What is awe? We take time to look past the overused ‘awesome’ today.
It is ‘a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.’ It turns out that experiencing genuine awe makes us more generous. The study defines awe as: ‘an emotional response to perceptually vast stimuli that transcend current frames of reference.’
Today take a break from your screens to remember the last time you experienced awe. What did you learn? Did it make you feel more connected to others? How? What symbol can you use to remind yourself next time you are rushing around your day, that there is more to life than what the researchers in the study call our ‘small self’?
…and for those of you doing the daily stillness in an academic context, take time to read the full paper and reflect on what it means to do rigorous research on abstractions such as ‘awe’ or ‘mindfulness’; getting past opinion and gaining the discipline to overcome motivated reasoning – the cognitive bias of seeking to confirm our beliefs rather than disconfirm them – is not a trivial skill. Yet, something we all need to learn to help us evaluate the quality of research we may cite in our own work.