“Looking at the Earth and the universe from the standpoint of awe, wonder and radical amazement at the grandeur and magnificent mystery of all being. That’s what the new bottom line is about.” ~ Rabbi Michael Lerner
Awe is a transformative emotion because it puts us face-to-face with mystery, conjuring up curiosity and a deep sense of aliveness. One of the biggest elicitors of awe is Nature. Its majesty humbles us, while at the same time reminding us of our role in the great web of existence.
In particular, lifting our gaze connects with the part of the brain associated with meditative and contemplative activity, through which we can “reach beyond the bounds of nearby time and space into the infinite and eternal,” as described by Colin Ellard.
Invitation for Practice
We don’t need to visit the Grand Canyon in order to feel awe. Recent research suggests that simply staring up at a tall tree might have a surprising impact.
- Sit or stand under the tallest tree in your neighborhood. If you find yourself in an environment without trees, you can engage in this practice by visualizing one.
- Look up its trunk and feel the grandeur of its architecture.
- Imagine the ecosystem of birds, insects, and organisms for which this tree is a home; visualize the sap carrying nutrients from the ground to the highest branches; envision the underground network of connections to nearby trees and plants.
- Rejoice in sharing the world with such luminous, generous, gentle giants.
- Vow to be an ally and advocate for their wellbeing.
- Let your reverent actions be your thanksgiving; your acts of service, your gift in return.
We invite you to share your reflections in the space below the author bio.
Fabiana Fondevila is a writer and teacher from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her latest book, “Where Wonder Lives: Practices for Cultivating the Sacred in Your Daily Life” was published in February 2021. Fabiana teaches online workshops and seminars on living a life of awe and radical aliveness. You can learn more about her offerings at FabianaFondevila.com. She is also a founding member of Vivir Agradecidos, our organizational partner in Argentina.
Image by Michael Bryant/Unsplash