Inviting Awe into Your Life



Approximately five years ago I had cancer. I consider this good fortune in a couple of ways; the most obvious being I am still alive and very healthy. Prior to cancer, I had believed that I was so connected to Spirit that I felt I could pass on from this life in peace at any time. But how can we actually know that until and unless we are confronted by it? So it was a blessing to have had the cancer, along with the complications that came with a surgery gone bad, and in that experience know what peace and acceptance really means. 

The second blessing came when I believed that the cancer had spread. I has misunderstood the test results and thought  that my cancer had spread. By that time I had been considering whether I had made a mistake in that I was offered a ticket home and turned it down. I realize that this might seem crazy to some, and it might seem like I don’t love life as much as I do. . Nothing could be farther from the truth. But I have become comfortable with the idea of my own mortality and I believe that death is not to be feared, but to be accepted.  

During that time I had decided that I would let the cancer take its course without fighting it. I had heard of people who were ready to pass on who didn’t have their perceptions clouded by fear. They seemed to see the world through a different lens which made the colors richer, and the sounds deeper. My experience had given me this lens and along with a sense of wonder and awe that it was almost overwhelmingly beautiful. It was as if I had taken a type of spiritual LSD. . I looked at plants and where there used to be objects, there was now roots, photosynthesis, and tiny buggy life forms.  The beauty of it was stunning. The experience of a simple glace at a plant lasted all day, every day.  

In the end, I found out that I had misunderstood the test results. I cherish life, so it wasn’t bad news by any means.  Life itself then started to slowly but surely dilute the experience of awe for me. But with that, I have been blessed by continuous reminders from a variety of sources to refocus on life with awe, most recently today when a good friend suggested that I write this article. Thank you friend, you are awesome.   

Lao Tzu was a Chinese mystic sage who wrote, among other things the Tao Te Ching. This book of ancient wisdom has provided untold billions of people over the centuries with guidance. The seventy second verse of the Tao begins “When people lose a sense of awe there will be disaster....”  

I think that most people would agree that nature is the source of the deepest awe. I am reminded of a poem from Saint John of the Cross which reads;   

The Bride 

              My Beloved, the mountains, 

              and lonely wooded valleys, 

              strange islands, 

              and resounding rivers, 

              the whistling of love-stirring breezes,  



the tranquil night 

              at the time of the rising dawn, 

              silent music, 

              sounding solitude, 

              the supper that refreshes and deepens love.  

The issue for much of humanity is that we have been all but completely removed from the natural world. We have been conditioned by those who stand to gain the most from our wanting material possessions. Personally I am fond of the saying “the best things in life are not things”.  

A sense of awe with the world is one such “no thing”. We are being conditioned by T.V, society and our busy lives, to exist without a sense of awe in our lives. The good news is that there is awe in this very moment. Simply think about the functions of your body, perhaps digesting your food, or your heart beating 36,000,000 times this past year, and next year, and the year after, until you die.  

I hope for you in this moment to make a decision to re-invite awe back into your life. It is really a simple matter of slowing down enough to notice, and honoring creation in all of the forms that it takes. When the weather seems horrible, embrace the awe of it. If you do, then you will change your perception in that moment radically, and your life will be fuller.   There are countless examples and opportunities for you to see the world in this new way.  I wish this for you because you’re awesome.

DAKOTA BAKER MA,LPCC,LADC TELEPHONE: 612•750•5378 FAX: 651•636•0243 EMAIL ME PROUD MEMBER OF: Minnesota Psychological Association MARRCH
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