The art of wonder. How we marveled at the world as children, gazing at everything with wide, wondering eyes. As we grow into adulthood, we seem to forget how to wonder. Even though it would make our lives so much lighter and fresher.
We tend to regard the world through our thoughts. We put everything we see into frameworks and images. That is beautiful, interesting, engaging. That is not beautiful, it’s actually quite bad. That should be done differently, done better. That is such a shame. That was nice, too bad, however, that…. That has to go over there, that has to disappear. Then it will be ok. Later, things will be ok.
We seem to have trouble experiencing life in that free, open space that it’s happening in. To see people, things, situations in all their purity. Without pasting labels on them. Without branding them with our expectations, turning them into our stories.
We can lose ourselves so easily in our stories. You notice that the person you’re talking to seems absent. And there it starts, the assumptions in your head: I’m not interesting enough, there’s something wrong, what was he doing last night, he’s hiding something, but he can tell me everything, I think we should tell each other everything, this doesn’t feel right, he’s not in contact, contact is really important to me, he doesn’t even ask me how I am, he’s so focused on his own story, bla bla bla.
Are you totally present?
Are you totally present? Are you in contact with the other person? Actually, you’re saying no to the present moment. You’re telling yourself that it isn’t good enough. You want it to be different. How does it feel, to be caught up in these stories? What does it do to you, in that moment?
What would it be like to let go of all these thoughts, or to at least let go of their importance to you? To look at the other and think, he’s not very talkative today. Period. Sometimes he just sits and stares ahead. Period. Hey, I find myself falling silent. Period. I feel a desire for more contact. Period.
No judgment of good or bad. No image of how something should or should not be. This is what there is. Only this experience, in this moment. No more, no less. Today it’s like this, tomorrow it’s like that. All these stories in your head have nothing to do with reality. They’re just ideas. They create cramps and they block the free flow of life.
The art of wonder is about receiving life, in all its purity. With all the emotions that belong to that moment. Joy, sorrow, anger, ecstasy, frustration, excitement. Without things needing to be different. Without putting things into frameworks and images.
When you know that everything in life comes and goes, that this is the only certainty we have in life, then every day is a feast of wonder. Every day you can wonder what the day will bring you. Life is new and fresh every day. Then you will discover what it is like to be truly free.
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