16 Oct BE CURIOUS
One of the 3 principles of a Sophrology practice is to explore things with curiosity and wonder. Some exercises have us focus the curiosity on our body, experiencing our body for the first time. Other exercises have us explore and experience gravity for the first time, or our emotions.
The practice of curiosity, when we are in a meditative state, enables us to go deeper into our understanding of who we are and how we interact within our own mind; our bodies and how we relate these to the outside world. It also gives our mind and nervous system a REST from the stress of always being switched on – the opportunity for us to explore in a safe environment.
When I took this photograph along the Coogee to Bondi walk in Sydney Australia I was curious as to why someone put this sticker on this rail, at the particular place that it was. I was in a curiose mode as I observed the surfers out at sea along this particular coastline. Curious as to why someone would surf where sharks are known to frequent. We tried surfing a week earlier and when we were finished our lesson the shark sighting sign went up on the beach! That was likely the last time I will surf on Manly beach! So why are all these people out there, surfing in these waters? Is it the adrenal rush, do they think about the sharks? Or are the waves too perfect and the risk seemingly small? I then thought about what risks that I take in my life in order to enjoy the outdoors and engage my body – mind – spirit in challenging physical ventures.
In Sophrology, the exploration of ourselves with curiosity and wonder brings our physical body into a deep relaxed state, bringing balance to the systems of our body and our mind. It is rejuvenating to take time for this discovery process. The after feeling of these exercises is one of being lighter, more expanded and more free. “Free to make better choices, as I let go of judgement and what I know”. This is what it is like to work from the perspective of curiosity. Letting go of assumptions, or judgements, allows us to be curious.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it leaves us humans with heightened energy and awareness of our place in the various settings that we move through on a daily basis. Being curious brings us back to a time when we were a child. I am sure many of us tasted the earth`s soil a few times before our parents ended this curious foray into what is meant for consumption and what is not. We begin our lives as curious beings; practicing sophrology takes us back to this innocence so that we can let go of judgements and the many assumptions that we make as adults. It is an experience in freedom.
This leads to an experience of growth and learning. Many people use their curiosity to lead them to success in their lives. These people are seekers – of knowledge, adventure, challenge, relationships and growth opportunities. It is the seekers in the world that have brought about great music and artwork, cures to disease, new technologies, leaps in science and understanding the universe and solutions to simple daily concerns. Just think of all the small gadgets you have in your house that allow you to cook quicker, access information, keep yourself clean or enjoy the sounds of music. Our homes are filled with inventions born of curious people. Curiosity also helps us to look at problems as opportunities for growth or opportunities to do things differently – avenues for change – in ourselves and perhaps in society at large.
According to curiosity expert, Todd Kashdan of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, curiosity is crucial as it helps us approach uncertainty in our everyday lives with a positive attitude. “Although you might believe that certainty and control over your circumstances bring you pleasure, it is often uncertainty and challenge that bring the longest-lasting benefits” says Kashdan in his book Curious? Discover The Missing Ingredient To A Fulfilling Life.
As curiosity is fundamental to Sophrology, it is also fundamental to mindfulness. Being curious can allow us to look at people, objects or events in our life from a different perspective. Manifesting a learning and exploration of what could be versus what we think is.
From Volatire we have “judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers” and from Dr. Linus Pauling “Satisfaction of one`s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life”. We have certain approaches to life that can cloud our curious mind (see 7 Veils of Incuriosity from www.curiousmind.com). It is up to us to lift these veils for ourselves, and for our children, for humankind to move forward in both a respectful and dignified manner in which we are all more HAPPY with our own existence.
So how do you increase your curiosity factor? You can start simply by reading books on subject matter that you might not normally read but have thought about, read historical fiction instead of pure fiction, pick up a National Geographic and find something interesting and the explore the topic further. Next time you are a social gathering, strike up a conversation with someone you do not know and try to find some commonality. Do something adventurous. Go to culrtual events in your area that you might not normally attend. Volunteer at an organization to learn more about a subject or an area that you are living in. I became docent at the National History Museum in Singapore when I lived there. I worked in the children`s area and learned so much about Singapore and its folklore. It gave me a much better understanding of the Singaporeans. The possibilites to increase your curious nature are truly endless.
I leave you with the idea of building a curiosity chart for yourself. What new things would I like to learn or experience, where in my life am I bored – can I look at this with curiosity and wonder to make it more exciting? What aspect of my life can I lift judgement and invite a questioning approach? Am I ready and willing to become a seeker?
Balance on my Friends….