It has me contemplating… What is Awe, and how is it connected to our sense of belonging in this world?
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.