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The Power of 'Awe'


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I am just back from my morning cycle where, once again, I was awe-struck along the way. My early morning ride often provokes feelings of awe in me; it can be the rich scents of foods being prepared for the breakfast trade, it can be the lush jungle in the out of the way parts of the road, it can be the hot chicks going home at dawn from a night's work of being gorgeous, and quite often it is the natural beauty that gets me. This morning I began my ride a wee bit earlier than normal (couldn't sleep) and was utterly enthralled by the full(ish) moon; for a good portion of my ride it was ahead and above me, and it felt like the Universe was shining a light on my journey.

The power of awe.

I came across a recent article on bigthink.com (those unfamiliar with the site should spend a half an hour there, just clicking on whatever catches your eye) on 'Awe' and how it promotes a sense of well-being and a connection to humanity (link below).

"Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the University of California, has been researching awe for more than two decades. During that time, his research has shown that it’s not just the extraordinary that imbues us with a sense of awe. We can find awe in our daily lives. He calls these everyday inspirations “the eight wonders of life,” and in his new book, Awe, he describes how they play a role in our health, happiness, and well-being." (link below)

Now, I must confess that as a general 'Rule of the Thumb', whenever I hear someone promoting a book that will assist in the general well-being, happiness and health of people, I tend to slag it off as 'New Age BS' and go about my day, but this seems a wee bit different to me. Simply put, I find myself in 'Awe' of stuff regularly and have noticed that I am happier when it occurs. Moreover, as a past and sometimes present-day Educator, I am fascinated by what provokes a desire to learn, and 'Awe' seems to be a prime motivator. Finally, I get the sense that in our modern lives, we are so overwhelmed by information (we hold access to the majority of Human Knowledge in our phones) that we sometimes forget to simply stop, look and think, but when we do, it is... er... ahem... awesome.

What awes me? That is a very long list, but one thing come to mind. Space. Outer Space. The science of Space Discovery. Sci-Fi books set in Space. The NASA DART test. The JWST. Hubble, Star Trek and Star Wars, Ultra Massive Black Holes, etc. etc. etc. This very large category evokes awe, wonderment and fascination, and always has; did watching Star Trek as a kid promote the sense of Awe, or did the slogan "to boldly go..." merely personify it? Who knows, but all things 'Space' provoke a sense of 'Awe' and generates a sense of well-being when explored.

I agree with the author; I think we all need more of a sense of 'Awe' in our lives.

What awes you?




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Excellent post.

I've explained my own sense of "daily awe" thus: "I'm like a 7-year old boy exploring a tidal pool."

Just stopping and thinking how things happen or created is enough.  Why leaves are green.   How they transmute sunshine, water and nutrients in the soil to be collectors of energy.  How coconuts are repositories of water and plant food in a hard, protected environment.  Almost anything you see and think about can be awe inspiring.

If you don't feel awe nearly every day, you aren't really looking at the world around you.


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