How to live in awe

Revitalize your sense of wonder in the world.

live in awe

Have you ever looked up on a clear night sky at the vast array of stars and contemplated the immensity of the Universe?

Or sat on top of a mountain looking down on the beautiful landscape and wondered how many millions of years it took to create?

Have you ever had a spiritual experience of a sunset and the signficance of another day over in the finite number we all have?

Or wondered how our planet Earth is positioned exactly in the correct place near the Sun to harbour life? Any further away and there would be a snow sheet around it.

Have you ever looked on in admiration as your fellow human performs a feat of greatness pushing mind and body to its limits?

Or what about you?

That you’re alive today against impossible odds to be living right here and right now is a miracle in itself.

You beat the trillions-to-one odds to become a successful product of millions of years of evolution.

How your body, with its complex array of bones, tissue, organs and systems is so perfect that it is truly a feat of natural engineering.

Or your brain, the most complex object we’ve found in the Universe, continues to remain a mystery to ourselves in how it functions.

How it creates thoughts and consciousness and interprets sights and sounds. How it automatically controls your breathing and heart rate that we don’t have to think about it.

These are my definitions of awe and, to me, they’re the most powerful ways to think.

Living in awe allows you to rise above the petty to a higher consciousness.

I have a friend who loves animals. If we’re out together she’s the first to notice the dog walking with its owner, the squirrel hiding behind the tree or the swans gliding along the lake.

Whatever the animal, she usually goes all giddy with child-like giggles of glee at the sight of it.

A comment usually follows on a particular characteristic like how floppy its ears are or how tiny it is.

It’s one of the things I like about her. Despite seeing dogs, squirrels and swans many times she still retains that sense of wonder about them.

She still looks with a kind of awe at, to her at least, their cuteness.

To live in awe is to contemplate our existence.

As people age, they tend to lose their sense of awe in the world and in themselves.

They got bogged down by modern life and become too concerned with rising up the socioeconomic ladder.

Our sense of awe disappears as we become adults. As children, we tend to live in awe as everything is new and fascinating. The term ‘childlike wonder’ exists for a reason.

It’s no one’s fault but a byproduct of living in a modern productive society. This is the man-made world and while it can be tough there has never been a better and safer time to be alive than now.

In our man-made world, however, everything is known and accounted for. It’s fact-based.

The natural world, on the other hand, is full of unanswered questions, some of which we will never have the answers to. 

How did we get here? Why are we here? What was here before us? Where does the Universe end?

We think we are evolved but in reality our senses and intelligence are still at a primal level.

Our generation thinks it knows everything much like the generations before us.

In reality, we don’t know as much as we like to think we do and instead we make incremental steps from generation to generation.

To live in awe, you need to revitalise your sense of wonder in the world. Realise that we know very little about life and why we’re here.

You can draw on awe during times when life is tough or mundane, using it to bring you to a higher sense of self and consciousness.

Living in awe can remove you from the petty and trivial, allowing you to focus on what truly matters.

Living in awe is about blending science with spirituality.

Much of what we do and don’t know about ourselves, the world around us and the wider Universe is provided by science.

It’s usually assumed that if you believe in science you can’t be spiritual which is nonsense.

Living in awe is as much about knowing something than it is about not knowing. Science provides us with answers, some of which can instil a sense of awe in you.

The carbon, nitrogen and oxygen inside you? That came from an exploding star billions of years ago. How can you not be amazed at such a fact?

Listen to a biologist talk about how the human body works or you yourself learn the key concepts of biology and you’ll realise what a miracle you actually are.

There are lots of awe-inspiring truths and mysteries to learn to bring awe to your life. Carl Sagan once said, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known” and he was right.

Maybe it’s time find it out.

Written by Ste Davies

Ste ‘Stephen’ Davies is a freelance digital consultant, traveller, writer, podcaster and speaker based in London, UK. You can reach him here or follow him on Twitter below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

float tank

A guide to floating. Sensory deprivation to reduce stress and calm the mind

sapiens review

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari book review