Collier and Lee Counties Edition

An Awesome Antidote to Polarization

Jenny Sturm/Shutterstock.com

We live in polarized times. The current polarization of the American electorate and federal government is rooted in “the polarized mind”, a fixation by individuals on one point of view that excludes differing views and provokes intolerance. Complex issues become black and white, and those with differing views or lifestyles are demonized. Beyond politics, this is seen in gun violence and terrorism, corporate abuses of health and safety, and religious and ethnic strife—affecting major aspects of our daily lives.

An antidote to polarization is awe—the wonder of being alive; living life with hope, respect, humility, wonder and a deep reverence for the adventure of living.

Psychology experiments at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, have shown those that practice awe are better able to see outside their own experiences and appreciate other points of view, which can transcend the tunnel vision and pettiness of a polarized atmosphere. Here are some basic steps toward cultivating a sense of awe:

• Appreciate the passing nature of time and life. Even while doing something disagreeable, slowing down and affirming the preciousness of the moment can sometimes render alternative perspectives.

• Be open to discovery and surprise. This is especially helpful if we are constantly locked in by assumptions about people or things. Think how politicians might benefit by being open to the possibility of discovery or surprise during delicate negotiations. The same principle can hold true with family and friends.

• Step outside the box of personal judgments and consider the bigger picture of life. Replace the prison of self-criticism often stemming from comparing ourselves with idealized media images with appreciation of the many facets of who we are and what we can become.


Psychologist Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D., is past editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, president-elect of the Existential-Humanistic Institute and adjunct faculty at Saybrook and Columbia universities. His books include Awakening to Awe, The Polarized Mind and The Spirituality of Awe: Challenges to the Robotic Revolution. Visit KirkJSchneider.com.


This article appears in the July 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Healing Touch Program in Cape Coral

Mary Pat FitzGibbons, a registered nurse and certified Brennan Healing Science practitioner, will lead a Healing Touch Level One program from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., June 23 and 24, at Hope Hospice House, in Cape Coral.

Correction

Along with chiropractic care, nutrition and wellness consulting, Bonita Beach Chiropractic, owned by Dr. Annie Ray, provides electrical stimulation and laser therapy at her office, not at homes.

Sabin Provides Cupping and Self-Care Products

Advanced Contemporary Cupping Practitioner and Licensed Massage Therapist Marisa Sabin, of Cupping for Wellness & Beauty, in Naples, provides cupping treatments and massages, as well as easy-to-use self-care products.

Crystal Moon Meditations at Both Mystical Moon Locations

Laurie Barraco, of The Mystical Moon, is reviving monthly crystal moon meditations at both of her area locations.

Impacts of Cupping Noted in Massages

One year after integrating cupping into her practice, Licensed Massage Therapist Mary Radewahn, of Power of Touch, in Naples, reports a tremendous response as part of comprehensive massages.

Add your comment: