The wow moment from knocking down walls

The ground falls away beneath your feet leaving you feeling suspended in open space, weightless, boundless, light, optimistic and free. A wow moment.

A wow moment is that feeling when something shifts in my world; much like a wall collapsing to reveal something more spacious.  The sudden loss of some constraining boundary feels vast and boundless.  It is very hard to describe the experience itself beyond a sudden sense of freedom and expansiveness.

So what triggers these moments?

I consume a good many spiritual teachings from Buddhist monks, more mainstream spiritual teachers and other sources including academic sociology, philosophy and psychology.  In addition to studying, I also ‘try’ to practice a life of mindfulness; a life without too much intellectualisation.  But, these two activities:  study and mindfulness, seem to oppose one another.

If the aim is to be mindful, ‘why do I consume written or spoken material?’ Rather than simply experiencing and being present? Isn’t the study like ‘reading about living rather than experiencing living?’  or like ‘reading about swimming without actually swimming?’  Well, I don’t find that so, and here is why.

For one, I find studying very calming. It is also an inspiration for my future experiential practices.  It gives me more motivation to return to some practice with fresh vigor.  However, I also find that reading or listening has the capability of inducing one of these wow moments.  For example, I might find myself listening to a spiritual lecture and at some point the teaching might say something that breaks down a wall that was constraining my thinking.  The studying brings about a shift in my world and in my consciousness.

Often I cannot articulate precisely the notion that has caused the shift. However the feeling is quite a strong, “ooh, wow, yes” followed by an opening.   The wow moment is this very liberating feeling; a lightening of some load; a realisation. It’s an amazing experience and one that keeps me returning to study.

That’s not to say that I have not also had these wow moments during meditation or mindful activity. But, I do believe that studying also has the capacity to open my mind to some shift in my being too.

Sharing the wow

And this is why I continue to listen, to read and to learn.  It’s an utter pleasure to think that at times, perhaps, me passing on some of what I have read or experienced could bring about a ‘wow’ moment for others; not from some conceit but as an act of loving kindness.

May you all find and enjoy your ‘wow’ moments, whenever and wherever you find them.

Peace and love.

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