selah & the development of our sixth sense

"the sense of wonder, that is our sixth sense, and it is the natural religious sense."
                               -d.h. lawrence
        for a couple minutes i could not find my brother, he was right behind us and i had no idea where he went. my friend nick and i called for his name but to no avail. as i began to trudge into the woods a little deeper nick became concerned since my brother paul didn't know his way in, or out, of the unknown, and to us, uncharted woods. after backtracking, and yelling into the woods we finally all met up in a valley that was descending into deeper woods and even deeper snow this last weekend in vail, colorado.
      the clearing looked like a cross between an ansel adams photograph and stepping onto the movie set of the chronicles of narnia. everything surrounding us was painted in a a bleached white and all the trees simultaneously looked like dogwoods, each spaced just perfectly as if it were planned and designed around the three of us. as we sat there taking in the site and breathing in as deep as we possibly could we began to discuss the reality of amazement that passes us by as humans.
      i concluded that for our generation i believe technology and science has replaced the "sense of wonder" in our generation. we are more fascinated by the mechanics or conveniences of the latest and greatest more than a peerless cloud formations or the mystery of the inter workings of our own bodies. plato & aristotle once believed that "philosophy begins in wonder," and even Kant echoed the sediment on wonder when he said "two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."
       i believe every day of our lives we need to selah (jewish word meaning to pause and reflect) on the world around us; at some points it feels like we fill our lives with so much "to do" that we never stop and listen to what is happening around us. we are so busy planting the garden, weeding, pruning, and picking the flowers that we never take the time to reflect on the astonishing process of birth from the ground, the amazing colors in which we are experiencing in front of our faces, or the smell that illuminates the vicinity from around the plant themselves. 1961 nobel peace prize winner dag hammarskjold once said "we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason."  astonishing.
        early this morning i set out to wash the salt off my truck from the long trip from colorado to florida (i got stuck in the blizzard that hit denver and kansas so hard this past weekend). when i asked my 4 year old niece if she would like to help she jumped up and down, and squealed in normal hayden fashion, at the simple fact she could hang out with her uncle, be of some help, and possibly (hopefully) get soaked. i had to laugh because washing a car seemed like such a mundane task to me but to hayden this could possibly be the highlight of her young day. in more ways in our lives we need to approach each day as a child, we need to look through each and every moment as if it were the first time we have had the experience, the joy, the love, the admiration, of each and every moment we are alive.

"unless you turn and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven"
                                    -Jesus Christ


David Malcolm said…
I was explaining to a friend yesterday (ha OK a guy I want to date but let's not get into that) what it's like to hear God. It was a little awkward, I've never been ashamed of being a Christian, well least not for a long time, and I treasure that sense of connection that I have with God and His world that a lot of other people don't. At that same time maybe it's partly cause I like the guy, but it was really awkward cause I knew he'd never experienced anything like what I was talking about.
In his words, "I've, never really met a person who I knew was sane before who said they heard God..." I explained to him that especially in the west, we explain away the supernatural, so it doesn't even make sense for God to bother being overt a lot of the time. I'm not sure if he understood. Maybe I'm just a modern day mystic or something. Either way it's a little frustrating that western society is so caught up in explaining away the wonder.
David Malcolm said…
Hey, thanks for the comment on my blog :)

Oh and since I know you read these comments... how bout getting that Godspeed EP up on the Canadian version of iTunes! I'm teetering on the edge of trying to see if someone's put it on a p2p network yet since I can't buy it!
(Actually T&N hasn't put up Never Take Friendship Personal either, had to buy that in a store... then later again when I saw you guys live since I'm all about supporting bands... I gave it to an Emo kid friend who likes it.)
Meg-a-roni said…
I think that as we get older (grow into adulthood), we lose the ability to see the world as it truly is. We get sucked into the mundane things of this world. We lose the ability to laugh, have fun, and love the way children do. We need to surround ourselves by children each day to remind us of what God wants us to be like and what we should value. This is why I love working with kids and love seeing the world each day from their prospective.

My recommendation: hang out with a kid each day, either go volunteer at a boys and girls club, coach a chidren team, or hang out with a neice/nephew or neighbor.
brett said…
have you read Dangerous Wonder?
Lindsay Caitlin said…
I recently was up in Boone, North Carolina visiting the Appalachian Mountains with my family and a beloved friend of mine. The trip is a yearly one, but this time around I was filled with so much more amazement than any prior time. Maybe it was the company my friend provided that I had not experienced before, or maybe I've just become more aware of God in my surroundings. Either way, I was left in awe by the beauty of this land.

The day we arrived it had snowed unlike the forecast had predicted. It was the most beautiful sight I've ever seen. Everything seemed so magical. The air was just filled with this overwhelming sense of perfection, renewal, and love. And instead of skiing, my friend and I decided to take a lift up to the top of the slopes and enjoy the beautiful view together. Simplistic, yet awe-inspiring.

