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Curiosity and Wonder and ???

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Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/7/13 5:39 PM
Inject it into whatever practice and approach.



Thanks, Goerge Takei.

This is a thread about curiosity and wonder and putting a question mark over the current moment. It doesn't belong to anyone.

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/7/13 6:04 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..


The epitome of wonder is experienced when ‘I’ realize that I am unknown; that ‘I’ do not have the answers. ’I’ do not know this, the actual world... ‘I’ am always only a foreigner attempting to sneak a peek ‘outside,’ only to recoil in horror at the sight of the perfection ‘I’ am so obviously lacking. In a sense, the realization of one’s anonymity is itself an answer to the question: what does it mean to be fully alive?

Upon personally experiencing this answer, life becomes inherently wonder-full and engaging. As one’s experience is no longer riddled with petty presuppositions about what it means to be alive, one is open—fully open—to sensuously experiencing and intelligently learning about that very thing.

The ability of the intellect to recognize order within chaos (as opposed to the identity’s attempt to a create personal order with which to gild over chaos) becomes a simple, pleasurable and effortless exercise. It is in this statement that we may come to notice something quaintly counter-intuitive...by accepting and embracing chaos (that is, accepting that one does not know what will come next; by accepting that one is also part of that chaos) one may come to clearly recognize order. For how else could it be done? Surely it is impossible to consistently or accurately recognize order when one cannot even clearly experience what is unordered…But to understand this clearly, perhaps it is necessary to take a step back.

The universe, without the aid of the human intellect, is materially the same as it is with the aid of the human intellect, but it is simply not known to be that way, or any way for that matter. A stone may be a stone, but without the intellect, there is no ability to identify or define the patterns indicative of “a stone.” Without the pattern recognizing and categorizing functions of the intellect, there is simply chaos, in the sense of the definition which states chaos as “what is unordered,” and not in the sense of “aggression” or “violence” (which are connotations commonly associated with the word). The experience of life for an unintelligent animal is essentially chaotic, in that there is no means by which to create knowledge, recognize patterns in, communicate about, categorize, reflect upon, or apply value to the sense-datum experienced. And it makes sense that this is so—for if pre-intelligent experience were not this way, the intellect would be a redundant faculty of the brain; all would already be known and understood and there would be nothing to (re)cognize, no questions to ask, and no wonder at all.

It is the meeting of this virginal chaos (a rock yet to be defined or recognized)—the world directly experienced via the unfiltered senses—with the ordering capacity of the intellect (a capacity only found to this degree in humans) which enables the linguistic articulation of the order of the universe which always already existed (the rock as such, now also defined and recognized as such). The direct, unfiltered, seamless simultaneous experience of this complimentary interaction between chaotic sense-datum and the ordering functions of the intellect engenders the never ending experience of delightful patterns of sensations which have been named: wonder.

This wonder I speak of is not of the same meager intensity ‘I’ experienced while ‘normal,’ nor when ‘I’ was ‘enlightened’, but is of an entirely new level. It is as though one is perpetually questioning all things sensed and experienced and also answering all of those questions in some sort of elegant (and mostly subconscious) ‘dance duet’. It is as though one’s mind is always on the “edge of its seat.” And this scintillating, peerless, wonderful awareness is just part of what it means to be fully alive!

It is as a result of this wonder-full awareness that one may find one’s day to day dealings increasingly dominated by question, rather than by statement. (This seems to be a reflection of the intellect’s fundamental function, viewed at a macro level rather than a micro level). One’s interaction with other people shifts from judgment, accusation and wild-eyed guessing to one of sensitive acceptance and gentle (although often quite persistent) questioning. Further, I find that the majority of my conscious thought is phrased in the form of a question…I see no more effective approach than that with which to preface action or opinion, and I rarely have the need to repeat conclusions which were previously arrived at (unless such a conclusion be the very topic in question). And this statement allows me to reveal yet another counter-intuitive twist: these instances of conclusion-questioning also seem to consistently lessen-- especially if no new contradictory information becomes available-- as things are quite straight forward when one dwells where delusion can find no hold. (And yet, the wonder does not diminish, as it's cause is perpetually unperturbed ). To state this point bluntly: wonder has not a thing to do with material ignorance, mystery or insensibility.

