Radical Amazement

Sunday afternoon I began a week of training for our student peer ministers.  After a summer of much administrative work getting the Office of Spirituality up and running for the new academic year, it is wonderful to be with out students.

The session I presented this morning (after the Office of Spirituality’s Program Director, Sarah Farnes, spoke about the value of sharing our stories as a way of deepening religious experience) had to do with contemplative listening and responding.  Near the end of our time, we did an exercise that would allow the students to listen and respond to each other.

I gave them a short quote from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and asked them to reflect on three questions.  Although you won’t get the benefit of our sharing and responding on these, I thought I’d share the quote and the questions I asked the students to consider.

Abraham Joshua Heschel said,

Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement…get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.

What are you finding most incredible and phenomenal in your life at this time?

What, if anything, do you take for granted? 

What single change could you make in your life to live with a greater sense of amazement?

The students found their answers to these questions quite revealing.  You may also.

Note: This exercise comes from Diane Millis’ book, Conversation, The Sacred Art: Practicing Presence in an Age of Distraction.