..., and if you don’t think so, then you might want to start thinking differently.
According to some of the latest scientific research*, awe is a fundamental part of being human—making our bodies and minds more receptive to new information, new experiences, and life’s deeper meaning. After all, it was Albert Einstein who said: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed.”
Awe affects the autonomic nervous system in such a way, that the activity of the sympathetic nervous system (fight-flight) AND the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and relaxation) are substantially reduced. The only other time that both of these systems’ effects are reduced to this degree, is just after sexual orgasm. Wow; who would have known? Awe also causes us to remember more precisely, whatever we perceived as being awesome.
But what’s even more relevant to me on my spiritual journey, is that it causes us to be more vigilant in how we perceive in the present moment. It seems to reduce our tendency to filter our current experience through what we think we already know. It “blows your mind” in the sense that it breaks free from old paradigms, opening the mind to perceptions and appreciation of beauty, novelty, intricacy, harmony and complexity. Simply put; it disarms us, allowing us to perceive the intensity of life more accurately, and become a part of the experience in the moment. And the result is that it helps us connect with the larger whole, with humility and gratitude. This clearly enriches our sense of meaning in life.
What’s the “moral” of this particular story? It is that instead of waiting for life to show its awesomeness to us, it behooves us to seek out and find the awesomeness in life. If–at first–we can’t find it, we can learn to help create it. If you are interested, I invite you to watch the video above to understand this story on a deeper level.