Fortunately, we have an everlasting supply of blissfully transformative power at our disposal any time we want it. (What? Legalizing pot you say? Not exactly, though before I read for him, I smudged a young man who had the most clear energy I’ve ever sensed from someone so young and vibrant. LOL He said he smudges with pot smoke regularly!)
“Awe,” you say, “Come on! Give me something practical.”
Well, you are right, of course. Awe, is one of the most “awe-inspiring” frontiers of scientific inquiry in recent years. It turns out that “the feeling of being in the presence of something vast and greater than the self, that exceeds current knowledge structures” actually transforms our lives and creates a positive ripple effect into our communities.
Want an energizing little coffee break? Check this out:
Awe, Wonder, and the Sublime
Up until 1757, the experience of Awe had always been cataloged as a religious experience. And, quite frankly, there might have been some theological turf wars concerning whose Awe was better than whose. This is human history over the past few millennia, but we could be in store for a much lighter, more mutually respectful, egalitarian age very soon.
In 1757, an Irish philosopher by the name of Edmund Burke published his treatise on aesthetics. He brilliantly liberated the ideas of Beauty and the Sublime from dusty religious tomes and democratized what we humans have known all along: that a sunset over the water can make our hearts swell and our knees go weak. Standing in the midst of enormous trees can overflow our senses in the most exquisite, never to be forgotten way.
Vastness, infinity, magnificence… they play on our nerves, activating even our fear of death. This, the sublime, transforms us. It upgrades our brains and enlarges our sense of being, our connection to “the knowing field,” as it is referred to in Constellation work. (For more, check out: theknowingfield.com)
For some light reading, we could check out A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, by Edmund Burke. But, simply speaking, I’ve never met anybody who didn’t come joyfully undone in the presence of profound beauty in nature.
Having served as a doula for mothers giving birth over the years, I can say that at the moment of birth, something miraculous charges the atmosphere.It’s as if time stands still, the veil opens, and becomes a part of you if you let it. Some of the best moments of my life have been nurturing a woman through childbirth. It’s been exquisite awe, wonder, and beauty of human spirit. Just last week I accompanied my daughter and son-in-law through the awe-inspiring, sublime experience of childbirth. An hour ago, I watched the sunset while cuddling my grand daughter. There are no words… heart overflowing.
“Let’s talk about this really fascinating family of experiences that really center upon feelings of beauty, the sense of the sacred, and then the experiences of awe. It’s this incredible landscape of human sentiment and emotion that have really been a focus for a long time in thinking about who we are but scientists have only attended to recently.”Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., Director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab
What experiences, landscapes, or items have induced feelings of awe in you?
Can you bring up the memory of somebody who has given you that feeling? How would you describe this “awe”some experience, not just physically but also emotionally? Did it inspire you to create or do something?
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