Theaomai; from thaomai (n.f.), to wonder. To behold, view attentively; to contemplate. It is regard for something marked by a sense of wonderment; a contemplative and ponderous gaze which carefully and deliberately observes an object in order to perceive it correctly and in detail. Theaomai involves more than merely seeing, it is noticing, recognizing, and taking note of something with reflection and acute interest.

—from the Key Word Study Bible.

Buckeye seedsThe greater the attention we bring to the world, the more beautiful it becomes, the more we stand in awe. When I walk into the field with my journal in my hand, my goal is to peel back the layers, and let a new aspect of the world reveal itself. I want to stand in wonder and learn something new from what I see. When I behold in this way I am constantly surprised and delighted by the beauty, resilience, ingenuity, and variety of the world.This kind of seeing takes focus, concentration, and practice but the fruits of this effort are deeply rewarding.

Let’s bring back the word theaomai (pronunciation) to describe this form of fierce, reverent inquiry. Better yet, let’s go outside and fall more deeply in love with the world through deep attention.

See also: Paying Attention and Falling in Love with Nature.