connect to wonder

Posted on February 12, 2009



“Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”


When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

Mary Oliver

Awareness of what presents itself to me involves a double movement of attention: silencing the familiar and welcoming the strange. Each time I approach a strange object, person, or event, I have a tendency to let my present needs, past experience, or expectations for the future determine what I will see. If I am to appreciate the uniqueness of any datum, I must be sufficiently aware of my preconceived ideas and characteristic emotional distortions to bracket them long enough to welcome strangeness and novelty into my perceptual world.

Sam Keen in “To a Dancing God”

“Wonder is one of the greatest gifts that children bring into our lives, for children embody wonder in the purest sense.

“I have found that the more profound a person’s knowledge, the greater the likelihood that this person has cultivated a capacity for wonder. And the narrower, shallower, and more limited a person’s knowledge, the less likely it is that this person will have cultivated a capacity for wonder.

“Jack Whalen of Xerox PARC is a highly respected expert on knowledge communities and ethnographic observation. Captivated, I listened as he told me how he had developed an ethnographic method for observing and analyzing people’s work ‘practices’. At the end, I asked him, ‘If you apply your methodology to yourself, what are your own most critical work practices? What work practices do you use that allow you to perform your kind of work?

“He reflected for a moment and then said, ‘Building relationships with people and cultivating a deep interest in other scientific disciplines.’ He paused. ‘And wonderment. Essentially what I do is to develop a discipline of endless wonderment. Oh, look, look at this world!”

(Otto Scharmer, Theory U, 2009, p.134)

I find it fascinating that cutting edge international research for organizational learning and change is incorporating deeply spiritual principles. This research also applies to individuals. That’s why it works.

The above is from the Chapter on Seeing. Research is stressing the importance of seeing reality . . . as it is.

Not as you want to see it, or as you want it to be, or as your mamma says it is, or as our culture says it is, or as the church says it is, but as it really is.

There is a discipline that leads us to learning and change. Here is the discipline:

In order for learning and change to occur individually or organizationally,

We must learn to see reality as it is.

In order to see reality

We must suspend judgment and connect to wonder.

When we connect to wonder, then we are approaching life with an open heart and an open mind . . . a sense of awe and mystery and discovery.

Although not easy, it is quite simple, really,

“Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”