Effect of the ‘Awe!” Experience

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Awe is an emotion comparable to wonder, with a combination of amazement, surprise and even fear. Although the meaning of the word Awe has changed over time, the expression of ‘Awe’ has been defined as an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, and fear, produced by that which is extremely amazing, grand, or extremely powerful. It is directed at objects considered to be more powerful than the subject, such as, a great water fall, the Great Pyramid of Gaza, the Grand Canyon, the paintings of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, an inspiring Sunset, or the vastness of the cosmos.

Awe serves to draw attention away from the self and toward the environment. Focusing and admiring the beauty and intricacy of nature, the flowers, the oceans, sunset, can bring one to the state of Awe. 

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Ski site ( by Michelle Ugbor)

Awe therefore arises out of the experience through our senses, mainly through our sight, and at times through sound, touch and smell.

In most African countries where the wonders of nature abound, there is often indifference to these wonders, or at best, fear of them. The first time I really took note at the beauty of nature, was during my mission to Namibia in 1991, just after her independence. On a consultancy assignment with 6 male expatriates from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands, I couldn’t help but ‘look’ and ‘see’. They called attention to the topography, the wildlife, and all nature! We went on a safari up the mountains and I beheld a planet that looked like Mars.

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Namib desert

Have we landed on Mars? I asked myself. The topography of the top of the mountains was like the image we see of Mars.The tour guide handed us hammers to break the rock. What I saw was breathtaking … ROSE QUARTZ, Amethyst..! These rugged, dirty, rocky peaks were mountains of semi-precious stones!

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Breaking the rocks of Rose Quartz

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Sitting by the beach in Swakopmund, I could not but marvel at how the beautiful, undulating, golden brown sand domes of the Namib desert come down and end their journey at the beach of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Skiing on the sand domes

For the first time, I witness people skiing on sand! The sand domes of the Namib desert were skiing grounds! (But of course, the skiers were expatriates and tourists). I admired for the first time, the Namib Flamingos and white Pelicans as they grazed by the seashore!

Ever since, I’ve always found something of nature that marvels me, rainbows, flowers, waterfalls, mountains, .. all have something that portrays the mind of the Creator.

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Pamukkale hot spring terraces, Turkey

The Pamukkale natural hot spring terraces in Southwestern Turkey which I visited with my husband many years ago still fills me with awe.

Everyone has had some ‘awe’ experience . When we witness something awesome, we make exclamations like “Oh my God!” “Wow!” As we regard nature’s wonders with awe, the sensation, the thought and the exclamations we may make, lead to the release of ‘feel good hormones’ in our body. These in turn enhance our well-being by improving our immunity, lowering blood pressure and minimizing depressive emotions. It is interesting to learn how nature compensates us as we admire nature! The “Awe” experience raises your frequency of vibration, and, going by the law of attraction, the more we appreciate, the more things to appreciate will be attracted to us. The universe brings forth pleasurable things into our lives through the Law of Attraction.

Spring season with the blooming of flowers is a period of awesome beauty. Watching the beauty of nature is far much better than watching some unpleasant media broadcasts and publications. When more people learn to admire nature and the awesomeness of its beauty, perhaps, we begin to experience a better world!

I love to watch clips from Louie Schwartzberg, a cinematographer, who captures stunning life images that reveal the fascinating beauty and connectivity of nature. Here is one of his videos at TED Talks…

 

 

3 thoughts on “Effect of the ‘Awe!” Experience

  1. This is a beautiful piece with wonderful resonance. You are right. Our awe experiences come mostly from nature. Your choice of everyday issues and your treatment of same are indeed admirable. Once more, thanks for the enlighteent

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