Hildegard & Einstein Giving Thanks for Intellect & Intuition

For Hildegard, as for Einstein, awe and knowledge, intuition and intellect, aren’t at odds but are companions on the journey. 

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium singing Hildegard’s De Spiritu Sancto. Zevnikov

When she says “there is wisdom in all creative works,” Hildegard is honoring wisdom and creativity while reminding all of us of the importance of wisdom and not to settle for knowledge alone–something I deeply wish our educational institutions at all levels, from pre-school through professional schools, would honor also. 

Hildegard calls our intellects our “greatest gift” saying that our rationality allows us to understand “all things”—the Scriptures and Nature.  She teaches that Christ is “holy rationality” and “God is rationality,” and therefore our employment of rationality is something “holy.”  Indeed, rationality “leads the human being’s five senses to God’s righteousness.”  

Einstein says, “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.”  Obviously Hildegard isn’t shortchanged in the cosmic religious feeling department either. It leaps off the page in her writings, her music, and her poetry.

Einstein underscores the importance of the mystical when he stresses that “it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity. Intuition tells man his purpose in this life….”  He continues, “One never goes wrong following his feeling—I don’t mean emotions, I mean feeling, for feeling and intuition are one.”

Einstein observes that there is a mystical drive in man to learn about his own existence…. I believe that the dignity of man depends not on his membership in a church, but on his scrutinizing mind, his confidence in his intellect, his figuring things out for himself, and, above all, his respect for the laws of creation.  If we respected the “laws of creation” would Climate Change be overwhelming us today?

Hildegard would agree wholeheartedly. Feeling and intuition
constitute the mystical dimension of our minds from which, according to Einstein, we derive our values.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint For Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century, pp. 48-50.

Second image: Einstein with Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet, philosopher, playwrite, painter, and social reformer. Wikimedia Commons

Banner image: Hildegard von Bingen and Albert Einstein. Both images from Wikimedia Commons. (Hildegard image, cropped)

Queries for Contemplation

In this Thanksgiving Season, does your thanks include gratitude for your intellect and reason, along with your intuition and mysticism, values and cosmic religious feeling?

Recommended Reading

Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint for Our Times: Unleashing Her Power in the 21st Century

Matthew Fox writes in Hildegard of Bingen about this amazing woman and what we can learn from her.
In an era when women were marginalized, Hildegard was an outspoken, controversial figure. Yet so visionary was her insight that she was sought out by kings, popes, abbots, and bishops for advice.
“This book gives strong, sterling, and unvarnished evidence that everything – everything – we ourselves become will affect what women after us may also become….This is a truly marvelous, useful, profound, and creative book.” ~~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism.

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5 thoughts on “Hildegard & Einstein Giving Thanks for Intellect & Intuition”

  1. Avatar

    Intuitively feeling our RELATIONALITY, in creative and imaginative ways; converging with the Great Spirit and the mystery of this living essence and presence within the all and the everythjng of creation… leads to experiencing and encountering the wisdom unfolding, evolving and emerging from within the Sacred Hoop, the Medicine Wheel of Life.

    Some call this pathway mysticism, shamanism, Indigenious wisdom, revelation, illumination and enlightenment, cosmic consciousness or living in the Great Webb of Being.

    RELATIONALITY is a sacred law, rooted in our interconnectedness, interreliability, and interdependabilty with the all and the everything of creation, which when valued leads to the beauty way of balance, harmony, and the unity of wholeness and oneness. The life journey is dancing this Sacred Hoop awake, traversing the movements of the Medicine Wheel… the Holy grounding of the as above, into the so below.

  2. Avatar


  3. Avatar

    I sent this on to a dear friend of mine who is literally a genius and possibly the deepest thinker I know. He’s also Buddhist and writes books about reasoning. Because he’s so deep and so intelligent, others have a hard time understanding his books. As a writer myself (a language arts textbook writer and playwright) my goal is to take difficult concepts and communicate them in simple language and metaphor so that they can be understood by those with less intellectual capacity–or perhaps because of their life experiences, less time to focus on philosophy and spirituality. Yes, I am very thankful for my intellect and reason, my intuition and mystical outlook, my values and religious thought. Thank you, Matthew, for continually helping me along the path.

  4. Avatar

    In the depths of your being, a memory and celebration of wholeness and unity resides,
    sometimes slumbering.

    All of your awareness, your-self, is born within this sacred space,
    rejoices inside this soul-encompassing bedrock of consciousness.

    All of that which grows and learns and loves
    in you
    and in everyone
    and everything
    and beyond any possibilities you can conceive of
    radiates within/between/beyond,
    in the living-becoming-knowing-loving

    We can only barely grasp, stretching our concepts into astonishing abstractions or pounding them into formulations that settle, like lead, into simplistic concretions of thoughts and formulas,
    arrogance enshrined in an embarrassment of words.

    The Mystical Soul-Lesson (“Awakening”) points to some-“thing” immensely bigger, more nobly awe-worthy, a True-God (i.e. the authentic central theological subject of our religious inquiries) vastly complex and nuanced, which flows, in loving wisdom-knowledge, through the entirety of our embodied/intellectual/intuitive selves.
    This is the One-God of the Bible.

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