On Curiosity

The Standing Up For Love Practice for today is to remind myself to stay curious. The practice of genuine, sincere, heartfelt curiosity enlivens me. Through curiosity, I see the world around me as ever changing, providing infinite possibilities. Curiosity practice is also a great way for me to avoid getting stuck in assumptions and judgments.

Genuine curiosity does a lot for me. For one, it invites me to move away from an expert position. I don't have to have all the answers. And the questions I ask can be really basic, like, “What do you mean by that,” and “Why is that important to you?” You can imagine how these questions might sound if not asked from a position of genuine curiosity. They could sound defensive or intrusive. However, when I take up a position of heartfelt curiosity, they come across as an invitation. I am asking someone to speak to those things that matter to them. Asking someone about what matters to them creates real possibilities for further exploration into territories of experience as yet unexplored. I once had a student say, “When you ask me these question it helps ME understand what I mean.”

Taking a position of curiosity is a personal act of resistance against ways of being that can stagnate me by suggesting that I should know everything, or that everything can be known. A position of curiosity offers the possibility of creating rich descriptions of people. Rich descriptions of people are hard to categorize. They represent a wide variety of ways of being. They stand up against descriptions that suggest that there are good people and bad people, happy people and sad people, right people and wrong people. They describe a world rich with diversity. I believe they represent the world more accurately, as one rich with possibilities, awash with variety and capable of sustaining us all, just as we are.