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I Ask for Wonder

Photo by Adam Dyson (one of my favorite muses)

Photo by Adam Dyson (one of my favorite muses)

I’ve been a philanthropist and activist my whole life. It’s part of my identity. It derives from my profound love and reverence for our human existence and the gift of the magnificent cosmos in which we dwell. Over the last four years or so, my perspective on activism has evolved considerably. I wrote about that shift here.

About a month ago, I realized I had allowed myself to become consumed with the deliberately orchestrated charade of the 2016 Elections in the United States. I know better, but alas, I was seduced by the farce of American democracy and the (momentary) delusion that my effort to expose the lies was anything more than a direct contribution to the systems and perspectives I’d set out to defy and rectify.

I decided to completely unplug from all of it and cleanse my thoughts of the negativity. I stopped checking all my news feeds. I stayed almost completely off Facebook and Twitter. I turned my head when I saw anything involving the elections. I even unsubscribed from a number of daily activist newsletters and alerts I receive.

I watched more Jason Silva (a professor of awe) videos and started watching inspirational films and documentaries and feeding my mind with positivity again. I dove into a few game changing books and began to spend more time with people I know to be positive, enlightened, happy beings. I even sought out more positive feeling music to listen to and began to listen to more music in general.

I am deliberately investing in the influences that will feed my perspective, because my perspective is the foundation for how I view the world and what I believe to be true.

While visiting my parents, I noticed a book in my father’s office called, I Asked for Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology of Abraham Joshua Heschel, by Samuel H. Dresner. The cover caught my eye and I picked it up. Heschel was a Hasidic Jewish mystic with an extraordinary gift for combining profundity with simplicity. He wrote with remarkable feeling and depth. All of these elements, including his beatnik, bohemian style, were intriguing to me.

Heschel wrote:

Awe is an intuition for the dignity of all things, a realization that things not only are what they are but also stand, however remotely, for something supreme.

Awe is a sense for the transcendence, for the reference everywhere to mystery beyond all things. It enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine,…to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal. What cannot comprehend by analysis, we become aware of in awe.

All thoughts take form in some way. And through our thoughts we are dictating our experience of life; our reality. It’s always a choice. I cannot allow myself to contribute to the very fear filled divisiveness I’ve set out to prevent, by way of allowing my thoughts to dwell in that space. I must commit myself to imagining the peaceful, loving society I believe is possible, and to dwelling in that space.

As an activist, that is the vibration I want to activate. As a human, that is who I want to be.

The exponential investment of love, wonder and awe into my being is, in and of itself, a profound philanthropic act.

It allows me to radiate the feelings and emotions I experience as a result of that influence. To respond in love, rather than react in fear. To be a source of love amidst a divisive society. To be the whimsical, loving, happy father and husband I want to be. To inspire others to evolve into love.

The more awe and wonder we infuse into our experience, the more we contribute to a peaceful, harmonious planet. What we feed our soul is reflected through our being.

We are what we think. What we allow to influence our minds is what we ultimately end up thinking about. Who we are influences and impacts those around us.

Be mindful and deliberate in what you allow to influence your thoughts.

Choose wonder.

Choose awe.

Choose love.


  1. Andy on August 28, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    Outstanding! I applaud you for turning away from the ridiculous circus that is the political races.

    This piece spoke to me in a way I have been missing for awhile. Like you, my path has strayed. Just this morning I made some deep realizations that I have lost much over the last several years…joy, confidence, drive. My life has become bereft of love and compassion. I have felt pulled by life instead of driving it, that has fostered resentment, anger and fear, in turn causing discontent and discord in my family.

    It is absolutely true that mindset is a choice, so I am making the conscious choice to feed my mind and soul with love, and a grateful attitude.

    Thanks brother.

  2. Joanne Miller on August 29, 2016 at 2:17 PM

    Jared, Not coincidentally, I was writing the same time you posted this…about a very similar topic. I am thrilled you seek awe. Everyone should. It would make the world a much better place indeed. Too many people strive to find joy and excitement that gets lost in the dark of all the evil, political, violent and subversive input they filter through and find it hard to get to. Life was a lot easier and simpler back when we weren’t so inundated with the “news” which is simply “Infotainment” these days with everyone having their own agenda. The simple truth is, we can make the world a better place by being love…peace….and what we want to see in others. Great post!

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