This brings me to my final point, one which has only been implied until now: if one is not experiencing wonder, one must figure out why that is the case. Because wonder is an inherent, unceasing quality of the unclouded intellect, one can be sure that the identity is muddying one’s sagacity if it is not consistently present to one's experience of being alive. In other words, if one is not consistently experiencing wonder, one can be sure that there is work left to be done; and this is-- in and of itself-- a vital clue. Written by Trent.

NOTE: Edited out a word and a sentence to avoid agenda driven posts. Nick


Whether you believe whatever about whatever or whoever and whatever approach or practice you are following, the above essay may help snap your brain out of any possible unquestioned ruts and approach the current moment a little differently than per usual. Wonder and curiosity and putting a question mark over the current moment lead to good things in my experience. Leave agendas at the door or better yet put a question mark above them and ask why?

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/7/13 6:12 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Interesting post taken from here on injecting curiosity into one's daily life:


The Power of Curiosity
By Todd Kashdan / May 2010

Discover how cultivating an inquiring mind can help you lead a happier, healthier life.

What do you want most in life? For the vast majority of us, the answer is “to be happy.” In a 2007 survey of more than 10,000 people from 48 countries published in Perspectives on Psychological Sciences, happiness was viewed as more important than success, intelligence, knowledge, maturity, wisdom, relationships, wealth and meaning in life.

Happiness is a good thing. Yet, both in my professional research and in my personal experience, I’ve observed that when we focus solely on what we think will make us happy, we can lose track of what actually does.

In 2007 the Princeton economist Alan Krueger, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman and their colleagues published a paper called “Are We Having More Fun Yet?” They posed this question: Have the social progress, economic prosperity and technological advancements of the past 50 years changed the quality of our lives? Have these new opportunities allowed us to spend more time doing what we care about most, thus increasing our satisfaction and meaning in life?

For most of us, the answer is no. The majority of Americans spend less than 20 percent of each day doing what could be termed very engaging, enjoyable and meaningful activities (such as talking with close friends, bonding with loved ones, creating, playing, or pursuing a spiritual practice). Instead, most of our time and energy are spent either engaged in unsatisfying work activities and chores (commuting, standing in line at the post office, fixing broken appliances), or decompressing in ways that bring neither joy nor challenge (watching TV, snacking or just “doing nothing”).

It doesn’t have to be this way, though — if we’re willing to shake up our pursuit of happiness by introducing some elements of surprise.

One of the most reliable and overlooked keys to happiness is cultivating and exercising our innate sense of curiosity. That’s because curiosity — a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something — creates an openness to unfamiliar experiences, laying the groundwork for greater opportunities to experience discovery, joy and delight.

Curiosity is something that can be nurtured and developed. With practice, we can harness the power of curiosity to transform everyday tasks into interesting and enjoyable experiences. We can also use curiosity to intentionally create wonder, intrigue and play out of almost any situation or interaction we encounter.

It all starts with wanting to know more.

5 Benefits of an Inquiring Mind

Curiosity, at its core, is all about noticing and being drawn to things we find interesting. It’s about recognizing and seizing the pleasures that novel experiences offer us, and finding novelty and meaning even in experiences that are familiar.

When we are curious, we see things differently; we use our powers of observation more fully. We sense what is happening in the present moment, taking note of what is, regardless of what it looked like before or what we might have expected it to be.

We feel alive and engaged, more capable of embracing opportunities, making connections, and experiencing moments of insight and meaning — all of which provide the foundation for a rich, aware and satisfying life experience.

Here are five of the important ways that curiosity enhances our well-being and the quality of our lives:

1. Health
In a 1996 study published in Psychology and Aging, more than 1,000 older adults aged 60 to 86 were carefully observed over a five-year period, and researchers found that those who were rated as being more curious at the beginning of the study were more likely to be alive at its conclusion, even after taking into account age, whether they smoked, the presence of cancer or cardiovascular disease, and so on.

