What, you say? “Living in awe”? More like living in “awful”.

Each day we get sucked into the trap of focusing on our outer world and judging it against our inner expectations. We perceive a gap between the two and it can frequently cause us frustration. We want what we seemingly don’t have and it’s that which can cause us to label our lives negatively.

Here are some frequent “gap traps” I see going on in people’s lives (including my own!):

  • No matter how much material wealth we might possess, we always want more.
  • We want that perfect romantic relationship.
  • We want more friends.
  • We want to do meaningful work.
  • We want more free time.
  • We want to travel more.
  • We want perfect health.
  • We want to be perceived as attractive.
  • We want our sports teams to win.
  • We want less violence in the world.
  • We want our political systems to function properly.
  • We want other people to believe like we do.

The list can go on and on and on…and it does….

Here’s a funny irony – the more we focus on the gaps between what we want and what we perceive we have, the more these gaps show up in our life. In other words, the more we see things as “awful” – the more awful things we see. Somehow we have to shift our perception.

Every Moment Is a Miracle

Do you ever stop and think about how magical it is that you even exist? Right now, here you are as this complex physical being with conscious awareness. You possess the ability to read these words and think about what they mean. You live on this planet with air, water and food. I mean really – in the big scheme of things, isn’t this some kind of miracle?

One of the things I love about the trend in considering “big history” is that it fosters within us a sense of awe regarding this universe. A few years ago I wrote a two-part series here on Conscious Bridge about the concept of big history – here are the links if you are interested: Part One  —  Part Two.

Big history is a multidisciplinary study of the development of our universe. It steps back to a high vantage point and looks at what all of the sciences – both physical and social – tell us about how we have developed and glimpses into the future as to where we may be going. Professor David Christian, who is one of the proponents of this type of study, details major shifts in our evolutionary past which he calls “thresholds”. When we stop to think about how our universe crossed these thresholds, we can’t help but consider what a miracle it was that it occurred.

What are these thresholds? They are:

  • The emergence of the early physical universe through the Big Bang.
  • The emergence of stars out of the primordial soup of hydrogen and helium.
  • The emergence of all of our other chemical elements birthed within the stars.
  • The emergence of planets and solar systems created by these chemical elements.
  • The emergence of life on planets such as Earth.
  • The emergence of humans (through the evolution of more complex life) and our ability to transfer what we have learned to one another through language.

Think for a moment of all the things that had to occur for you to be sitting here reading these words. It is truly awe inspiring to consider how everything had to line up just perfectly. Here you are with conscious awareness – you have consciousness – you can think about what you’re thinking. How cool is that?

You live on the so-called “Goldilocks planet” where everything is “just right” so as to not only have allowed this evolutionary process to have played out over millions of years but currently also allows you to maintain your physical life. We live within a band of safe temperatures, protected from bombardment by solar radiation, given air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat.

Somehow or another your parents (no matter what you think of them!) had to come together and conceive you. They created you, another human being, with your own conscious awareness.

You traveled through a wide array of human experiences which contributed to your personality and to your belief systems. You sit here with a degree of consciousness and the worldview that have been shaped by your physical DNA hardwiring and the seemingly chance occurrences of your life history and the stories you tell yourself about that history.

It took astronomical odds for you and I to even be here  – it’s like we hit the Powerball of life. If that’s not awe-inspiring, I don’t know what is!

Yes, we can set our intentions for a better personal life and a better collective world. Yes, we can take actions to enhance both. But the next time you find yourself dwelling on negativity and the gap between what you want and what you currently have, it’s time to reframe your thoughts. In such times, stop and look around and just remember what a miracle it is that you and this world even exist.  Living in awe can do wonders for your perspective!

Mark Gilbert


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Photo credit: camshafter via Foter.com / CC BY