5 Merits of Wonder

Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand. ~Neil Armstrong

Earlier this week, I was watching Dr. Gay Hendricks, psychologist, body-mind therapist, & author of over 40 books, in an interview, and the concept of wonder came up.  Human beings thrive on wonder, he said, and gave examples of his clients utilizing wonder with outstanding results. 

Psychology Today shared an article with a delightful definition of the term: Wonder is a complex emotion involving elements of surprise, curiosity, contemplation, and joy. It is perhaps best defined as a heightened state of consciousness and emotion brought about by something singularly beautiful, rare, or unexpected—that is, by a marvel.  

After exploring further these last few days, I’ve read several times that it is an emotion that is ever-present in us as small children, but by the time we get to high school, it’s all but gone.  Due to its profound advantages, many of which I’ve experienced first-hand, I’d like to share some reasons to reintroduce wonder to yourself and your older children.

The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it. ~Jacques Cousteau

  1. It can help with relationship issues.  After Dr. Hendricks’ interview mentioned above, I searched the internet for more from him on the subject, and found these statements addressing relationships: Wonder is the opposite of blame. Wonder opens all your brain and body intelligence powers to make new connections.  Wonder takes you out of the state in which a problem gets generated, an Einsteinian move.  
  2. It fosters environmental protection.  Rachel Carson, author of The Sense of Wonder, among other books promoting environmental ethics,  writes of the ways in which we have insulated ourselves within the artificial world we have created, yet we are quietly and desperately eager to believe we (including the natural world) have a future.  The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders of the Universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction, she urges. 
  3. It prompts learningWikipedia shares that historically, wonder has been seen as an important aspect of human nature, specifically being linked with curiosity and the drive behind intellectual exploration.  And the Greek philosopher Socrates set forth the idea wisdom begins in wonder.  It must be the reason little ones ask so many questions.
  4. It promotes prosocial behaviors.  A study published in the Journal of Personality & Social Psychology reports that the experience of wonder we feel in the presence of something vast that transcends our understanding of the world encourages lovingkindness, altruism, and generosity.  It’s like falling in love with all of life.
  5. It improves mood & mindset.  This point comes from my experience of being on hiking trails and witnessing amazing sites like wildlife, larger-than-life trees, and landscapes so bedazzling that I am stopped in my tracks. A sudden childlike feeling sweeps over me, bringing me into to the present moment, replacing concerns with a sunny disposition.

Cultivating wonder opens a world of possibilities.  Marveling at the mysteries in which our lives are immersed can make us smarter, more loving toward all of life, and happier.  What could be a better way to live?

If this is the way the world is: extraordinary, surprising, beautiful, singular, mysterious and meaningful; then this is how I ought to act in that world: with respect and celebration, with care, and with full acceptance of the responsibilities that come with my role as a human being privileged to be a part of that community of living things. Wonder is the missing premise that can transform what is into a moral conviction about how one should act in that world. ~Kathleen Dean Moore, Writer & Professor of Philosophy, Oregon State University

Blessings for Wonder,

Lisa

The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

77 thoughts on “5 Merits of Wonder

  1. This reminds me of a trip to the Rocky Mountains where every turn in the road brought a new feeling of awe.
    I actually became exhausted from the feeling.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. It’s a shame that many seldom take the time to soak up their surroundings and just be in the moment. If we did more of that, I think we’d recapture that feeling of wonder. There’s nothing more amazing than the wonder of nature. The Earth is so full of natural beauty.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Awesome post! I remember being with my mother at a garden center when she was up in years. (Over eighty. 🙂 ) She was studying a bee with great intensity. “Isn’t nature wonderful?” she asked me, pointing to the bee. We watched the bee for a few moments, but the smile never left my mom’s face. The bee was so industrious, so very absorbed in the flower where he happened to ‘be’. Children and older people tend to know what is and what is not important. Time can ‘stand still’ for them, absorbed in moments of ‘wonder’. There is so much beauty to life in all that is around us; we are wise to capture that beauty and not let it pass us by.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. So true! 🙂 We do not want to miss the mystery and the beauty of life’s moments as they unfold. Every day offers new opportunities and blessings if are open to the ‘wonder’ of it all. (I loved your photos!!!)

        Liked by 1 person

      1. 💜 YOU!!! ARE Most Welcome 🙏🏿 🤗 ☺️ 😊 🙌 😀 🙏🏿 SupaSoulSis

        …💛💚💙…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. 💜 YUP!!! This Post 📫 😍 👌🏾 👏🏾 ❤️ 🙌 📫 ^ EveryOne; a Return to The Purity of Our ChildLike State with ALL The Benefits of Being a KiDult EveryBody

    …💛💚💙…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The best part about wonder to me is you don’t have to be forced to find an answer to what you are wondering about. It’s the unfulfilled mystery that sustains us.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. This is such an intriguing post, Lisa. I hope that people will allow the wonders of the nature & universe to transform their mind and open their heart to encompass more love and compassion.

    Just a couple weeks back I too had written something like that about Mystical Experiences and realization of life. I hope you’ll love to read that too. Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thanks for a wonder-full post Lisa! While reading this interesting post, I also enjoyed your beautiful photo’s … you know how to put one in a relaxed space while reading your article 😊. I like what you said that it improves mood and mindset – and that ‘sudden childlike feeling’ … I love that!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. An interesting word wonder is. Enjoyed reading about the various viewpoints from your research. I especially liked the term “contemplation” in the definition and the element I was ironically thinking about when you first referenced the wonder word. I would guess that is the part that separates it from “awe”, “shock” and maybe even “astonishment” – the concept of not just being surprised but then consciously thinking why, what caused it, how did I miss it, why wasn’t I expecting it etc. Maybe that is why we tend to see a decline in wonderment because we already had the internal debate and come to consensus with those questions and seeing new events that make us think about new quandaries are further and further apart. The disappearing quarter is wonderment to a new child, not so once you gain knowledge on the hands ability to deceive the eye. Intriguing concept that needs more exploration for sure. Thanks for making my brain work ha!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. This is a wonderful post, Lisa. I lost wonder for a long time, and am so happy to have it back in my life. When we learn to let go of who we think we are, and choose to create who we really are, wonder begins to come back in waves. Happy weekend, my friend! 😁

    Liked by 3 people

  10. As always, a wonderful post that truly emphasises how keeping the wonder in life and ever present moment to moment is critical in keeping our lives joyful and meaningful. Your sources are always sound with evidence and such a nice shout out to those who share their expertise.
    Big hugs and love always my dearest soul sister! 💖💖

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This post makes me think of this beautiful white bird that I’ve been seeing for about the last week. Quite unique in appearance compared to the other birds I happen to notice. For some reason I am drawn to (her?). Our paths cross on my daily walk and yes, I am quite in awe and oddly protective. Definitely a good way to start the day.

    Liked by 1 person

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