Updated: Dec 6, 2021
We all experience fleeting feelings of wonder and awe from time to time by looking over a sunset or a beautiful expansive view. It's an amazing feeling which I think is a necessary ingredient to a fulfilling life. I believe that by inviting wonder in, by actively going to look for it, we can experience mindfulness, making wonder a more frequent part of our lives.
I was in my first year of uni and for a project we had to make a book based on a theme. My theme (chosen at random) was ‘space’. I was stuck for ideas at first so I went to my local museum to see the tiny exhibit about the solar system which was completely uninspiring apart from sparking memories of visiting there as a child. To try and find some inspiration and do some research on outer space, I got as close as I could by looking at the night sky. I didn’t return with much other than observational drawings of constellations and a feeling of wonder. I was filled with awe thinking about how large the universe is, how small I am as a part of it, and how we even exist at all.
My ‘space’ project then led me away from outer space to exploring outside spaces. I walked up a big hill near where I lived to investigate the outside spaces around me. Since I was documenting my experience by drawing and making notes, my aim was to deeply engage with the space around me. I connected with my senses to take in as much as possible. I listened carefully, felt the wind on my skin, and looked across the view of the valley to first experience, and then draw what I could see. So much of my attention was connected to the environment around me that it left no room for thoughts in my mind. There was only space. I felt a feeling of wonder and awe from the beauty I was experiencing and it had relieved my busy stream of thought. This was a new feeling and without knowing it had been my first experience of mindfulness.
I went looking for wonder more often after I completed that project and continued to find space in my mind between the thoughts. You can go looking for wonder, you can invite it in through engaging your senses in the space which surrounds you. I believe wonder is a doorway to being present in the moment, which is a form of meditation, something which I've found to be transformational.