Principles of Everyday Wonder

“I can’t believe something so small can fly,” I said, pointing to the tiny bug flying by.

“What do you mean?” Jenna asked.

“It’s so amazing that a creature so tiny has the intelligence to eat, think, and power a body that flies. And to think how much bigger we are - how much more is going on inside of us,” I replied. We both sat in awe as another bug flew onto the picnic table where we were working.

I’m amazed by wonder’s power to transform ordinary things—like looking at a bug—into extraordinary wonders.

“What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror every morning?” I asked Adam.

“I see a whole, unified person, usually with bed hair and sleepy eyes,” he answered.

“Have you ever thought that you are really looking at a community of trillions of cells all working together?” I asked.

“No, I can’t say I have,” he replied.

“How would you feel if you knew that not a cell in your body lived ?” I continued.

“I would feel like I wasn’t actually here,” he answered. I agreed and we both laughed together.

I love how profoundly wonder shifts my perspective. It’s like a shortcut to meditation. I feel my mind slow, bringing stillness within. My awareness opens and I become aware of the magic within and around me. For a moment or two, I experienced life as a child does – as a beautiful dream I’ll never fully comprehend. In this moment I know peace.

There is an art to bringing wonder into your world. Below are two ways to do just that.

  1. Watch your mind. The normal state of adult consciousness is like a problem-solver, always looking for something new to chew on. During school or work this is a blessing, even a necessity, but you must use your mind responsibly. It’s easy to become possessed by the mind, and live in perpetual anxiety in a world full of problems to be solved. But life is so much more than a problem to be solved. So when you notice your mind taking control, take a moment to be mindful of the magic around you.
  2.  Watch your breath. Pay attention to the many feelings – in your nose, your throat, your chest – that happen with every breath. Feel every inhale flow out into every limb. Realize that this subtle force animates your whole being. In a way, you’re not breathing your body; your body is breathing you. Because if you’re not thinking about it, you continue to live. Coming back to your breath is one of the most powerful practices you can do to induce everyday wonder.