Capturing and sitting with wonder is a worthy pursuit, to find god, beauty and the sacred in all living things is a beautiful and life giving thing. This is natural to children; they are seeing things for the first time, experiencing life fresh. As adults, it becomes harder, but as some of the mystics of old have told us – we can find all that we need to know about the sacred in a leaf. If we can see the wonder and beauty of a leaf then we will surely find wonder and beauty in the rest of creation, including ourselves and others.
This brings us back to our senses. Are we able to see it? Can you hear the wonder? Are you able to taste it? Can you feel it? Can you touch it and allow yourself to be touched? Can you smell the aroma of the mystery? Are we open to it or closed down?
I was introduced to the term of religious agnosticism my Mark Vernon at Greenbelt last year, he has a book published next year called, ‘How to be agnostic’. Below Mark writes about wonder in the following way.
A practice of wonder
This can be associated with many of the scientists of the modern world, particularly Robert Hooke, who could look down a microscope, at a common fly, and exclaim, ‘The burnished and resplendent fly!’ Coleridge’s thought is helpful here too: following Aristotle, he noted that philosophy begins in wonder, a wonder that stems from ignorance, and that it ends with wonder too, though now the wonder has become ‘the parent of adoration.’ It’s the joy of not knowing, the thrill of sensing that which lies beyond you. For the great Victorian agnostics, like T.H. Huxley who invented the word, the metaphor of climbing mountains was a common one for this practice too. It’s not that you conquer a mountain when you reach its summit, but rather that you gain a respect for it. And should the clouds clear for a moment, and the world opens up before you, the amazement stems from appreciating something of your own smallness before the glory of the vista. That is the pleasure, and consolation, of the agnostic way of life.