It is possible that declining curiosity is an initial sign of neurological illness and declining health. Nonetheless, there are promising signs that enhancing curiosity reduces the risk for these diseases and may even reverse some of the natural degeneration that occurs in older adults.

In his book, The Power of Premonitions (Dutton, 2009), Larry Dossey, MD, cites studies that have shown women “who regularly engage in mini-mysteries … taking on novel experiences that get them out of familiar routines (better) preserve their mental faculties later in life.” In short, a regular dose of the unexpected helps keep your brain healthy.

A 2005 report in the journal Health Psychology described a two-year study involving more than 1,000 patients that found higher levels of curiosity were also associated with a decreased likelihood of developing hypertension and diabetes. While correlation does not imply causation, these relationships suggest that curiosity may have a variety of positive connections with health that deserve further study.

2. Intelligence
Studies have shown that curiosity positively correlates with intelligence. In one study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2002, researchers correctly predicted that high novelty-seeking (or highly curious) toddlers would have higher IQs as older children than toddlers with lower levels of curiosity. Researchers measured the degree of novelty-seeking behavior in 1,795 3-year-olds and then measured their cognitive ability at age 11. As predicted, the 11-year-olds who had been highly curious 3-year-olds later scored 12 points higher on total IQ compared with low stimulation seekers. They also had superior scholastic and reading ability.

Other studies have shown that high levels of curiosity in adults are connected to greater analytic ability, problem-solving skills and overall intelligence. All of which suggests that cultivating more curiosity in your daily life is likely to make you smarter.

3. Social Relationships
It is far easier to form and maintain satisfying, significant relationships when you demonstrate an attitude of openness and genuine interest. One of the top reasons why couples seek counseling or therapy is because they’ve become bored with each other. This often sparks resentment, hostility, communication breakdowns and a lack of interest in spending time together (only adding to the initial problem). Curious people report more satisfying relationships and marriages. Happy couples describe their partners as interested and responsive.

Curious people are inclined to act in ways that allow relationships to develop more easily. In one of my studies, participants spent five minutes getting acquainted with a stranger of the opposite sex, and each person made judgments about his or her partner’s personality. We also interviewed their closest friends and parents to gain added insight into the qualities that curious people bring to relationships. Each of these groups — acquaintances of a mere five minutes, close friends and parents — characterized curious people as highly enthusiastic and energetic, talkative, interesting in what they say and do, displaying a wide range of interests, confident, humorous, less likely to express insecurities, and lacking in timidity and anxiety compared with less curious people.

Curious people ask questions and take an interest in learning about partners, and they intentionally try to keep interactions interesting anaging d playful. This approach supports the development of good relationships.

4. Happiness
The Gallup organization recently reported the results of a survey conducted with more than 130,000 people from some 130 nations, a sample designed to represent 96 percent of the world’s population. The poll identified two factors that had the strongest influence on how much enjoyment a person experienced in a given day: “being able to count on someone for help” and “learned something yesterday.”

What this poll confirms is that developing good relationships with other people (see above) and growing as a person are foundational components of a “happy” life. Both factors are supported by curiosity.

In fact, in one of the largest undertakings in the field of psychology, two pioneers in the field of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, PhD, and Chris Peterson, PhD, devised a scientific classification of the basic human strengths. This system was the end result of reading the works of ancient philosophers, religious texts and contemporary literature, then identifying patterns, and finally subjecting these ideas to rigorous scientific tests. Their research eventually recognized 24 basic strengths. And, of those 24 strengths that human beings can possess, curiosity was one of the five most highly associated with overall life fulfillment and happiness.

There are other important relationships between curiosity and happiness. In his book Stumbling on Happiness (Knopf, 2006), Harvard University psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, PhD, shows that, while we think we know what will make us happy in the future, we are actually less likely to find joy as a result of a planned pursuit than by simply stumbling upon it. It follows that by cultivating curiosity and remaining open to new experiences, we increase our likelihood of encountering those surprising and satisfying activities.

