‘He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead…’ Albert Einstein
When was the last time you stopped dead in your tracks, shut your brain down and just stood there ‘rapt in awe’ at the sheer marvellousness and magic of the world? Perhaps it was watching a pre-dawn sun creep over the horizon. Or maybe contemplating the untold vastness of the black night sky . Or stretched out on the couch watching the dressage final at the Olympics.
Whatever is was, according to a recent Harvard study this episode of awestruck-ness may have ‘left residual benefits of increased empathy, increased compassion towards others, feelings of altruism and increased feelings of well being’.
Psychologist Nicholas Humphrey, author of “The Biological Advantage Of Being Awestruck”, says our ability to awe was biologically selected for by evolution because it imbues our lives with sense of cosmic significance that has resulted in a species that works harder not just to survive but to flourish and thrive…
And we all want a bit of cosmic significance in our lives every now and then, don’t we?