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Rediscover curiosity

6 Apr 2024

Children and animals know it instinctively. They don’t try to be curious, it’s just their nature.

As we become adults, we seem to lose it. Part of us longs to have that childlike curiosity again. That freedom from knowing everything. The pure wonder at the world.

The thing is we never actually lose it. It’s always been there. It’s only obscured by the mind that thinks it knows.

As we mature our logical thinking develops, and through socialisation we tend to develop a belief that the logical mind is the superior mind. In doing so, the other parts of the mind seem to become numbed.

Something about this never feels right though. We never quite feel settled in our knowing, so we seek comfort in the knowing of others. Instead of getting curious and looking for truth ourselves, we look for validation that our ideas are shared by others as a sort of approximation of truth. Ironically this is especially prevalent in many “truth seeking” communities, which tend to seek only to confirm their pre-existing beliefs.

The way back to curiosity is through not knowing. It’s to be willing to give up the need to be validated in knowing. It’s to be willing to stand completely alone. It’s to let go of the ideas about how things are, or should be, about what will happen, about who I am and what I believe. These concepts are not as important as we believe them to be. In fact most of those ideas actively make our lives more complicated and difficult by introducing conflict and tension.

Our minds can label, plan and categorise at a superficial level (it’s a useful tool that makes us humans unique) but life itself is not knowable. It’s only our minds that believe they can make it so. Unfortunately, believing something doesn’t make it so. Believing that something completely mysterious and unpredictable is knowable and controllable is nothing but a comfortable delusion. It’s nothing more than gripping tightly to the steering wheel on a playground.

The way back to curiosity is through the senses. Every ordinary moment is a complete mystery, waiting to be discovered. The plain old sensations that seem so familiar are not so ordinary or knowable when noticed fully. The mind labels them as this or that, but at the raw experiential level it’s not possible to describe them, capture them or remember them. Awareness itself is at the core of our experience, a blindingly obvious mystery, and yet we overlook it day in day out.

Instead of labelling awareness, explore it, experientially. What is it like to be? What is it like to experience this moment that blinks into existence and is just as soon gone? Can you even catch a moment? What is it like to experience a body, as if you had never experienced one before?

Let go of the known, and rediscover curiosity. You might discover something that deep down you’ve felt was there all along.

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Jordan West

Sydney, Australia

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