07 April 2011

Awe and appreciation

"... the heart influences the brain. Scientists now understand that it is not the heart's rate or amount of pumping that matters so much as its rhythmic pattern. Anger, for example, produces in the heart a disordered rhythm as well as a quickening heartbeat. Awe and appreciation, on the other hand, give a highly ordered, smooth heart rhythm. A present happening is always registered in comparison with the backdrop tapestry of familiar norms in this particular human being; 'now' is compared and contrasted with 'usually.'" ... "It is not enough, therefore, to think sensitively, we must also feel wisely. And the more we do the latter, scientists are telling us (as writers on virtue have told us for centuries), the easier it becomes." (The Gift of Thanks, Margaret Visser, 2008; page 269-70) 

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