5. Meaning
If we are going to find a meaningful purpose or calling in life, chances are good we will find it in something that unleashes our natural curiosity and fascination. Indeed, curiosity is the entry point to many of life’s greatest sources of meaning and satisfaction: our interests, hobbies and passions.

While being passionate about something naturally renders you curious to know as much as you can about it, it also works the other way around: The more curiosity you can muster for something, the more likely you are to notice and learn about it, and thus the more interesting and meaningful it will become for you over time.

This is true of people, books, sports, skills and conversations. Often, the more curiosity and energy we invest in exploring and understanding them, the more compelling they become.

This has important implications for how much meaning and passion we experience in life: The greater the range and depth of our curiosity, the more opportunities we have to experience things that inspire and excite us, from minute details to momentous occasions.

Tune in to Your Curiosity
One of the best ways to better appreciate the power of curiosity is to start exercising it more consciously in your daily experiences. By doing so, you can transform routine tasks, enlivening them with new energy. You will also likely begin to notice more situations that have the potential to engage you, giving your curiosity even more opportunities
to flourish.

Here are four strategies to consider:

Build knowledge. Knowledge opens our eyes to interesting gaps about what we don’t know. When a marine biologist goes snorkeling and is able to name specific fishes by the size, color, texture, and shape of eyes and fins, he or she is going to be acutely aware of the unusual features that the rest of us will miss — a pattern of orange stripes that are vertical when they are usually horizontal. The child who can name 45 states is much more interested in discovering the five he or she doesn’t know than the child with only three states in the brain bank. The person learning to play the piano will hear more nuances in a piano concerto than the person who doesn’t know treble clef from bass clef. If you want to be curious, start accumulating knowledge. (For some suggestions on how to do that, see “Awaken Your Inner Sherlock,” below.)

Thrive on uncertainty. We rarely look forward to anxiety and tension, but research shows that these mixed emotions are often what lead to the most intense and longest-lasting positive experiences. People who take part in new and uncertain activities are happier and find more meaning in their lives than people who rely on the familiar.

Most of us mistakenly believe that certainty will make us happier than uncertainty. Imagine that you go to a football game knowing that your team will win. Most people would say that, yes, that would make them happy. Yet knowing the outcome in advance takes away the thrill of watching each play and the good tension that comes with not knowing what will happen next. We forget about the pleasures of surprise
and uncertainty.

Remind yourself of the pleasures of surprise by thinking back to the last five positive events in your life that began with an uncertain, unknown outcome. Think of sporting events, first dates, job interviews and so on. You will likely be surprised to find how big a role surprise plays in your joyful experiences.

Reconnect with play. We can add play and playfulness to almost any task, and the attitude of play naturally builds interest and curiosity. This dynamic was captured wonderfully in a National Public Radio story about an assembly-line worker in a potato chip factory whose job was to make sure that the chips rolling down the conveyor belt were uniform and aesthetically pleasing before being bagged.

This man found the job dreary. So he developed a game that made it more interesting: He searched for potato chips resembling famous people and kept a collection (imagine silhouettes of Elvis, Charles Manson, Marilyn Monroe and Jimi Hendrix). Because he was constantly scanning odd and bizarre shapes for celebrity resemblances, the day moved quickly. He also became incredibly efficient at catching misshapen chips.

Find the unfamiliar in the familiar. One way to become more curious is to intentionally circumvent expectations, labels and assumptions about “seemingly” familiar activities and events. It’s easy to prejudge an activity because we think we have seen it before or avoid an activity entirely because we expect it to be boring or unpleasant.

The goal of discovering the unfamiliar in the familiar is to suspend judgments and attend to how things are, not how you expect them to be.

In a recent study, researchers asked people to do something they reported disliking and pay attention to three novel features when they did it. This small exercise altered the way they viewed and felt about the activity. For example, an 18-year-old male bodybuilder who scoffed at crocheting spent 90 minutes practicing the task. The three novel discoveries he reported were 1) how demanding the process of making small stitches could be (he hadn’t anticipated that this “easy” task would tire him); 2) that it could be meditative (“time flew by”); and 3) that the crochet stitches could be tight enough to create flip-flop sandals (which was the project he worked on).

