119. Awe Effect: 6 Tools to Ignite the Power of Awe
Speaker 1 00:00
It's sort of that Paradox, whereby understanding how vast everything outside of us, is we begin to appreciate how vast everything that we are is Brought them to spiritually hungry. How's your weekend? Awesome less. Mmm, Today we're going to talk about a feeling that doesn't come up very often yet it's one of my favorites. Have you ever been struck speechless so overwhelmed that you almost couldn't process what you were seeing? I love those moments I wish they happened every day. Okay, that's right. Perhaps you were in the presence of great art at the uffizi step through the doors of a mighty soaring Cathedral pure down on the whole of Manhattan. From the top of the Empire State Building. Although I would argue some people wouldn't think that was so inspiring or stood in The shade of an immense Sequoia tree, it transcended. Everything else going on in your life, you felt small, and its presence. But in a way that also made you feel part of something bigger, that's the feeling of awe and in case you haven't figured it out yet, that is our topic for today. So what is off or as our youngest Abigail last night when I was looking over my notes and think about what I want to talk about today, she's reading over my shoulder, and she said, what is Ali? I thought that was really cute in nature and selected essays Ralph Waldo. Emerson described his experience of all like this. Standing on the bare ground. My head bathed by the Blythe are and uplifted into Infinite Space. All mean, egotism vanishes. I am nothing. I see all the currents of the universal being circulated. Through me. I am part or parcel of God, odd transcends the moment in a transcends. The self. It could be inspired by the greatest of man's achievements. In architect art and philosophy and just as easily inspired by the common or the mundane. Every single one of us is a baby. B, I bet we inspired awe and our parents and families. We did the changing of seasons in nature. Are a common inspiration of awe. And have you ever went to bed in the summer? And awoke to a crisp autumn morning Oz inspired by vastness. But also by small things that remind us of the vastness of our surroundings, the foundation of Oz that it integrates the self into larger forces, connecting to us, some to something greater instead of making us feel. Insignificant, it makes us feel connected. Such a big words, too short and I think it's time pack it. Yes. And the reason I think it's important to speak about this and to think about it is that well, many reasons, but modern science has found that it is amongst the most powerful emotions for wellbeing there is a new book. Relatively new book out called, aw, bye-bye a psychology Professor. His name is Or Keltner and I think, hizmet Sprouts dagger. But I said Docker, okay, just your New York accent. His definition of awe is, is what to write on darker, darker being in the presence of something, vast, that transcends, your understanding of the world. And I think that again, but more Citing then the general, I think everybody who thinks about it. Oh but I would love to have an awe moment but the fact that science has of all the emotions that we feel it is maybe the most important one. Well, it's interesting because if you look, I love looking at the origins of words because they change over time, their meaning become something else entirely. She don't want to go off on a tangent but the word disability, right? What it means today, I don't think that's what it meant when it was created so long ago, which is why I don't Define, you know, when I talk about Abigail has dyslexia, I don't use that word. Even though, her school is really hell-bent on calling it that I am like, well, the word has a different meaning. So if you think about aw, I think that it really was synonymous with fear when it first came about and I think that only changed in 1685 and if you look at the in a dictionary.com it's defines Oz a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder goes interesting, right? Merriam-Webster's describes it defines it, as an emotion, variously combined with Dread veneration and a wonder that is inspired by Authority or by the sacred, or Sublime. And I think with religion a lot of the time, right? It has this meaning, but I think today and for the purpose of our conversation, it's really something that again makes you feel connected to something greater than yourself in a very positive way, right? And I think that actually it's a misunderstanding of the original. Well, it's alright. It says that you're supposed it says Ali, the fear of God, which is called the beginning, the beginning of wisdom. Well, again, the word fear is, if I think a mistranslation, the word. Aw, is the one that should be used in, its proper understanding. So, the definition in that regard should have all along this sense of awe of what is greater than us, one of the foundational teachings that Moses gave before he left his physical world. He says, the only thing that is asked of you Is to have aw. Now again historically some people translated that as fear, fear and fear of God, but I think in the deepest sense, what was always meant, is this sense of all that takes us outside of ourselves of our physicality asset of our physicality of our ego, to a connection to a much greater reality. And towards that I think there's a lot of both the scientific backing to this and I would like to share just a little bit about what The scientific process of the psychological process. Then insert that is now clear by science that one goes through. Well, there was a biological yes, reaction to do want to start with that. You want to go in right away? Well biologically, which I think is interesting because so much of the diseases today. I mean, even flew, right? Why is it so dangerous for people? It's the inflammation that causes in the body. A lot of inflammation wreaks havoc in so many