Thanks to the Webb Telescope, on its way, successfully it seems, to its landing place one million miles from Earth, where just the right gravity pull will allow it to stay pretty much in place and shielded from too much sun and too much cold, we may soon be blessed with still more awe.

The James Webb Space Telescope, and how it sees the distant cosmic past and identifies Earth-like planets. Video by Perception.

How important is that for feeding our souls?  According to Rabbi Heschel, it is super important.  He actually defines awe this way: “Awe is the encounter of the human mind with the universe.”  It is from awe that wisdom arrives—not just knowledge.  Awe moves the heart and renders us grateful and reverent.  Awe is bigger than us; that is why it amazes us and gets us to shut up about our often puny human agendas.  And the universe delivers it!

With awe comes more beauty.  And more perspective.  And more knowledge of our origins and of the universe and of Light and therefore of our bodies (which are frozen light and contain atoms from the beginning of the universe).  Thus, more food for our souls that we call awe, wonder, reverence, grace. 

Bodies of light: Kirlian photograph of a man’s fingertip, 1989. Image by Sérgio Valle Duarte on Wikimedia Commons.

And more awareness of God/Goddess.  As Heschel tells us, “awareness of the divine begins with wonder.” 

He also tells us that “what we lack is not a will to believe, but a will to wonder.”  Might Webb Telescope return our will to wonder?  He tells us that we need to “stand still and behold!” 

Why is that so important?  “Behold not only in order to explain, to fit what we see into our notions; behold in order to stand face to face with the beauty and grandeur of the universe.”  He calls us not to take for granted the beauty of our cosmos, the miracle of our existence.

That would seem to be good and practical advice in this dark time in human and planetary history when humanity seems to be spiraling downhill.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. 1, 5.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Planetary nebula known as ESO 456-67. Set against a backdrop of bright stars, the rust-colored object lies in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer), in the southern sky. Image Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA.

Queries for Contemplation

Might more awe about Father Sky and our cosmic origins, along with that of light and its origins, render us wiser?  What might result from that?

Recommended Reading

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

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11 thoughts on “Is More Awe on its Way?”

  1. Avatar

    This resonates deeply.
    The revealing of the cosmic story unfolding , still birthing itself leaves me speechless with each new discovery a burning Bush appears.
    That burns out my preconceptions of what I think I am and re-forges me into what I truly am. Ex nihilo.
    I’m reminded of Thomas Merton – ” the world and time are the dance of the lord in emptyness ” , ” the silence of the spheres”, the glorious emptyness of space, of the universe, this wonderful nothingness which is everything. “Oh night, more lovelier than the dawn”
    In my recovery this emptyness is the grounding place, it cannot be attained it attains me.
    “It beats in my very blood whether I want it too or not.”
    Or to quote a song ” I am slain by the glory of my god”
    Thank you for today’s meditation.

  2. Avatar

    I was particularly inspired by the images in today’s DM

    From parted lips
    I offer a cosmic kiss
    Of awe and wonder.
    Silent caresses
    Traveling through space
    Behold my touch.
    Radiant light
    Quivering ecstasy
    Enraptured in holiness.

  3. Avatar

    The First Book—and the last child in the woods

    The very best way to introduce children to (God), Creator, is to walk with them in nature, the first book. Modeling awe and respect for the natural world around them will teach them the same. Holy scriptures can always come later to ponder and seek truths there, but nature needs no explanation, it is its own exegesis. }:- a.m.

    Hoofnote: I have been an ecologist since childhood (though not knowing it at an early age). Then a career and life immersed in nature. Now in my “golden season” I consider myself ecotheologist. Having been an ordained elder and then pastor, I have studied the scriptures, but always found God closest in nature.

    Hoofnote 2: Our son who is an astrophysicist, professor and NASA collaborator, teaches us the cosmic side of nature.

  4. Avatar

    Mystical awareness is always HERE, NOW, the truth beyond the illusions we hold so close to us. Open fully. Your mind, your heart, everything of yourself. Play in the joy of the creation of each moment. If you can do that completely with your whole being for even one iota of time, for just the flickering of an instant, you will relax into the universe, into infinite awareness, into awareness beyond boundaries, beyond time, beyond space, beyond duality, beyond self, into unlimitedness.
    At the gates of mystical awareness the soul stretches to its fullness in rapt awe.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Melinda, “At the gates of mystical awareness the soul stretches to its fullness in rapt awe.” AMEN !!!

  5. Avatar

    We’re still learning on our spiritual journeys to be more Conscious of the Beauty and Love of our Eternal Souls — God’s Presence within, through, and among us in the Loving Creative Oneness of All Ongoing Creation….

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