When the study subjects were contacted weeks later, those individuals who were asked to search for the novel and unfamiliar in their laboratory task were more likely to have done the task on their own without being asked or prompted (though it is unknown if the bodybuilder continued crocheting). A window of opportunity and willingness opened for these participants that had been previously closed off by their preconceived ideas.

This same little experiment can be applied to any activity in your life. Consider the list of low-interest, but necessary, activities in your typical day. Choose one of these ho-hum activities and, as you do it, search for any three novel or unexpected things about it.

With tasks that are new to you or that you haven’t even considered (like the bodybuilder who tried crocheting), ask yourself if you can find one thing that is surprising to you as a newcomer to this particular activity.

Also keep in mind that, even though recurring situations may look identical on the surface, any event — especially one involving people — has some degree of novelty each time it occurs. Be on the lookout for even the tiniest thing that is different, special or notable, and chances are good that you’ll find something.

This article was adapted from Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life by Todd Kashdan, PhD (HarperCollins, 2009). Kashdan is a clinical associate psychologist and professor of psychology at George Mason University.

Awaken Your Inner Sherlock
Our innate curiosity can easily become dulled by the tedium and familiarity of daily routine. Reawakening it starts with shifting how we pay attention — even in situations we’ve experienced a thousand times before. Here are some tips for shifting our attention and boosting curiosity.

Play 20 questions. How often have you been at a cocktail party at which no one asks you a single question about yourself? Make it a goal to find out something new about the people you know. Host a party and make sure to ask each attendee a couple of questions about themselves (ones for which you don’t know the answer). Or call up friends or colleagues and ask them 20 questions about their lives, interests, families or jobs.

Practice beginner’s mind. Spend a day actively looking at your life through the eyes of someone who has never seen it before. For instance, go to the tourism bureau in your city, gather the maps and lists of attractions they give to newcomers, and take a tour. Or find a map and look up a street you’ve never seen before. Then go visit the street with a camera in hand and photograph something you find beautiful.

Explore your passions. Be curious about yourself. What are your values and motivations? What makes you tick? Are there activities that make you feel fully engaged in life that you haven’t revisited since you were younger? What are they? Do one of them. (For more on discovering your values and passions, see “Embrace a Bold Vision” from the January 2008 archives.)

Make new friends. Meeting new people can help us discover previously unrecognized aspects of ourselves and our loved ones. In his book Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life (HarperCollins, 2009), Todd Kashdan, PhD, recounts an experience he had watching his wife interact with new friends. She told them stories he had never heard and, as a result, he was able to see a part of her he hadn’t seen before.

Try something iffy. Do you dislike broccoli (even though you haven’t tried it since you were 11)? Try it again — this time with a mind wiped clean of expectations. You don’t have to go into the experiment expecting to like broccoli at the end; your goal should simply be to discover three interesting, new-to-you things about eating broccoli. (“It was crunchier than I expected” or “When it is roasted, it is sweeter than when it’s raw.”) Repeat this experiment with any item on your “that’s not for me” list.

Catalyze new thoughts. Invigorate your brain by going in search of new ideas and perspectives. Watch a lecture online. Pick up a magazine on a topic you don’t regularly read about. Choose a book from
a section at the library you don’t normally visit. Listen to a different radio station. Read a biography of someone you’re not terribly familiar with. Subscribe to some interesting RSS feeds, or check out others’ recent discoveries via Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

Become a better listener. Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and author of The How of Happiness (Penguin Press HC, 2007), suggests that next time you converse with someone, make it your goal to learn as much about that person and his or her perspectives as you can. Instead of trading quips and reactions, give the person you are talking to space and time to really flesh out his or her ideas. Then prompt him or her to talk more with brief follow-up questions like “And then what happened?” or “Why did you think that?” Consider every conversation an opportunity to discover something truly interesting and thought-provoking.