different ways. Terms of disease and sickness. So actually reduces our immune systems, inflammation, response, and strengthens our bodies. I thought that was pretty fascinating. It activates the vagal nerves clusters of neurons in the spinal cord that regulate a lot of important bodily functions. It slows our heart rate, it relieves digestion. It deepens our breathing and it's funny when you think like oh for the digestion, I take this probiotic for deep breathing, I meditate for all these things, right? We're going to Great Lengths, maybe some great, some Mahler to alleviate these symptoms but uh seems like a great magic cure and it's also been shown to calm down our nervous system triggering the release of oxy of oxytocin the love hormone that promotes trust. And bonding another thing talking about Docker, he found that people experiencing ah, sign their names smaller than interesting and when promoted to write about their strengths, right far, fewer than people who weren't experiencing aw, So it's not surprising as humbling as well, right? And I think it's maybe it's most powerful effect. So Aldous Huxley writes about all, he says that it is the what it does and this is also again science finds us to be true it diminishes the self-critic that critical voice that we have in our head. So he in his words it which I thought was a really cute, really cute, but powerful quote. So the sense of awe and every time We experience it. It diminishes, the interfering neurotic who in waking hours tries to run the show. And the reason again, why you think it's so important and why if you go back to the ancient spiritual texts, this is seen as the Cornerstone of life, is because what it does, is it takes us outside of the body and one of the self the sense of self gets smaller the self in terms of ego, right? But which includes the body ego, one of the things I often think about? And again, this is borne out in so many of the ancient spiritual writings is that if you asked, even those of us who are spiritually awakened, if you ask somebody who, what are you There's always the sense that this physical body that I inhabit is me. And oh, by the way, it also has a soul. Oh, by the way, it also has a mind, right? But that is so limiting and false. One of the most important purposes of Life of spiritual study is to transcend the limitations of the body of the ego. And I don't know that there's a more powerful tool that we must use, then pushing ourselves to experience that sense of organ which means to experience the vastness of what is. And therefore you take that internally to understand the vastness of what I am a part of that's why again in the studies lifetime come from. You know what? I am. What I am. Okay, I have defined that for people whose when you say what, I am that, the I know what you mean, but I don't think that we often go to, I am much well in the simplest. I much greater than what I am presenting. Much greater than this, when I am right. But this body. That's what people usually understand as themselves. Exactly, which is so silly, right? Because obviously before we were born, the body was not involved after a person dies. Then the bodies of the ground. The body is no longer involved too. Confine our view of ourselves to the body is silly, but we do it all the time and or to the ego, and we do it all the time. And therefore, I think the most important process that all allows us to do to go through is to transcend the confines of the body in the ego. And yes, there is a humility that comes with that and is sort of diminishment of the ego-self but You then gained a much more expansive view of yourself, you transcend, the body. And therefore you are much greater than you previously thought of yourself. Write your tap into those true parts of you. And therefore what you do in the world is quite different but if you actually want to really want to underscore the details that you need to unpack, I mean we know this, I just wonder you know you very quickly. Brushed over that okay. We have the sole first, we don't have it, but then we have a body then we leave we don't have a body again, I think you to unpack that just a little bit for listeners may be who aren't so familiar with reincarnation or The levels of Soul or where the soul Journeys. As I have talked about it, a bit from understanding about death in a way that I hadn't before, once I saw my father and your mother leave this world physically, I saw them actually, at the moment of death and becomes quite clear that there was something vacating the body, right. And that the soul goes on. I saw what I had studied, but I think for many people write and so for me, death wasn't as painful because I saw the soul when it left the body as going to its next level of elevation, which it can't do while it's still in the body. But I think just adding a little bit here would be how well, yes, I mean, I think it's worth doing that but I would say that I think most of us again, unfortunately, maybe we don't spend enough time thinking about it and meditating upon this truth, regardless of our beliefs about reincarnation regardless, No, I wouldn't say because her beliefs about soul but that, we are much greater than what the physical body holds that what we take, as being our whole life. And what we take is being so important. And serious is a small part of the Soul's Journey, right? The one that we can, we know, we don't remember before. And after also why we're here, so it makes it hard to stay in that state of or connect to that. Of us. I would true. I completely agree with everything. You said, I would take anymore practical view to say that, even if a person is not spiritual would be silly to think of themselves as the confines of their body. For instance, somebody who creates art right, clearly their effect, which means them their energy, their creation transcends their body, right? My It is not limited to the four feet that I occupy sitting