I agree that our lives should be filled with more reflections of this world; that we should approach things with a childlike heart and mind. That experience alone brought me closer to God and I took what I learned back home to FL with me. And even though I don't have snowy mountains in my view, I'm certainly more aware and appreciative of the small things.
Antoinette said…
I guess I worry a bit too much and stay too focused on tasks I need to complete, instead of slowing down to really think about life. Part of the reason why I like taking pictures of just about everything is because it gives me a chance to remember each moment and learn to appreciate them, and to realize that I have proof there are more important things than checklists and plans.
Jessica said…
this reminds me of godfrey reggio's film, koyaanisqatsi (phil glass composed the soundtrack.). after viewing it, i spent hours sifting through the emotions & images that seemed to infuse my mind; it's intense! let me know if/when you watch it; i'd like to know your thoughts.
loveenduresall said…
I am glad your brother is fine. I agree totally, we as adults forget sometimes to just love life and enjoy our time here. I myself wrote a blog about it and used the same quote from Jesus. :). I am glad you are all safe and well. The snow must have been so beautiful. -A
Anonymous said…
more people should talk about these things.
sj. said…
i believe more people are beginning to talk about this. i've been saying it to heaps of friends.
i personally am a kindergarten teacher which means my every day is filled with constant appreciation for the smallest things. wonder.
yet, we humans of the present world have created a life that runs on RUSHING. no time no time that's all we can think of.
but yes, SELAH.. that's my new years resolution. 2006 seemed to disappear and its almmost as though it never was.
i'm rambling.
but wow.. i love how you put into words every thing i've been trying to say :)
Selah. Wonder. Awe. Greatness. GOD.
thankk you forbeing such an amazing inspiration always.

Amanda said…
It's funny that you wrote this because I was just writing in my own blog on another website, about how having a passion for life...even in it's mundane details is really the key to being content with your life. and I strive to project that in my everyday life. selah indeed. I reflect on the world nearly on a daily basis.

I LOVE washing my car!
BurningAlive said…
I agree with you about how people are just to busy (or think they are), I recently heard a sermon on how me as a culture almost wear busyness as a badge. It's almost always the first thing you hear out of anyones mouth when you ask them how there doing. I think Christ really spoke of simplifying our lives and focusing on the real truths in each day. Thanks for the reminder.
Kate said…
i liked your post. will you post more on that diary you found in the bookstore? i've been thinking about that alot lately.
Brett said…
yeah i tried to find an old diary when i was at an antique shop but all i found was some old envelopes from singapore and france and such
micah said…
this my new year's resolution. to be able to live in awe of god's beautiful creation and take in what i see and experience more than just taking it all for granted. we can't lose this wonder.
sarahjoy said…
yay.. how amazing is it when you write an inspire people and then read the comments others leave and wow.. just this sense of awe has befallen me.. there is still sincere hearts in this world. there is hope!
Jane said…
I liked the "sense of wonder" paragraph the most. It sounds very Don Miller--I think he talks about that in Blue Like Jazz.
cool post though.
the woods sound way cool...I've always wanted to go to Narnia, or at least somthing close to it. I've never seen snow...from FL. haha.
Alice-Bo-Balice said…
I think that this was a wonderful post. I love going out into the woods on my Dad's farm every once in a while to just explore and admire God's creation.
I'm very jealous of the snow you spoke of. I haven't seen any yet this year.
Christopher said…
people get so busy. i get so busy sometimes to really sit back and wonder about existence. living isn't breathing, living is knowing that you are living. science seems to bring everything and everyone down to a formula or natural occurance, even love. in doing so, it almost removes the wonder in the world.
Eric Taylor said…
Your blogs continue to amaze, so true. Some of our most true moments arrive upon taking notice of the world around us. God layed it all before us for our enjoyment and it sure doesn't hurt to take notice. Also very true about approaching situations as children. Our faith should be modeled upon it but also our sense of enjoyment. Sometimes I think that the innocence of a child can be mistaken for being naive or ignorant due to age. Lately I'm starting to think that they are just viewing the world through the perspective that God intended in the first place. Thank you for the challenging blogs you write.
Anonymous said…
Just thought you should know, your writing is astounding, if I could write half as well as you i would be an incredibly happy person. I love to writing myself. Everything here comes straight from the heart, thank-you for sharing it
Kim F. said…
Selah is what I wanted to name my daughter, for the reason that it means to pause and reflect. I see it the most in many of the Psalms. In short, I want my child to absorb all the wonderment life has to offer. it's kind of a lifelong plight to never lose your childish enthusiasm.

very good blog. you are a fantastic writer.
Story of a Girl said…
i definately love those moments when I can stand in awe before a beautiful ocean, a sweet old married couple, a child having fun discovering/enjoying something mundane. You're right, technology is more of an awe-inspirer now... But I'm glad your reminded all of this, even if it was quite some time ago... it's always relevant:)

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