Awe and Wonder 101

Posted on November 22nd, 2013 (1 Comments)

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Rather than puzzling why it has taken me ten months (?!) to write another blog entry, I'm just going to go stream of consciousness here and be satisfied that I've finally gotten around to something that's been on my to-do list for way too long.

I've been thinking a lot about the absolute necessity of my experiencing awe and wonder on a daily basis. With all the practical details of life that require our attention -- our homes, our work, our health, our relationships, our dependents (in my case, my old cat) -- what always, ALWAYS makes any and all of it worthwhile for me is tuning into the magic that is the very fabric of Life.

Even as a child, when I was emotionally upset about something, taking in something via my senses and wordlessly appreciating the essence of it made me feel, in a word, blissy. Tears of anger or sadness would turns into tears of sweet, soothing joy.

Bliss. Now there's a word (and its variants "blissed out" and "blissy") that's gotten a bad rap via every caricature in the book that has mocked anything involving hippies and spirituality, particular Eastern or "New Age" spirituality.

By virtue of my own particular brain chemistry and wiring, I've never needed LSD, magic mushrooms, or any other altered-state-inducing substance to experience that which mystics have tried to write about, even as the words fall short of their goal of painting a picture of the bliss of viscerally experiencing one's connection to All.

Well, this mystic is going to give it another go for the home team.

When I simply allow myself to take in, truly take in, for example, a sunset, a leaf in all its detail, my own human body in all its wondrous complexity, my own life with its myriad experiences, or the night sky, something in my perception (and brain) shifts profoundly. The act of consciously contemplating ANYTHING from the vantage point of awe and wonder causes an instantaneous expansion of whatever I perceive my "self" to be. I begin to experience my "self" as a part of everything and everyone around me, seen and unseen, past, present, and future.

The part of me that daily struggles with the practical aspects of time and space management -- hell, call it "life management" -- gives way to that part of me, the self-aware part of the larger Whole, that always perceives everything through the lens of awe, wonder, love, appreciation. I can feel my neurochemicals light up faster than seems possible -- often in a matter of a few seconds -- and my ADD brain gets the surge of dopamine it needs to focus and have fun attending to that ever-present to-do list.

Ironic, isn't it, how consciously putting on the lens of awe and wonder aka bliss (not to be confused with the oft-condemned rose-colored glasses), that reviled-by-realists, hippy-dippy, woo-woo thing called bliss, can actually prime the brain for creative problem-solving and getting things done? And the irrefutable, neuroscientific evidence of the plasticity of the brain means that even the die-hard pragmatists and "realists" among the population have the capacity to get their brains to light up in similar blissy fashion, if they so choose.

Try it. You'll like it.

Readers' Comments on This Blog Entry

From Wendy on November 22nd, 2013
"Hurray! What a great blog post The fight against negativity is on!"
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