A few years ago i had a friend from New York visit me in my home city of Melbourne. Karen worked for a big music production company in the US, and one night she invited me to see a performance by Icelandic musician Olafur Arnalds. I did not often get the chance to see live music, so i keenly accepted the offer, picked Karen up from her Air B&B, and we made our way to the recital centre on a warm January night.
A mesmerizing combination of piano, string quartet and vocals moved me to my core. I had never heard music like this before. I felt a tingling sensation move through my entire body, like every cell in my body was coming alive. I felt an expansion of energy around my body. Time seemed to stand still. Quiet gentle tears escaped the corners of my eyes and made their way down my cheeks. This music spoke the language of my soul. For a brief moment in time i felt a profound connection to the human experience. I felt exquisite beauty and joy, as well as deep sadness and pain, all at the same time.
After the performance, we waited in the foyer to meet Olafur. Everything felt like slow motion, like i was in a dream. Karen asked me a question and i just stared blankly at her. I meant to reply, but my mouth did not move and no words came out. She looked at me a little weirdly and asked if i was ok. I couldn't speak! I was literally lost for words. She smiled at me, as if to sense that i was some place else.
Awe is commonly described as an "overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration and fear, produced by that which is grand, sublime and extremely powerful". It occurs when we are in the presence of something so much greater than ourselves.
When we experience Awe, we become illuminated. As new information floods our cognition, our mind is stretched beyond its previous capacity, and can never go back to its old dimensions. We are literally changed by the experience. Our bodies wake from slumber and we feel alive again.
Awe gives us fresh new eyes to see, inspires us to dream big and contemplate new possibilities in life. Awe transforms time spent with others into life changing moments that we will never forget. When we stand at the top of a mountain peak, our soul awakens and whispers its truth. Awe speaks a language that breaks through the mundane and reminds us that we are spiritual beings, connected to a greater whole.
Einstein once said:
"there are two ways to live: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle".
To live in Awe is to be mystified by life, to be grateful for existence, to feel each moment unfolding as a gift. Every breath that we take is another opportunity to be "in-spired", to re-connect, to transcend.
To live in Awe is to continually step into the unknown. Into the vast field of infinite possibility. Again and again and again. To expect the unexpected. We open ourselves to the loving embrace of universal intelligence. We take a risk. We do the thing that scares us, the thing we think we cannot do. We become a space for the extra-ordinary.
Article written by Rachel Berners, Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner & Cat Lover.