Active and welcoming curiosity

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on April 17, 2020 in Uncategorized

Our primary tool in proceeding constructively into any activity, be it primarily physical, mental or emotional, is our attention. The quality, tone and expansiveness of our attention determines co-ordination and organization of the entire instrument of self in activities from mundane to complex. Any activity offers an opportunity for welcoming curiosity. The skill of an active and receptive curiosity, even a cheerful not knowing, can create the ground for new solutions, insights and discoveries.

In the familiar action of moving from sitting to standing, we probably believe we know the “right” and “wrong” means. We may be eager to collect the one bit of evidence out of our entire experience that indicates “wrongness”. An incurious use of attention would note interference and attempt change of that specific detail. Attention has narrowed, and likely become critical and more fraught. We want to be right, so we go about righting what we believe to be wrong. Struggle ensues, failure looms, frustration shadows our attention. We’ve narrowed to a a keyhole of perception, a fragment of the view.

But if we allow the time to acknowledge the larger picture of our entire self supported by gravity and the wave of breath, if we curiously and happily decide not to know a specific cause or solution, or even what a sensation means, we can play with welcoming a previously unknown solution. We have time to see and hear the world outside ourselves, to request what we don’t know instead of what we do.

It’s a spiral of curiosity and welcoming. I may not know how to proceed, but my instrument of self is far more complex and changeable than my need to be right. Perhaps I can allow the evidence of interference to arise, note the data, avoid direct engagement with the data, decide what I don’t want, and actively welcome a new and more elastic experience. It’s not what I do, it’s what I don’t do. It’s dedicated work to allow things to be easy, but it seems worth the effort.

The ground stands me. My primary activity was to welcome a larger attention and get out of the way. Curiosity becomes the means, and knowing answers in advance loses appeal.

The activity does itself.