here. So philosophically in truth clearly we are much more than the confines of the body. Yes. I we can go deeper into the spiritual, we can go deeper into Souls. We can go deeper into reincarnation. You don't want to do that though. No no my point is I think sometimes, you know it might have the Danger %. Well, I am not sure if I am spiritual. I am not sure if I believe in reincarnation, but what I am saying is, I often like to go to the, to the most clear truth, right? Even in this physical world, it would be silly for an individual to think that they are the confines of their body. Maybe just the fact that I can create things, I can share things, I can do things that are far beyond the confines of this body. Therefore, even just simply philosophically clearly, I am greater than my body. I think we have to take this step further and my soul, my energy, my light, whatever word you want to call your true. Essence, is clearly so far beyond. And, and again, I would of course agree that with a greater understanding of reincarnation, but the greater understanding of our soul that expands even further. But for example, what I thought, but I found very inspiring is that Jane Goodall came to the conclusion, conclusion, That the chimpanzee feel all and have a sense of spirituality grounded in a capacity of being amazed at things, outside yourself. Interesting, how did you come to that, conclusion? I obviously, by observing them for years upon years. So now, now, call it spirituality, call, it just being amazed, right? So I don't think it's possible for anybody to argue Or to think again that there isn't great power in Trend sending the confines of the body even chimpanzees do it and it goes back to the ability to create moments of being amazed or using the word awe because what it does is its one of the few things, these whites again and I hope are doing a good enough job in really explaining to our listeners. Why this is not just another beautiful, beautiful interesting. However, you want to call it concept but it's probably one of the most important things that we must do. Which means fine moments of awe, in order to understand ourselves. And it's sort of that Paradox, whereby understanding a, how vast everything outside of us, is we begin to appreciate how vast and everything that we are is, well, when you recognize that out in the world and you see the Perfection of that moment, that feeling that inspiration then of course you go back to self, right? And you introspect say okay well that is possible. Then what am I meant to do? You know what is inside of me? That can be that expensive? I mean every time I am inspired by nature or even a song or something. I have studied I stop and say okay well you know how can I be more tapped into that frequency every day? And that's why the studies show that people who experience more moments of awe are more generous, they're more kind, and they have a sense of the there need to do more for the world. Well, I thought this was really interesting, Dr. Lisa Miller, she's a clinical psychologist in a New York Times bestseller. Her book is the awakened brain, and she states that the most profound epidemic of our time is the suicide rates of young adults as the rate now. Now Rivals the rate of death by auto accidents. And we have talked about suicide and the youth especially lately, and there's now researched conclusively showing how no single factor is more neuroprotective to the brain against depression than what she calls natural spirituality. And this virtuality involves a deep sense of awe, she conducted research in which her and her colleagues looked at structural MRIs viewing the architecture of the brain of people who sustained spiritual lives versus people with major depression and found those with sustained spiritual lives, have Broad and pervasive regions of cortical, thickness regions of perception reflection and orientation, there is an 87 percent overlap in these regions, being not thick, but thin with people with major depression. But I thought was really interesting, is that, in those people who were depressed, once they started to seek out spirituality. After a year, the symptoms decreased and their brain started to change, and she's explains that every human being is born with a natural neuro seat of transcendent awareness. We all have a spiritual brain and our spiritual nature can be realized through many paths, whether it's nature art music, religion, study. It's just up to us to tap into it. Well, if it's such an important point and I do want to underscore, what you just said, does he want? Think about that? Like, oh, that person's naturally? Be connected to art, or spirituality or nature and you know, that person's just depressed. We can reverse many things and that may be the most important purpose of spirituality /. Those who go down a religious path is an Awakening on a regular basis, a sense of awe, and therefore, I would challenge all of our listeners, especially See those of our listeners that view themselves as spiritual, especially those of our listeners who might be themselves as religious. I asked how many times you feel? Ah, exactly. In a day hopefully a day or maybe a week, maybe a month. And if not, I would say there's something deeply wrong, again, this isn't something one. Should be asking themselves and looking inside because The wrote and this is again, something discussed in many ways and many of the writings of the great spiritual teachers that the wrote following of any rule practice often, not only not does not have the positive benefit can actually have a detrimental effect. And if you switch your view of the purpose of your life, your spiritual life. You're if you're under it. This path, you religious life. To increasing your sense of awe. Then that has to be the test. Not have I done these things. Did I pray. Did I meet it? Whatever those words are, but, am I feeling a greater sense of awe? And I would say very