Cultivate Awe

Hubble Telescope "Cat's Eye" Nebula

Hubble Telescope “Cat’s Eye” Nebula

Are we becoming harder to impress? Harder to fall into states of awe?

I guess technology has the potential to do this to us. As we advance, the ‘awe’someness that once was becomes mundane. We carry computers/TV’s/cameras in our pockets, we’ve been to the moon, we’ve looked into the far reaches of space.

But should we be any less moved by life today than we have in the past? At its core, life is still a complete mystery and amazingly ‘awe’some.

As the great Walt Whitman once said:

“As for me, I know nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under the trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love,
Or sleep in bed at night with any one I love,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon…
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown,
Or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring…
What stranger miracles are there?”

Life is awesome and we need to treat each and every second as the miracle that it is. We live at an amazing point in history when the advancements seem exponential. Growth is speeding along, but we should not let this numb us to the awe.

In fact, it is in the best interest of our minds, our spirit, and our health to cultivate awe as much as we possibly can.

The title of a new Stanford study tells us all we need to know: Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being.

Apparently, watching awe-inspiring vidoes makes you

  • less impatient,
  • more willing to volunteer time to help others,
  • more likely to prefer experiences over material products,
  • more present in the here and now, and
  • happier overall.

We all need to cultivate awe, and to get us started, here’s a great video about “The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck” from Jason Silva.

I mentioned Jason in a post earlier this year. This dude is RAD. He is out there in such a great way. Will all of his ideas come true? Who cares? He’s making us think with his “shots of philosophic esspresso,” and the Dude digs. Keep on preaching Jason.