and Venus and Saturn and the rest of our brother and sister planets in our solar system) know how to travel through our galaxy at the rate of 43,000 miles per hour and that, simultaneously, our galaxy, somehow, has figured out how to travel through the Universe at the rate of 483,000 miles per hour . . . all while we sit and eat our Thanksgiving meal, oblivious to the concentric circles of movement that swirl around us.

And the list could go on and on, infinitely.

So, tonight, let’s also thank everything that got us to where we, as collections of Trillions of cells, all operating in perfect balance and inter-connectivity in this mathematically impossible combination of things that have occurred over the last 13.8 Billion years, and in every single moment, so that we can hug and kiss and fight over politics and share love as we sit together tonight in our American Tribal Ritual called “Thanksgiving”, far more important than any political “tribalness”, and be so, so grateful for the indescribable MAGIC that is everywhere and everything!

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