Shin Mei Spiritual Centre


When we are filled with awe in the presence of Nature, we begin to think about things outside ourselves. To see ourselves as part of a much larger continuum. To not see ourselves as the center or the pinnacle. When I look at this arbutus tree, I am in awe at its ability heal, to coexist, and at the beauty of its many texture. And this awe leads to to reach out and explore by touch the amazing spirit of this tree, this “more than human being.”

The Nobel Prize-winning Dr. Dacher Keltner describes awe as “the feeling of being in the presence of something vast or beyond human scale that transcends our current understanding of things,.”

For me, the magnificence, and the magnitude, of awe is a spiritual experience. It is the experience of “kami-ness.” The feeling of spirit within all.

The word “spirit” is derived from Latin. “Spiritus” means breath, and refers to both respiration and the wind. I take this to mean not only my own breath and respiration, but that of the trees and all the other beings in nature. For surely the trees and plants are breathing; they exhale oxygen and inhale carbon dioxide. And, in a reciprocal manner, we humans exhale carbon dioxide and inhale oxygen. What a match!

It’s true that you may find me in the forest leaning against a tree practicing this “reciprocal breathing.” And in this moment, there is awe. And there is spiritus. And there are kami in this awesome place.

Where do you experience awe? Look for awe in the Nature around you: in your backyard, the park down the street, the calm and beauty of a houseplant.