Restoring a Sense of Wonder in the Internet Age

Never question the truth of that which you fail to understand. For the world is filled with wonders.

L. Frank Baum (‘Rinkitink In Oz’ from Land of Oz series)

One of the many drawbacks to this easy-access, instant-information era, in which we can ‘Google’ almost anything, is that the lure and luster of wonder have drastically diminished. While it may seem delightfully practical to have all the facts at our fingertips, the problem is that faith, wisdom, and ideas might be on the chopping block along with actual research.

I remember the wonder, awe and the excitement of discovering whole hidden worlds when I was a boy.  The woods and lake in Danville, Illinois, where I spent countless hours with my friends were so much more than places or destinations.  We were eager and able to focus up and down with magnificent dexterity when we were children.  At one moment our eyes were microscopes that found tiny crawling things in the grass, under rocks, and in the water. 

Life was teeming beneath our feet.  Small hands explored every detail without concern for time.  At another moment our eyes were binoculars or telescopes which identified clouds that looked like dinosaurs or monsters or any other imaginable thing.  Life was exploding just above our heads.  We created forts and trails that were home to wild adventures.  Play came naturally and was unsupervised by incredulous or judgmental adults.  But the hidden worlds gave way to demands of another reality too soon.

The wonders of life and capacity for spiritual growth spring forth from those things which we don’t understand. When presented with new experiences, problems that seem unsolvable, challenges beyond tested limits, and unexplored beliefs, we expand our ideas to become someone who is changed. The fact that we can’t fix a meaning to what is happening is pivotal. It is the birth of wonder.  God is speaking to us in such moments.

That is something you just can’t Google. 


Other Resources:

The Sense of Wonder
Why we need to preserve this vital capacity and how solitude can help.

The Wonder of Hope

“Hope is patience with the lamp lit.” ~ Tertullian

This wonderful season presents itself just at the time of the year when daylight is quickly diminishing.  We begin bringing out the candles.  I am reminded of the Jewish prayer of Hanukkah which begins, “We light these lights for the miracles and the wonders.”  It’s a time in which everything is shining. It is the first Sunday of Advent for Christians who begin to focus on the four virtues of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.

Today we light the hope candle.  Healing happens when we participate in hope.  Hope is not an idle, misty, sympathetic emotion.  It is a faith-filled response to life. The vision of The Wonderful is upon us and we are reminded to never let darkness fill up our hearts.  We might be tempted to extinguish the lights and ignore the continual presence of The Wonderful as voices of negativity, gloom, and doom, reverberate from so many corners.  Scrooge and The Grinch can be found lurking around if we want to look and listen for them.  Even so, it is important to remember that both Scrooge and The Grinch were transformed by the light.  Darkness likes to make us think that it is overpowering.  But the truth is that a tiny candle will push it aside.

Advent and Hanukkah Candles will be flickering with the message that hope can never be snuffed out.  We have the opportunity to kindle them right now.

Maybe I’m Amazed

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“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement, to look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

Amazing! Life is filled with abundance, magnificence, and miracles.  Rabbi Abraham Heschel knew this to be true.  He was one of those incredible human beings who make us stop to wonder.  Such brilliant and selfless people as he ask us to notice and act upon splendor.  Heschel was a spiritual teacher who was in awe of every aspect of the world and its’ Source.  He called for us to pay attention and then do our part to make the world a better place…in words, in personal kindness, and in works of mercy. Action was a companion to radical amazement for him. When asked why he was marching side-by-side with Dr. Martin Luther King, he responded; “I am praying with my feet.”

“There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

Living in radical amazement is counterintuitive. When one of our prime objectives is to be comfortable, it is difficult to live in awe and wonder. In order to be radically amazed, we must develop a sense of responsibility for the life. And that’s not so comfortable. But when we accept our responsibility as co-creators of everything around us, we begin to treasure the splendor of the world and universe as wonderful gifts.  The miracles will be revealed. We will love, appreciate, and admire our own families, friends, and communities even more deeply. This is far more important than personal comfort.  Let’s become radically amazed as we look around in awe and gratitude for the indescribable magic that is everywhere and everything! When we see it is so, may we answer back with our feet.

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Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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