Finding Wonder

I think a lot, about the difference between apathy and contagious ecstasy. About the difference between being in unaffected emotionally by loved ones, and the first moments of being reunited with an old friend after a long trip. About the difference between a heavy boredom that weighs one down to the point of sleep, and those moments when one can simply look at a tree and exclaim “What a nice tree!”

As humans, we create mental habits and after we fall into a comfort zone we rarely attempt to escape that comfort zone. What then happens is a process known as hedonic adaptation where humans often fall back into old routines even though the need for change may be great. Philosopher and poet Jason Silva explains “We have eyes that see not, ears that hear not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand.”

Depression, boredom, and apathy are the deplorable words we use to describe an even worse existence. The question is; how do we shape our lives in such a way as to escape apathy and into experiences of passion, wonder, and ecstasy?

Erase mental habits and experience something new. To scramble the self temporarily so that new thoughts can invade the brain. When the mind is confronted by something of immense power (thunderstorms, charismatic leader, moral virtue or beauty) we place ourselves in a perspective compared to said object and are humbled in comparison.

There is a biological advantage to being awestruck. It drives us to new heights in order to attain this sort of ecstasy. A study done at Stanford explained that persons who more frequently experience awe believe themselves to have more time and thus are less rushed in their daily lives. These people have less stress and greater satisfaction in life on the whole. They are also more driven as they find greater purpose in their lives that in continually redefined during moments of passion.

So find these experiences of such perceptual vastness that our mental operating systems are forced into expanding their models of the universe. In these moments we make the brain upgrades by refiguring what was once thought possible, and by opening up our thoughts to new possibilities.

This is what it’s all about and the great part about it is that it’s everywhere. A deep connection with a friend, a good and close look at a bumble bee, or a shirtless rampage through a thunderstorm. Whatever it takes, get there; its worth it I guarantee.

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