clearly that there's something wrong with our lives and wrong with our spiritual practice, if our experiencing of greater and greater moments of awe. Now, again, we can talk a little bit about That means, but it could be there's level any awesome but it has to be growing, right? I mean, you cannot call, I don't believe one can call themselves spiritual. If their experiences of awe do not increase. Do now I will share how I actually wanted to ask you to share with us in our listeners with myself, in our listeners. A moment of all that you recently experienced but for me over the last few weeks we spent time in English Countryside which is one of my favorite place to be B and I remember waking up every single morning and watching the sun rise over this beautiful Valley. And I was so appreciative of the fact that I was able to feel all every single morning and for me again not to sort of build myself up it for me, that's the test because many people I am sure see a sunrise and have no sense of awe at all many people. See ya birth of for sure. Many people see a birth or even a death, and don't have a sense of awe, I think this. And again, I hope we Inspire within our listeners, notice any, besides all the medical physical benefits. We spoke about before, and in the game that book. All bye. Bye, bye, Dr. Keltner Daktari, one of us is hanging right or wrong illustrates. Not only the physical benefits. The social benefits sociological benefits. But I would say more important than that, you begin to. Realize it is actually the entire purpose of life, certainly the purpose of our spiritual lives and that has to become the maybe one of the most foremost questions you ask yourself. What am I doing to experience all and again because what it does then there's so much that can and should be said about this. Is it actually put you in the right place? Well, stands your place in the world your vastness, the world's vastness and the proper perspective. Exactly, exactly. And what to pay attention to how to navigate through life. I mean, as you're talking about moments of, I started to think about many and there's some that have actually taken my breath away, right? And I wish I had those everyday guess that's my goal, because, and it's linked with appreciation, but it's more than that something like where we? When we started spending a lot of time and Connecticut initially, especially during the pandemic and I wake up in the morning and you know, half asleep trying to make the coffee Starting my day mornings are usually kind of methodical little rushed, but I kept getting distracted by the sky and the sun rise in to the point where like it literally took my breath away and I couldn't do anything else. I had to stand there until I felt like I could look away, you know, and it's those moments of course, giving birth to our children. You know, when you think that was created in your body and you hold them outside of your body for the first time, Words can't describe and I think that even, you know, my, my tendon healing. I imagined. And I have seen it through, Altra. Sound all the ways that the tissue and the ligaments and tendons have come together to grow again. And he will like, I am in awe of a body of my body and what we're able to do. So I think it's really about living life in that understanding of everything. Absolutely to maybe our listeners are now wondering. Well, great. How do I feel more odd day today? Dr. Keltner actually, suggest a few ways that we can cultivate more on our lives. So one is pay attention to all the details of life around you how they are connected to something greater right? Which we just spoke about focus on the moral Beauty and others and I really like the way that's raised, watch The Simple. Kindness humans show each other every day. Like helping an elderly person cross the street. We're letting a pregnant woman. Go ahead of you in the bathroom, take time to study the good work of people. You admire like, great kabbalists, stoics Gandhi. I think often were focusing on the wrongness in the world, and that person was rude, or that person was ugly. I did this in that. But let us try to seek out. Those moral Beauty moments. Three practice mindfulness. All has a lot of the same neurophysiology as deep contemplation, interest curiosity awakened. Aw, and when we're too distracted with We can't access all and that's really. I mean I have taken that note for sure in the last month. I think for me, the last six months I have been very distracted by the pull of so many urgent things that are necessary to take care of. You cannot exist for very long. In that state, you will not notice anything, beautiful. And for choose the unfamiliar path, often comes from novelty, essentially try new things and keep an openness to new things. And I think that's been a real formula for happiness in my life. Life. But also in our relationship that idea of newness and searching for that, right? And the idea to be clear with our listeners, although, like you said, there are those moments that take your breath away. But the Studies have shown that even these moments of walking by beautiful tree. Like you said what walking in a city street and seeing and focusing on, right? If you have to take the time to focus on somebody doing a positive action, And I think, for me, it all goes back to the understanding that without. And this is why Moses I believe said as one of his last teachings, this is the only thing you have to focus on. How are you Awakening? A sense of awe, in great ways and small ways on a consistent basis and you will find that the more you focus on having these moments on experiencing these moments, the easier it becomes for you to have them, right? Because As you might wonder right? Is it possible to be in a state of awe? Is it really human nature? Yes and no. Yes but first. No right we have to seek it. And Dr. Keltner actually challenge. The group of people that are 75 years of age and