Curiosity and Awe as Spiritual Practice

One of the common reasons people find themselves in a Unitarian Universalist church is “curiosity”. It might be curiosity about what goes on there, or about different ways to worship. Ultimately, I think a lot of us stay because we are curious about one another and who we view the divine.

A healthy curiosity is definitely a virtue to those of a liberal inclination. Knowing that there is so much we do not yet know about the universe can be uncomfortable. Curiosity requires admitting to yourself that there is a lot you don’t know. I requires admitting that the universe is large and complex. We may never understand all of it.

Some of us find that exciting where others find it terrifying. It certainly can be both at the same time.

Anyone who has ever watched a baby discover their own feet knows that we are born with an innate curiosity. More over, we respond with joy to discovery, at least at first. Why that wears off for some is beyond me, but I hope that I can cling to it. That sense of wonder helps me connect to the vast universe, knowing that while I may never understand my place in the universe, I do have one and, as Carl Sagan put it, I am the Universe (a small piece of it) discovering itself. In that sense, my wonder has become part of my spiritual practice; exploration has become a form of prayer.

Or, as Albert Einstein put it,

Curiosity is its own reason. Aren’t you in awe when you contemplate the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure behind reality? And this is the miracle of the human mind—to use its constructions, concepts, and formulas as tools to explain what man sees, feels and touches. Try to comprehend a little more each day. Have holy curiosity.


If, like me, you think Unitarian Universalism is a force for good in the world and that our message of acceptance and encouragement can change lives, help me spread the word. Whether you can give a few dollars today or a few dollars a month, you can help tell people about liberal religion and Unitarian Universalism. Doing this work together matters in terms of both quality and longevity.

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