A Daily Dose of Discovery
Research suggests that experiencing novelty is an important factor in both health and happiness. Opportunities for novelty exist virtually everywhere, but to discover and make the most of them, we need to develop our “curiosity muscle” through more regular and intense use. Here are some easy ways to begin expanding your own curiosity capacity:

When waking: Look with “fresh eyes.” Choose to see some things in your home, partner or family that you may have overlooked before.

When talking: Strive to remain open to whatever transpires — without assuming, categorizing, judging or reacting. Ask more questions and listen with care.

When driving: Instead of zoning out on a daily commute, make a point of actively anticipating what the drivers around you are likely to do next. Stay aware of what’s ahead and on the horizon.

When working: Look for opportunities to challenge and apply yourself in ways that spark your interest and produce great results. Ask questions like: What’s interesting here? How can I make this more fun?

When exercising: Instead of going through the motions, put your attention on the intricacies and sensations of your own movement and on whatever sights, sounds and smells are within range.

Start by devoting five minutes each day to your curiosity practice. After a week, add a little more time to your training — while cooking, eating, cleaning, bathing, paying bills, sitting on your porch and so on.

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/7/13 6:12 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Thanks alot for this thread content Nick - I was pondering about this very thing when I got up this morning - what it is like to view life without self referencing/agendas etc and here is the post with some great relevant material. Thanks. emoticon

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/7/13 6:58 PM as a reply to Rod C.


Fresh Eyes!

All our habits and desires, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral, are familiar to our brains. This trap of familiarity generally leads to not questioning, overlooking, ignoring, disassociating, blaming, trying to manipulate away from or towards, running away from or towards, trying to deal with or trying not to deal with, trying to cope with or not coping with, wrestling with, establishing a subjective relationship with, frustration, agitation, lunging away from or towards and fear when something threatens that familiarity, as well as feelings of being in one's comfort zone (which is always subject to interruption), in my experience. When you are familiar with some habit or desire or way of approach (to whatever), the brain just does what it is familiar with. Deeply engrained motives and agendas. When such habits and desires, urges and outlooks, tendencies and beliefs, stances and views are looked at with 'fresh eyes', the trap of familiarity loses the links that keep it in place, in my experience. Curiosity leads to a break in the flow of familiarity which leads to wonder which replaces the trap of familiarity. If the experience post curiosity is one of disassociation and/or dullness then one, probably, is simply getting caught in a familiar 'coping with' habit (whether conditioned by what one is calling an 'insight' practice or not). If no wonder results, then I would place a question mark over the experience of 'no wonder' and ask why?

In my experience, wonder can be assigned such terms as a sense of wellbeing, openess, lightness, sweet and calm interest, noticing sublime details and not giving a hoot about agendas...nor experiencing them and their results.

This is my experience and is subject to change. Experiment.

Nick

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/7/13 6:47 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
No worries Rod! Fresh eyes!

Here is another article on curiosity


Seeing with Fresh Eyes: The Power of Curiosity
by Susan K. Minarik

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

If I could change Mrs. Roosevelt’s beautiful wish in one little way, I would insert the word “undying” before “curiosity.” Curiosity is a gift that we’re all given at birth. The trick is to keep it alive as we mature.

Instead of seeing with fresh eyes, we see through a veil of memory and assumptions as we become familiar with the world. By reviving our sense of curiosity, we can penetrate that veil, see things anew, quicken our interest in the world around us and make new discoveries.

Positive psychology tells us that curiosity (along with gratitude, optimism, zest, and the ability to love and be loved) is one of the five character strengths that contribute most to our sense of life-satisfaction. It links to all of the areas that positive psychology founder Martin Seligman identifies as key to a life of flourishing: Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement.

And George Mason University psychology professor, Todd Kashdan, agrees. His book on the topic is titled, Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life. In an interview with Kathryn Britton for Positive Psychology News Daily, Kashdan says:

“In my book, I call curiosity the engine of growth. You can’t find your passions or purpose in life without trial and error experimentation. Curiosity is a mechanism that helps you create and discover meaning in your life.”

