The Luxury of Curiosity
There's a little myth going around that I would like to address:
The myth that says that curiosity is a luxury. Now you might not have heard someone say this out loud, but believe me - it's there.
- It underlies most of our educational systems where curiosity is encouraged only as a step in finding the right answer.
- It underlies most of our work environments where curiosity is deemed unproductive and cornered in "think-tank" meetings (where productivity is still the goal). (The general exception? Around the water cooler where the more curious you are the more gossip you produce.)
- It underlies most of our religious systems where the beliefs are lined out for you and curiosity is only for wondering how your life can best fit those beliefs. (You may disagree. That's ok. Stick with me here...)
- It underlies our daily patterns where we simply don't have or make time for curiosity amidst all of the to-do's.
- It even underlies our colloquial sayings. We won't even discuss what curiosity did to Mittens and her 9 lives. (R.I.P.)
And yet - curiosity and the space in which it exists is exactly what has led to every great discovery and transformation in individual and collective human history. Being curious about why we are here, why the apple fell and bonked the head, what is at the edge of the world, how ground up pigments look on various surfaces, if flight is possible, what that thing tastes like if you eat it,...even what happens when two sticks are rubbed together.
I was going to title this post, "The Luxury of Creativity". But to be creative, we must first be curious. We don't have to be curious about the outcome, just curious enough to create the space amidst the other "to-do's" in our life...amidst the other unconscious living.
We must wonder what life is like if we create our attitude instead of allowing it to depend on others,
curious enough about art and painting techniques to create a page or color a canvas,
curious about our bodies and how they work and the breath and how it might be connected ...which might lead us to the yoga mat...or out for a walk/run...
curious enough about our own lives and life around us that we even care enough to create.
It is my belief that we are here to experience life - all of its stories, all of these emotions, all of the pain and elation associated with BEing. That belief leads to a curiosity that pulses through every moment of my existence.
The more aware of it that I am and the more that I play, the smoother life seems to flow and the more at peace I am.
When I lose my curiosity - about the day ahead, the art I'm doing, the journal technique, the run I'm on, the yoga pose, my 5-year plan - life seems dry. This tends to happen when I allow that myth that drives life around me - that myth that this curiosity is a luxury - to seep back into my own being.
For me to LIVE - for us to truly, deeply, richly experience this mysteriously fascinating life, we MUST REMAIN CURIOUS. We must allow space for that curiosity to exist. We must play with the tools we have - and indeed, be curious about learning more. We must release judgment on the process and release attachment to the outcomes. We must create and act instead of just wallowing in a dazed state of curiosity.
Do we truly want to save our precious earth, find ways to co-exist even amidst our differences, discover how we can eliminate hunger, stop the senseless killing that seems so out of our control?
Do we wonder how to raise our children in this environment, how to manage our bank account and simultaneously our soul, how to paint something of which we are proud, how to feed our bodies healthy food without going broke....
how to experience life peacefully through all of this?
We must be at least curious enough to create the space to honor curiosity - to stop rushing for productivity and allow our days to flow with wonder and creation.
We - I AND YOU - must re-examine the myth we hold - right NOW - and discover
that curiosity is not a luxury we can afford to dismiss.