7-17-22 Curiosity


Curiosity:  To discover, question and be open to what arises; concern, interest, wonderment. Antonyms:  Apathy, disinterestedness, disregard, indifference, unconcern, opinion.

The scientific method: The method wherein inquiry regards itself as fallible (don’t believe everything you think), and purposely tests itself and corrects and improves itself. To seek truth depends on a viewpoint that is unlimited.

Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness. “For me, curiosity has brought a kind of ‘fun’ and ‘enchantment’ to an otherwise bleak, painful, and seemingly hopeless period in my life…Ultimately, curiosity is what allows us to become knowledgeable about ourselves. In some ways, this (What, exactly?) was the best thing to happen to me…Most importantly, my curiosity—that desire to keep questioning, to keep finding something new, an opening, a possibility, kept my eye on positive change.”-Caroline van Kimmenade, www.tinybuddha.com

My addicted mind did not have much curiosity. It often embraced fear, confusion and separation from anything that would not indulge my need to hide. I have progressed in recovery to a more joyous, open and engaged period in life. Now, I do make plans and work to achieve goals, but am more able to be flexible and accepting of what IS, rather than bemoaning what I don’t get and pointing the finger at others. I can keep a sense of curiosity about what I am feeling, and am often stirred to laugh at myself.  I can decide to relax and continue letting the light in. It takes curiosity to find that magic, and it often finds its expression in humor. 

There are still difficulties in life, times of confusion and suffering. We have dealt with many difficulties before, and we need to open up with confidence. To work well with our difficult times, we need to embrace our capacities and strengths, to be open and not shut down. We may sometimes have a difficult decision to make. We can engage curiosity and honesty to look fully at what is going on, and to help us make a decision based on what is right, even though it may have difficult repercussions at first, which we can be brave enough to step into. Knowing in the long run this is right and best. We can feel the tightness of forcing, blaming, fearing, or needing something to go a certain way. We then engage the breath, three times slowly, and let our curiosity come forth. A fresh breath of life and a willingness to allow unknown possibilities, is now available.

We can take so many things too seriously. From the things we have on our to-do list—shopping, appointments, meetings, getting online, work—to our recovery, our spiritual life.  What we’re doing, what we need to do, what we aren’t doing. We place a value in KNOWING and telling others what WE know. I would rather be curious and ask questions than promote my need to impress others. If we can be curious and look at things with a bit more lightness and openness, it generates a sense of acceptance and also keeps our options more flexible. We feel freer and more engaged with life, more willing to take action with intelligence and acceptance.

Curiosity is allowing ourselves to be open to ambiguity. It is enjoying the mixture of form and emptiness, worldly and spiritual, knowing and not-knowing. It means actively seeking uncertainty. It is inviting things to be as they are, and dancing with them. We soften our boundaries, are patient, and allow wonderment. Awareness is curious, open, appreciative and warm…not narrow, tight, demanding and dissatisfied. 

Not-knowing, being curious, is uncomfortable because it is a kind of emptiness, or openness. We try to fill that space by jumping to conclusions. Once we have an opinion, we don’t need to wonder any longer—the matter is closed. Those fixed ideas about ourselves, about others, and about the relationship between self and other are what stop curiosity. 

Curiosity, in order to be part of our path, has to be coupled with patience and humor. Patience acts as a kind of ballast, keeping the mind grounded, giving a solidity to what we’re doing, and preventing curiosity from zipping away too fast, saying ‘this must be this, and that must be that.’  Patience makes sure we go through the steps. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop aspiring to learn and grow.

Curiosity is a natural part of being human. Look at young children and the wonder they see in the world. As adults we can have fear and impatience about going to the store, meeting people, taking a new class, driving, worrying what others think of us, being out of our favorite food, etc., etc., etc. We have forgotten to bathe in the simple wonder of life itself and all the amazing parts of it.

In any circumstance, engage curiosity. When thinking of the day ahead, be curious—not afraid or controlling. Walking through your house, really notice what is there. At work, on the street, in the store, be curious and open up. You may notice how closed you normally are when you begin to use curiosity. You have to begin using a curious mind in order for it to become a more natural state of being. We are used to our blinders and subtle dissatisfactions with life. That is no way to respect and embrace this fleeting and precious life. Show respect for yourself and what you can bring to others.

Curiosity requires that we trust ourselves and have confidence in ourselves. It reminds us we don’t need to hide, create some safe, confining haven, or manipulate; instead, we can be open and authentic. When we’re curiously engaged, we appreciate whatever arises and connect with the real world in a much deeper, clearer, more honest way. We can choose; be habitual or be curious. 

Buddhist teacher and practitioner Bodhipaksa observes, “We notice so little of the breathing process that the mind’s actually bored, and we find that lots of thoughts are arising to fill the vacuum in our experience. And as we notice more of the breathing, then the mind’s less bored. It’s actually quite interested! And often our attention is so full of the sensations of the breathing that there’s no room in there for thinking, and the mind becomes quiet…It’s worth emphasizing as well that this exploration needs to be done in a spirit almost of playfulness and wonder. It’s not a checklist…”

“One can remain alive… if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity,
interested in big things, and happy in small ways.” — Edith Wharton

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site — fcheartofrecovery.com