If you think you’re nothing but average and perhaps a little boring, you’re just plain wrong. When it comes to the human mind, no one is boring. We’re all, to a greater or lesser degree, able to break into extraordinary states of mind – what I call achieving Wow! – at any moment and in any number of ways you totally take for granted.
Before we go any further, it’s important to point out that Wow! can be divided into (1) ongoing Wow! states and/or (2) Wow! moments, which are potentially life-changing. If you want a good example of both, look to the kindergarten classroom. Children, particularly happy ones, live in a continuous Wow! state and are frequently visited by magical Wow! moments. Watch children around Christmas time – or take one on a walk to an unfamiliar park with space to run wild, tall trees to climb, and a stream filled with crawdads and frogs and all sorts of other goodies to play with – and you’ll see and hear what I mean.
Fortunately, the ability to achieve Wow! doesn’t end with childhood. As I said, we’re all capable and there are many ways to get there. For the population at large, most of us can actively seek out or unwittingly slip into states and/or moments of Wow! through…
2. Birth of a Child
3. Childhood (simply by virtue of being children)
5. Dance (rhythm and movement)
6. Defeat and Despair (dark night of the soul)
7. Discovery & Learning
8. Dreams of both the sleeping and waking varieties
12. Nature & the Universe
13. Novel and/or Extreme Experiences (Rushes)
14. Rites and Rituals
15. Special Places (Sacred Places)
16. Senses and Sensory Deprivation
18. Stress of all kinds (being sick, overly tired and hungry, etc.)
19. Story & Poetry (books, movies, etc.)
22. Trauma (accidents and other shocks)
23. Vocation and Avocation
24. Zoning out
25. Or something else
Achieving a higher level of Wow! takes a little doing. Some seek the experience through time-honored traditions, many of which have been within our reach for thousands of years. The following is a list of five safe ways to achieve Wow!
1. Active Imagination
2. Deep Breathing (not hyperventilation)
5. Prayer & Chanting
6. Or something else
A few of you were born with or acquired special or extraordinary Wow! states of mind. To you Wow! moments may be commonplace or even daily events. To people in the business of categorizing and labeling you, these are called disabilities, but I’m going to drop the “dis” and stress the “abilities” part of that word in future posts.
Your ticket to achieving Wow! might be…
1. ADHD (nonpyschotic hallucinations)
2. Fantasy Prone Personality
3. Mild Dissociative Disorder
4. Mild Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
6. Or something else
The boundary lines between the above categories aren’t black and white, but gray, or maybe indigo. Epiphanies, for example, often come out of the blue, but just as often they are inspired by creativity, discovery, and even traumas. Many temporal lobe epileptics experience déjà vu, a common dissociative disorder symptom, as well as synesthesia, in which the sense perceptions become blurred, allowing some people to taste colors or see certain sounds and so on. And don’t worry if my lists seem short. I plan to grow them. So if you see an important category missing, give me a shout.
Exploring these many pathways to achieving Wow! is what this series of posts (100-word stories & wonders) is going to be about. I hope you read and enjoy and help me add to the above lists.