Awestruck!  Is the Fast Track to Happiness and Meaning- (Dacher Keltner)

Douglas Cardinal, architect of the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa Canada and Walter Janvier, mural painting on the ceiling of the museum are my favorite Indigenous artist who inspire awe with their work!

As an Indigenous person I am gifted vibrant oral stories passed down for generations and our traditional ecological knowledge. We are intrinsically part of ecosystems and connected to, animals, people, and nature.

Seeing sunrise and the sunset brings awe. Walking in nature brings awe. Why not listen to music while walking in nature? Music and nature equal HAPPINESS.

What does it mean to be awestruck? Do you actively cultivate awe in your life?

   Dacher Keltner A professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. His book is AWE: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and how it can transform your life. The following is from his new book.

 He makes a bold statement at the beginning of his book; Awe is an emotion. He recommend a look at the map of emotional intelligence, think about the images that make us feel. They tend to be astounding and trippy. Tall trees, storm clouds the images in part that makes us feel beauty. Pretty faces Renoir like scenes in paintings they’re different. The Physiology of the vagus nerve is understanding the body and neurophysiology. When we are awestruck, there is a physical reaction.

The Physiology of the emotion people tell us what it’s like to feel awe they would say I was at this festival of Guadalupe in Mexico City, or I saw the Grand Canyon and it blew my mind.

This emerged in mammalian, in evolution to help us connect and be open to other people and it’s correlated with feeling open to others empathy kindness and in studies when we see incredible imagery of nature people have elevated vagal tone and that’s really good news for how you function in the world.  

The tears are coming out of the lacrimal gland behind your cornea it’s again part of  social kindness-oriented regions of your nervous system the parasympathetic branch and you tear up when we see young people perform on stage, or you’re walking through the streets of the city and see somebody help another stranger we tear up at these moments of people being communal and kind and the goosebumps are amazing. The rushes of goosebumps up the back of your neck and your arms when you’re emotionally touched, or in other words awestruck.

  1. Warm sensation in the chest- the vagus nerve is the largest bundle of nerves in the mammalian nervous system really complicated starts at the top of your spinal cord wanders through your chest influences breathing, and heart rate.
  2. Tearing up
  3. Goosebumps those are little muscles around your hair follicles they contract, and they tend to signal in the mammalian world like it’s time to be together and a face mystery together there a sign of togetherness and leaning into each other.

I ask the question for each of us when we feel these deep experiences How do we interpret it?   For some people it’s about divinity and it’s God it’s I have a soul.

I personally I like Wilson, the evolutionary biologist he’s like isn’t it incredible that evolution working for billions of years billions of adaptations natural selection produce nature and ecosystems that can appreciate.  Niagara Falls, Sand Dunes, it blows my mind I feel it’s a very personal and complicated question but one reflecting on.

  1. Mysterious connect to one another gives us purpose and meaning
  2. Moral Beauty, courage kindness,
  3. Nature
  4. Music – synchronise- brains Concerts draw us together as we listen to music.
  5. Visual Design, pottery, patterns give us Awe
  6. Stories of awe must be self-discovered
  7. Stories of life and death, mystical discovery instil awe.
  • Epiphanies

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