This book is dedicated to exploring and encouraging one of the 37 practices in our Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy. Author Monica Parker comes at the subject of wonder not as a spiritual teacher but as an expert in human analytics, neuroscience, and helping companies and organizations navigate change.

There is an “emotional language of wonder” Parker says, that’s found in every language and culture in the world. She summarizes: “It’s intriguing to see the similarities of 'wonder' across languages and eras: both a noun and a verb, the same magical numinous tinge, each definition a composite of several similar but not identical elements, all sitting cheek to jowl. It makes for a rich and intricate emotional brocade.”

To begin to see with eyes of wonder, Parker offers three steps, the first of which is “openness.” Openness includes a defense of daydreaming, and Parker offers hard science about the parts of the brain associated with daydreaming and how to enhance these. The second step is “curiosity,” and again both soft and hard science are offered. Third is “absorption,” which is both a personality trait and an exercise. Parker writes, “People higher in absorption tend to be more open, more curious, bigger daydreamers, and have greater mental flexibility.”

Chapter 6, “Wonder Mindset,” is full of spiritual practices including a few paragraphs on how to “Sit with boredom, and then banish it the right way,” and a unique “Short-circuit rumination with presence practice.”

Chapter 12, on “Health,” introduces the reader to “Wonder walks,” and refers to a scientific study in which wonder walkers “shifted their attention to the details of the world around them” in self-transforming ways. There is also discussion of “Wonder heals” in nature and elsewhere, as well as the benefits of forest medicine.

Perhaps most important of all is chapter 13, “Resilience,” and how the emotion of wonder and the traits of openness, curiosity, and absorption all offer effective routes to bouncing back from everyday setbacks and disappointments.