Can Curiosity Increase Your Happiness?
"Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life." Linus Pauling
Some of the most appealing and intelligent people I've spent time with are those who possess a curious nature. Explorers who put their ego aside and are open to asking questions and learning new things no matter what their age. Conversely, I have spent time with brittle people who cage their minds within an ego that already thinks it knows it all. Not so appealing.
Curiosity keeps our minds young, active and supple. It makes learning an adventure rather than a challenge. It keeps our attitude light and playful. Instead of worrying about what they don't know, curious people put their focus on what they would love to know and then seek it out.
Curiosity Opens our Eyes to Simple Pleasures
Curiosity allows us to enjoy the simple things in life. A curious attitude puts us in touch with our surroundings in a very grounding and delightful way. Instead of missing the moment, we can explore it, fully present and aware. If you try taking a walk in nature with a curious mind you will connect with your surroundings more and find your walk to be as good for your mind as it is for your body.
On a recent walk in a country park near my home I enjoyed noticing the changing colours of the leaves against a crisp blue sky and the prickly chestnut shells along the path. Instead of thinking about emails awaiting my response, I was fully present in my surroundings and returned home with a clear and rested mind.
We don't need stuff to be happy - we just need to notice
It's a common joke among parents that when you buy a child a toy in a big box, they would rather play with the box than the toy. Hanging around with curious kids is a great way to rekindle our own curious spirit. And when we do, we learn to be happy with less and find greater joy in the little things.
In The Power of Micro Gratitude Linda Gabriel shares a wonderful story about a moment of curiosity that brought her back from the brink of despair: "Through my tears my attention was arrested by the sudden appearance of hundreds of tiny rainbows shining all around me. I was fascinated. I’d forgotten I was wearing a t-shirt with a few rhinestones. The sun had broken through the clouds and happened to shine on my shirt at just the right angle to transform the fake jewels into mini-prisms. Vivid colors were dancing everywhere around the dark interior of the car. Suddenly I was like a 5-year-old experiencing her first rainbow and it was delightful.
Appreciating the beauty of the rainbows had broken through the spell of gloom and doom. No matter what else was going on, I could still appreciate the beauty of a rainbow and that was enough."
Curiosity and the Peaceful Mind
Teaching meditation in a candle lit barn every Tuesday night helps me keep my attitude about my practice open and curious. Some members of our group are new to meditation and I find it inspiring to see their curious minds learn new practices that are helping them enjoy peace and stillness. When sitting with them, I try and have an open and curious mind too. In guiding others into settling their breath and their mind I am careful to prepare myself properly with a fresh mind and, as a direct result, I'm experiencing a deepening of my own experience of meditation.
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Journey to Deep Relaxation - clear your mind and let your curious nature shine through
image credit midiman