The Benefits of Curiosity

When she called curiosity “the most useful gift,” Mrs. Roosevelt revealed her keen powers of observation. Exercising curiosity brings us a host of benefits:

It’s fun! The new experiences that curiosity brings us are a source of stimulation and pleasure.

By letting us see even familiar things with fresh eyes, it lets us find new meanings in the familiar.

Curiosity roots us in the present. It lets us be more open, engaged, and to exercise our creativity by making new connections between things.

Curiosity fuels creativity and innovation.

Contributes to neurological health and may even reverse natural degeneration in older adults. “In short, a regular dose of the unexpected helps keep your brain healthy.”

It make you smarter.

Curiosity about others keeps relationship open, interesting, more vital. And it makes forming new relationships easier.
Curiosity increases your happiness level. “The more curiosity you can muster for something, the more likely you are to notice and learn about it, and thus the more interesting and meaningful it will become for you over time.”

How to Revive Your Curiosity

If your sense of curiosity has dimmed—or trained out you by someone who told you not to be so nosy!—don’t despair.

In his interview with Britton, Kashdan says, “Curiosity is strength people can wield. I can decide to go and seek new things. I can decide to look at a person from new perspectives. I can ask somebody about what they were like before I met them. I can ask my romantic partner what she does when I’m not there.”

So one key is to seek out new things. Add more novelty to your day. Get out of your rut. Try doing things differently. Take a different route to work. Sit in a different chair or a different part of the room than usually do. Park in a different part of the parking lot. Make a game of discovering ten new things that you notice or experience, or that you experience differently.

Accept the scariness of doing something new, of taking risks. Go in baby steps. Try labeling the feeling of “scary” as “excitement” instead.

Think of yourself as an explorer, a detective, an adventurer.

Look for the details that most people miss.

People watch in a restaurant or mall. What does a person’s dress, or posture, or facial expression tell you about them? Why do you think so? Is your assessment likely to be true? Where did your judgments originate? Are they likely to be true?

After you watch a movie or TV show or read a book, ask yourself, “ What did I discover from that experience? What did I learn?”

Above all, learn to ask questions. “Curiosity is questioning. By training your brain to question more, you can train your brain to be more curious,” the folks at New and Improved suggest in a newsletter issue about energizing curiosity.

They give these great tips for learning to question more:

The great sage Alex Trebek, the host of the TV game show Jeopardy, provides great wisdom every time he says, “Please phrase it in the form of a question.” We can use that advice to put our problems in jeopardy of going away by phrasing them as a question. Twist your complaint (I work too much.) to a question (How might I work less? In what ways could I make work more fun?) Read more about this technique here.

When you hear someone say “it can’t be”, ask, “why not?” Our colleague and genius researcher Andy Aleinikov likes to say “’Why not’ every not.”

Hang a reminder question on your bathroom mirror: “What am I curious about today?” or “What am I interested in learning about today?”

Google or Yahoo search “Curiosity” and see what you find. (Make sure your cat is nowhere near your computer screen when you do this.)

What would happen if you put some of these suggestions to work in your life? Are you curious about finding out? Do you wonder how the world would look if you were seeing through fresh eyes?

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/7/13 7:26 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
A microscopic tour of someone's backyard. Amazing! Get curious about your own supposed backyard, front yard, house etc. Are you trapped in the trap of familiarity? Fresh eyes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8NYDU4t8Aw

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/7/13 7:31 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Haha!

Notice if the flow of familiarity of your own brain triggers when the narrator starts speaking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3B3OnTVvmg

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/8/13 1:09 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
These articles dovetail well with the other article you posted on left vs. right brain thinking. Dead familiar boring concepts is not reality.emoticon

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/8/13 1:14 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Haha!

Notice if the flow of familiarity of your own brain triggers when the narrator starts speaking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3B3OnTVvmg

Woa that's really cool!

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/8/13 1:18 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:


Humans have 3 different types of color-receptive cones: green, blue, and red. Every color and shade we see is a result of these three cones being triggered by different wavelengths of light. But the mantis shrimp has sixteen of them. Rainbows must look quite amazing to mantis shrimps.

