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Awe

Creation is so much larger than we are usually willing to contemplate. It can take standing at the edge of Grand Canyon, or some equally immense site to help you understand how vast and how ancient this world is.

A favorite Sandra Boyton card showed a bear standing at the edge of a precipice saying something like: As I stand at the edge of the world, looking into the night sky, I am amazed at how small am I. (I’m sure it’s small and petty of me that what I loved about the card is that you opened it up and it said, “it’s amazing how small you can be.” I would never send the card. But I bought it and it sends me into gales of laughter every time I come across it!)

Sorry, back on track. It’s difficult to live in the vastness. And so we retreat. We can only observe the grandiosity and then have to back off to what we can comprehend. If you read Jill Bolte Taylor’s “My Stroke of Insight” or watch her TED talk, she talks about the wonder of her left brain’s shutting down and the right side, which connects with the universal expanding and expanding and expanding. She loved it, but understood that it was not real world.

Awe is in that universal place. And awe is in awful because we are not able to stay in that universal place. It is at once and the same time wonderful and terrible. Or maybe terrifying.  How can there be that much?

And so we retreat back to the mundane. But if we do not continually visit that place of inspiration, we miss at least half of all that makes life wonderful. And I don’t believe that in the face of that wonder, we can feel anything other than connected (by our insignificance). I can’t imagine that you can stand at the South Rim of the Canyon and think “I should own this. and you should not.” Instead you think “this is holy ground.”

So perhaps when we need to make peace, we should go to these sacred places, on our own or with those people with whom we have disagreements and allow the vastness to bring our petty squabbles into perspective. And then we should deal kindly with one another.