up to go on weekly all walks their directions were to seek out to be open to the experience of all what they found was that the participants who actively sought out moments of experienced more. Aw, and not just on their weekly walks, it became pervasive in every area of the Lives. So while our experiences of are relatively short-lived in the long-term experiences of I increase our capacity to experience more off frequently. Yeah. And actually, I think they are leads to Mara exactly. And again it's going back to the gives you the proper perspective. I live in proper perspective. So one of the studies and I don't remember off hand which one found that when people were experiencing in just in a regular nature. Walk for example they were experiencing more. Aw, they had them take pictures. And the more, they felt all those who were in the category of felt moral and their selfies, they were framing themselves, much smaller and showing nature bigger. So interest, whereas people who are feeling less often, had more of themselves in the picture than. So a teacher reminds me of the recent hike. We did in Hudson Valley, we are hardly in this, but we kept doing like we were in the corner, right? And we kept filming everything. We saw waterfalls and I think it was I don't know, maybe a reminder to experience it more, but it's just so beautiful. You had to stop and just film it. Absolutely. And I think again, this is why just to say it again, it's so important because otherwise, we lose sight of our place, and we lose sight of our vastness. So I would like to again, quote from Dr. Kalter. We believe in this is an article that he wrote The New York Times a number of years ago. We believe that odd deprivation which is a Same concept, but it's true. We are all of us to some degree or another are. Now, certainly, our society is living in a or deprivation, has had a hand in a broad. Societal shift has been widely observed over the past 50 years. People have become more individualistic, more self-focused, more materialistic, and less connected, to others, to reverse. This trend, we suggest that people insist on experiencing more every day awww to actively seek out. What gives them Goosebumps be it at in looking at trees night skies patterns of wind on water or the nobility of others, the young child who explores the world in a state of Wonder, the person who presses on Against All Odds. All of us will be better for it. And I think for all of us dish needs to become not just another nice to have in our spiritual work, but I would say it needs to become the Focus and the constant question, and we all know how to find it if we give the time and the space to find it. And if we don't we risk, having a false sense of ourselves, a false sense of our place in the world. And therefore when you don't have the right view of yourself at nor your place in this world, there's no way you're gonna wind up, accomplishing fulfilling what it is that your soul came into this world to accomplish It's probably of our listeners with this quote, by Rachel Carlson. She's the author of the sense of wonder if I had influence with the good Fairy Who supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world. Be a sense of wonder. So indestructible that it would last throughout life as an unfailing antidote, against the boredom and disenchantment of later years. The sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And I will share my final quote from Albert Einstein. He said he to whom this emotion is a stranger who could no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe is as good as dead. His eyes are closed and again. So he just always know that I say well he had a lot of time to wonder and be in awe. And I think, by the way, What? I hope we most Inspire within our listeners is the understanding of how desperately we need. Are not a nice to have that nice addition, but something that is essential, not only to our physical happiness to our emotional well-being, to our spiritual well-being, but most importantly, in order to be able to give us the right place within which we can accomplish the purpose for which also came into this world. So I would like to share A letter from one of our listeners and it's a good moment to remind all of our listeners to send your comments questions, notes stories to Monica and Michael at kabbalah.com/rh. I always inspired by reading them and I know when I hear back from our listeners that they are inspired by hearing your stories and what you have to share with all of us. Dear Monica, and Michael, I was especially impacted by this recent episode Monica, you brought up the She Life as a House, it brought back, some memories, my financial advisor, invited his clients to see this movie and a full screen movie house because he himself was sick and dying. And he wanted his client / friends to see it before he left this world, it was his favorite movie one. He had seen many times. This man was not your run-of-the-mill advisers. He was a good friend and went above and beyond the normal duties of such a role anyway. After the When we said goodbye to him, he had tears running down his face. I am getting chills, remembering and writing this. It was the last time I saw him, I spent many years living in the past and your podcast, reinforced, the need to stay in the present and look forward, which has been my mantra for a few years now. I am going to go back over the podcast to get all the points and will share with my friends. Thank you for your uplifting message. Thank you, Merlin for sharing that with us. Very beautiful. And again, a reminder The to all of our listeners to send your stories comments questions to Monica and Michael at kabbalah.com/rh us, inspires our listeners and is always, of course, go to Apple podcast and write five star reviews and sure the podcast with everybody know. So that more and more people to be inspired by these messages. Stay spiritually, hungry, and full of off.