The Awe-some Perspective
rom ground level, Costa Rica was a luscious playground of thick jungle, paradise beach, and the life and revelation of a yoga teacher training. From above, through this plane window, she shows herself as a veritable universe of mountain and sea, peacefully existing on scales of time and space that we humans can only dream about. The vastness of the view below me somehow humbles me, helps me feel held in something infinite.
t has me contemplating… What is Awe, and how is it connected to our sense of belonging in this world?
I'm talking about the feelings you might have when you visit a new country, experience synchronicity, or say goodbye for a long time. When you unexpectedly fall in love, find out about a loved one's illness, or realise how the choices of your younger self brought you where you are. It’s the feeling we had when we closed the training here in Costa Rica and felt the rhythm of daily jungle life fold together into one whole, otherworldly experience. All of a sudden, faced with goodbye over the sacred fire, the magnitude of the journeys we had each been on became clear. It is in those moments that the true wisdom is revealed - the ways in which our lives are forever changed as a result of a series of little moments.
These experiences do a similar thing as an airplane does to our physical selves - they allow us to rise above today. By taking ourselves away from the small, personal window of perspective that we are accustomed to, we realise the expansiveness of the universe we exist in. When seen from the air, I do not just see the river; I see the watery link between high ground and low, the channels that unite mountain peak with sea. I see beyond the streets of a city into a history of human activity, spreading out across the land according to lines of trade and communication.
Such an awe-some change of perspective always brings a depth of awareness. From this level, I see not the borderlines or manufacturing queues or endless drives to work, but a continuous line of earthly abundance. Earth takes on a magnificent wholeness that I am entirely, completely, part of.
Internally, the Awe-some Perspective means that I see beyond the pain or struggle of a particular life experience to the ways in which it is essential to my big picture reality. Not only that, but I realize that I have somehow conspired with my environment to create the story, in order to call in valuable information that I need. From this perspective, I comprehend that I am, in fact, one piece of an enormous organism called Earth, that is constantly calling in experience and revelation.
Realizing this, my quest, along with millions of other spiritual seekers across the world, has become about bringing this sacred Awe, and its associated shift in awareness, into life on a daily basis - without necessarily needing the perspective offered by a wide-open view.
It is a powerful message to receive when we realize that everything can become sacred. Even as a cynical teenager, I trusted in a greater power, but despite my respect for religion and for the practices I learned as a child, for me it seemed impossible that the comparably tiny human mind could ever define something infinite and ephemeral as God. Rather, the closest I came to describing God was this feeling of awe I received when I truly gave my attention to something. The impossible delicacy that can be observed when one concentrates on the center of a flower, or the wings of a dragonfly, or the surface of the sea going out to the horizon - the kind of perfection that seems beyond anything we can humanly conceive of, let alone create.
Shift your viewpoint and feel the Awe… and know that it is an appreciation of the enormous forces of life and death… and everything in between... that allow us to be truly alive.
These simple observances gave rise to a sense of the sacred that shared something with religion, but was somehow completely different to what I'd experienced. Beyond a relationship to God that invited me to act in a certain way to receive benediction, this "Spirituality" came from within and spread outwards. I was not only God's creation… I was co-creating my word with this Godly life force. Caroline Myss puts it well in Anatomy of the Spirit, when she says:
"Today's spiritual seekers are infusing their lives with heightened consciousness of the sacred, striving to act as if each of their attitudes express their spiritual intelligence. Such conscious living is an invocation, a request for personal spiritual authority. It comes as a dismantling of old religion's parent-child relationship to God and marks a move into spiritual adulthood."
For this new wave of spirituality, connection to a higher power is often experienced as an internal appreciation of the life force that connects all things. When I touch this life force with my own awareness, it results in a feeling that could be described as Awe.
So perhaps this is it. When I experience Awe on the outside, it reminds me of the Awe on the inside. By flying over the land in the clinical walls of an airplane, I more eagerly search for the channels of aliveness that unite everything below me. By crossing borders to spend time in a new culture and environment, external differences invite me to look for the Yoga all around me and the ways in which I still - beyond culture and origin - belong.
When I am brought to an eagle's perspective on the outside, my world widens and deepens on the inside. And when I step out of whatever is my current reality into something that shakes me up, I am reminded of the ephemeral life force that connects me to Spirit. This awe is just one more way of experiencing spiritual connection, and the beautiful thing is, it is always available. We could be in a darkened room; just by closing our eyes and tuning in to the life that is our breath, the complexity of everything distills down to one, simple, awesome, Now.
So today, the invitation comes to tune in in a new way. Find the wonder that is around and within - whether it be in the microcosmic universe of an anthill or a redwood tree, or in the sunset that happens every single day… or simply through finding the awesomeness of a part of your life that is asking to be embraced. Shift your perspective and call in the wonder of What Is… and know that an appreciation of the enormous forces of life and death - and everything in between - allows us to find our own, Awe-some aliveness.
Jiya is a deeply connected leader who roots her teaching in the healing energy of nature. Her teaching invites students to explore their own, unique unfolding, through profound awareness and trust in the wisdom of the Self. Through her studies with teachers and shamans across the world, Jiya has developed a powerful sense of energetic connection and a strong set of philosophical and intuitive teachings, which she shares through creative hatha and yin yoga, sacred fire and medicine ceremonies, and healing therapies. Jiya is also a talented musician and sound healer, who seeks out native chants and medicine songs from around the world to complement her work.
Jiya is YA-certified at the ERYT-300 level and has facilitated both intensive and module-format teacher trainings at RYT-200 and RYT-300 levels for several years, through Kula Collective, Holistic Yoga School, International and SchoolYoga Institute. Following her degree in Physics at Imperial College, London, Julia worked as an Energy Consultant and part time writer in London, UK, before moving to Central America in 2009 to pursue a life centered on yoga and holistic health. British by birth, Jiya is now based in Guatemala and teaches in Thailand, Australia, Mexico, Greece, USA, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Peru.