Awe is always around Us

The Trees Vibrate lush green after the Rain

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

As an Indigenous person, a Dene. I am gifted vibrant oral stories passed down for generations and our traditional ecological knowledge, we are intrinsically part of ecosystems. The Importance of nature, trees, green space.

Seeing sunrise and the sunset brings awe. Walking in nature brings awe. I looked outside this morning as it was raining and the trees looked vibrant, that  for me was Awe.  And feeling awe brings me joy. 

   Dacher Kelter 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 f what I got from his book.

 He makes a bold statement at the beginning of his book; Awe is an emotion. He recommend a look at maps 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 or more kind of pleasing landscapes. 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 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.

  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’ stated 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 worth reflecting on.

My friend, Dr. Bastien  transition into the spirit world on Mat 8, 2023. She knew she was dying.  I asked her how she felt about dying. She  responds, each breath is a gift and when I take my last breath, I will whisper Thank You! That gave me goosebumps.   I experienced awe as my friend transition to the spirit world.  It is profound.   It is transcendence. We can find Awe in grief. She lived with courage and died in grace. 

Dr. Betty Bastien

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