View Full Version : What do we do with awe?

September 30th, 2008, 04:35 PM
I'm springboarding off of Poledra's thread on getting awe back into our lives (http://mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=201597), because I don't want to derail it.

I just finished reading Cosmos, and I am suffused to the breaking point wiht awe and wonder and reverence. The question now...what do I do with it? I am grateful to be alive to witness this amazing world and the Universe in which it spins, but I itch to do more than witness. I want to participate to the full extent possible for my feeble brain and flimsy body.

Is my answer in history: should I read up on Huygens and the Library at Alexandria and all the other past giants Sagan talks about? Is it in science: should I study chemistry and biology and astronomy, building on the past to carry us into the future? Or is it enough to step outside some starry night, or into some tree-shadowed glen, and just be?

Heart of All
September 30th, 2008, 10:09 PM
As you can probably guess from the dance piece I'm making about the universe, I turn my awe into creation. I mean, sometimes I'll get really excited about something and just keep reading, but I find that creating things out of it helps me sort through it and understand my own feelings and what they mean and what my take on the awe-inspiring thing is.

Sometimes it's just a short little minute-long thing in my dance composition class, and sometimes if it's really exciting (like The Universe Story this semester or dreams last semester), I turn it into a complete work of art, and give myself a few months to work it out.

When I don't want to make anything out of it, though, I usually go on a walk.

October 1st, 2008, 04:05 AM
I find that awe makes me more aware. I am trying to get back into things because it makes me appreciate everything in life and just makes me a happier person. I also find that I am inspired to do different things at different times in order to expand and continue that feeling, so if you want to look into history, go for it! Chemistry, biology, whatever!


October 2nd, 2008, 04:37 AM
I don't think that it matters what you do as long as you do something!

I was wandering down the street on my way from the dentists (clean bill of dental health there) to the doctor's to drop in a request for a repeat prescription - a necessity but that's life - and then onto the pharmacist's to collect the remainder of the previous prescription that was only part-filled.

It was cold and the sky was changing rapidly and a shower of rain started. I marvelled at the way the clouds moved, billowing up on each other and then spears of sunlight broke through the chinks even as the rain fell. Everyone else had their heads down but I was looking upwards and saw the beauty and I smiled!

It felt good to smile. It felt good to be aware of the miracle of the changing weather. It felt good to take a moment, step back and appreciate the fact that I was alive and aware of things around me.

When I walked into the pharmacist's, leaning heavilly on my walking stick, I was still smiling and the people who served me responded with smiles of their own. I'd like to think that it was because I had responded to my own moment of awe and passed it on in a very simple but positive way.


October 2nd, 2008, 06:05 AM
TygerTyger, I think that's the most profound thing I have heard in a long time. Passing on the satisfaction, comfort, and pleasure our spirituality gives us simply and without explanation is something I think I will aspire to from now on. It doesn't matter if people understand why I feel so good, or why that simple pleasure is contagious - as long as I pass it on!

Windsmith, I am going to admit my ignorance and say that I've never heard of Cosmos! Why has this inspired you so much, and would you recommend it to a friend (ie me)?


October 2nd, 2008, 06:55 AM
Hey glad to see you made it back from Turkey okay Poledra, hope you had as good a time as I did - although we were there for obviosuly different reasons!

I think truly profound things are the simplest. I did not think of it as profound, either at the time I smiled or when I typed it up, although it did make me smile again to recollect it. I suppose that it is a matter of perspective, which brings me to another point!

I read this thread earlier in the week:


I found this quite inspirational, despite the irony concerning the author.

So much is a question of how we choose to see it. Whilst out walking yesterday I tried the exercise of trying to see things differently, looking for the positive in even the most negative of circumstances. You have to work at it though as it doesn't rob other people of their annoying qualities nor does it make cold rain anymore comfortable!

October 2nd, 2008, 04:17 PM
Windsmith, I am going to admit my ignorance and say that I've never heard of Cosmos! Why has this inspired you so much, and would you recommend it to a friend (ie me)?

PoledraCosmos: A Personal Voyage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos:_A_Personal_Voyage) was originally a 13-part TV series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Carl Sagan as narrator/instructor. As the series was being written and filmed, Sagan also wrote a companion book. They are the same in all major areas, but the particulars are different enough to be extra fascinating. Plus, a 300-page book fits in ones pocket far better than does a 13-part TV series! The book also contains one of my favorite quotes ever, which is not in the series: "If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."

Many naturalistic/scientific Pantheists look at Sagan as a sort of early figure in the movement, though I think he might be aghast at that. But reading Cosmos, it's easy to understand why: he viewed the world and the universe in which it spins with an awe and wonder that feels quite religious, and that great love is evident in every word he writes.

After reading this amazing book (and, yes, Poledra-friend, I definitely recommend it to you!), I'm thinking of something a friend said once: "You don't lose weight by talking about diet and exercise. You have to do it." I love coming here and talking shop with y'all, but I also need direct ways of honoring this amazing Cosmos we live in. That's what reading this book is pushing me to find: the direct route.