Monday, November 9, 2009

The Recovery of Wonder

As a child, I remember feeling wonder at all kinds of things: thunder, insects, a new toy, lightning, Christmas, chocolate. Children have a great capacity for wonder. Yet, as we grow into adulthood wonder diminishes.

I wonder (no pun intended) why? Maybe as our capacity for rational thinking increases, wonder decreases. Or, perhaps everything becomes so familiar and routine, we lose our ability to be surprised. "Been there, done that" kills wonder.

However, our capacity for wonder doesn't die. It becomes dormant and can be reawakened with practice. For instance, this morning I saw a glorious sunrise over Long Island Sound and felt wonder. The sky turned a deep red just before the sun peaked over the horizon and the sun itself was even redder. One of my fellow rowers commented, "This looks unreal."

Seeing our world through eyes of wonder and delight involves appreciating the beauty that surrounds us. At the heart of wonder is gratitude. When we are thankful for the daily gifts that surround us, we are more likely to experience wonder.

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