From our Soul Matters partners
“This at least seems to me the main problem… How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it? …How can this world give us at once the fascination of a strange town and the comfort and honor of being our own town?”
– G.K. Chesterton
As physicists tell us, contemplation of the vast universe doesn’t make them feel smaller, it makes them realize the larger story of which they are a part. We are stardust, as they say. From the vastness we came and to it we will return again. In other words, to be a people of awe is not so much about feeling small; it’s about feeling connected.
And not just connected to the stars, but also to each other. Awe reduces our size in order to make room for something more than our personal needs, wants and worries. With our narcissism shrunk down to a reasonable proportion, it becomes possible to notice that we are not the only ones up there on the stage. It’s in this way that looking up into the cosmos allows us to look across at each other. And it’s a huge gift, because while being center stage and center of the universe can feel powerful, it’s also a very lonely place to stand.
New research is clear: Awe heals us! It’s like taking all of our pharmaceutical supplements, diets, daily gym visits, spiritual practices and life coaches and packaging them up in a single, perfect, cure-all pill. That’s right, a daily dose of awe increases health, happiness, humility, creativity and a sense of connection!
So we need to find other ways to get our daily dose of awe.
Here are some suggestions I found. You can also find these and more ways to connect with the theme of the month with my little one-sheet Monthly Messenger https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3Adac6bb9b-bb4d-4e35-b74b-56061025004c
Take an “awe excursion” in nature. See if you can find a place with a big skyscape or view of the landscape. Try to connect with the vastness of the place. (from mindful.org)
Spend some time outside after dark or at a window or be mindful of the sky as you drive at night. Lean into the thought that you could find a calm and peace in the dark night sky.
Whether you have children at home or not, if you have a Christmas tree at home, here is a blessing for the tree
Shine out ye lights of Christmas,
From hearth and tree and star!
And let the warmth of Christmas
Shed kindness near and far
And clang, ye bells of Christmas
Upon the frosty air!
And may the joy of Christmas spread gladness everywhere!
Finally, I hope you find a way to find awe in the traditions we have here at Albany UU, whether it’s our Blue Christmas service Dec 15; the Solstice service Sat, Dec 21; all the festivities on Dec 22 – the service with the pageant, enjoying the holiday music jam and caroling; or one of the Christmas Eve services. Whatever the holidays mean to you, I hope you find ways to connect with our UU community.
In joyful service,