Awe and Wonder
What makes you feel connected, confident and creative?
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~ W.B. Yeats
When was the last time you experienced a sense of awe and wonder? When did you last feel a sense of magic, astonishment, and profound gratitude for being alive and connected to this vast creative universe?
Awe and wonder leave many of us without words to describe our emotions, because Awe and Wonder arise when you encounter something that is beyond description with words. For this reason, Awe and Wonder evoke a feeling of mystery.
What triggers Awe and Wonder? Like beauty, Awe and Wonder are in the eye of the beholder. Different things inspire people with the transcendent feeling of Awe and Wonder. People feel awe and wonder when they spend time in the majesty of nature, connect with others, witness acts of courageous accomplishment, or see something from a new perspective. One universal way that people feel awe and Wonder is by looking out at the universe or contemplating our vast journey from the Great Radiance to now.
Gratitude for Awe and Wonder
Awe and Wonder are like gratitude on steroids. Awe for the vastness of the universe offers a never-ending supply of wonder and gratitude for the trillions of gifts of existence.
While the sense of Awe and Wonder feels good, these emotions are essential for human survival. The emotions of Awe and Wonder changes one’s biochemistry and the wiring of one’s brain. These changes affect your body and mind, which in turn improves your chances for survival!
Connection, Hope and Confidence
When we feel awe and wonder, we are experiencing something vastly larger than ourselves. This experience gives us a sense of connection to the powers that create this astonishing universe. In turn, this sense of connection offers a sense of confidence in the power of creative possibility. Awe and Wonder give us confidence that the future will be even better than the past.
It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”Elon Musk
Vision for Flourishing Future
Natural selection favors people who have a vision to create a better life. Awe and Wonder open people to new visions for what is possible. This feeling helps us transcend our limiting beliefs and everyday fears. By transcending limiting beliefs, we begin to imagine solutions that once seemed impossible.
Awe and wonder inspire profound curiosity: How did this happen? What else is possible? Curiosity powerfully motivates people to learn, grow, and solve problems.
Purpose and Creativity
When one feels connected to something bigger than themselves through the sense of Awe and Wonder, one feels a greater sense of purpose. A sense of vast possibility stimulates creativity. This vast sense of Awe and Wonder of Evolution’s Arc has inspired the purpose and creativity of some of today’s most successful and generous people, including Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. Inspired by the Awe and Wonder of our vast evolutionary journey, Musk and Bezos are building companies to continue our epic journey into space. Elon Musk has created SpaceX with a vision for us to become a space-faring civilization. Jeff Besos’ Blue Origin is dedicated to the promise of space exploration for all. And Bill Gates is so inspired with the Awe and Wonder of the Epic of Evolution that he gave a grant to the Big History Association to promote the study and teaching of Big History to all.
Awe and Wonder Inspire Generosity
People with a sense of Awe and Wonder have an expanded sense of what is possible and let go of limiting beliefs. As a result, they are more generous with others. Awe and Wonder remind them that abundance is available to all.
The Healing Power of Awe and Wonder
Feeling awe and wonder helps your mind relax and your body heal. These feelings activate the “rest and digest” part of our autonomic nervous system. Awe and wonder are antidotes to the “fight or flight system” which releases cortisol into our blood. Cortisol is great for helping us run away from tigers, but it is a powerful immune suppressant. When our immune systems are suppressed, our bodies are less effective at fighting infections and repairing injuries.
Awe and Wonder Move Us
The sense of Awe and Wonder is a powerful emotion that gets us out of our heads and onto our feet. Awe and Wonder MOVE us to protect the things we love, like our families, our communities, nature, and other highest values.
Researching Awe and Wonder
For thousands of years, people have felt awe and wonder. Religious ceremonies activate the sense of Awe and Wonder during festivals and celebrations.
Today, scientists are turning their research toward gaining a deeper understanding of Awe and Wonder.
The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. ~ Eden Phillpotts
If you are not celebrating in Awe and Wonder for the magnificence of existence, then you are not paying attention.
Have you ever had the sense of awe and wonder, but then chastised yourself for feeling something impractical and irrelevant? With all the pain and suffering in the world, why pay any attention to Awe and Wonder? Isn’t this feeling a distraction that prevents us from putting our attention on survival and overcoming challenges like climate change, ending disease, combating social injustice, and helping the poor?
There is a bumper sticker that reads “If you are not appalled, then you have not been paying attention.” This is a reminder that even if we might be feeling good, there are other people who are suffering. While it is important to be mindful of the needs of others, it is also essential to not become overwhelmed with feelings of fear. The best way to transcend feelings of fear is to invite in Awe and Wonder.