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/8/13 3:38 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
These articles dovetail well with the other article you posted on left vs. right brain thinking. Dead familiar boring concepts is not reality.emoticon



Perhaps not, but they may snap someone out of their 'rut' momentarily and see something with 'fresh eyes'. Boredom is the realm of the familiarity trap, in my experience.

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/8/13 4:03 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Richard Zen:
These articles dovetail well with the other article you posted on left vs. right brain thinking. Dead familiar boring concepts is not reality.emoticon



Perhaps not, but they may snap someone out of their 'rut' momentarily and see something with 'fresh eyes'. Boredom is the realm of the familiarity trap, in my experience.


Boredom in my experience is the lack of dopamine explosions that everyone is looking for. Seeing things with fresh eyes does create interest but people need to venture into different territory of habits to truly bring more freshness. You get good at the meditation but the behaviours have only changed partially but more potential is there to be explored. Doing new things and allowing uncomfortable feelings arise and pass away.

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/8/13 5:07 PM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Richard Zen:
Nikolai .:
Richard Zen:
These articles dovetail well with the other article you posted on left vs. right brain thinking. Dead familiar boring concepts is not reality.emoticon



Perhaps not, but they may snap someone out of their 'rut' momentarily and see something with 'fresh eyes'. Boredom is the realm of the familiarity trap, in my experience.


Boredom in my experience is the lack of dopamine explosions that everyone is looking for. Seeing things with fresh eyes does create interest but people need to venture into different territory of habits to truly bring more freshness. You get good at the meditation but the behaviours have only changed partially but more potential is there to be explored. Doing new things and allowing uncomfortable feelings arise and pass away.


Not that I'm saying you are dong this, but I would say that there is a difference in results between taking the angle of curiosity coupled with discernment and resultant wonder (what I mean by fresh eyes) VERSUS, just watching from the sidelines and establishing a subjective equanimous relationship with the object of consciousness (i.e. fashioning an eternally equanimous disembedding witness), simply watching phenomena arise and pass. Seeing those uncomfortable feelings from the angle of curiosity, ??? and resultant wonder interrupted the usual familiar habitual reaction that was the norm for most of my life as well as shed light on the subtle trap of the eternally equanimous 'witness' (a fabricated equanimity themed compounding in my experience), which was the case from so much 'insight work', helpful though it was while doing it.


I think there is a reason why the Buddha talked of 3 types of equanimities. The first 2 are fabrications and according to the dogma result in more rebirth in equanimous deva realms or simply more moment to moment becoming, helpful though they are along the path. The 3rd results in no conceiving at all. The 'not conceiving equanimity' comes about, in my experience or as far as I currently see it, from putting that question mark over everything including the watching things arise and pass without reaction i.e. equanimity.

Much has been learned from this, i.e. seeing the subtlety of cause and effect, the why and how of such arisings and passings, the subtlety of fabrications and how sneaky they can arise without knowing it. Putting a question mark over the highest of refined equanimous states I've experienced was the best thing I've done in my relatively short yogi career. Curiosity towards the entire gamut of experience and resultant wonder to all of it as well as including the new places you talk of is what I'm talking about.

In my experience, boredom is a sensation, perhaps defined as the absence of dopamine hit (for me an unpleasant sensation in the chest at times) coupled with a mental overlay and resultant thought loops of desire for the familiar (dopamine hit?). When viewed with a question mark over it, curiosity towards the why and how of its arising, the mental overlay loses ground, and boredom as a compounded experience no longer arises. Without the mental overlay conditioning the sensation of boredom, the sensations dissipate and pass as well, in my experience. Though i could chose to fashion an equanimous mental overlay towards the sensations instead and just watch from the sidelines. This helps, but I think there is a difference in results.



Each to his/her own.

Edited a few times as per usual.

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/8/13 5:30 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Richard Zen:
Nikolai .:
Richard Zen:
These articles dovetail well with the other article you posted on left vs. right brain thinking. Dead familiar boring concepts is not reality.emoticon



Perhaps not, but they may snap someone out of their 'rut' momentarily and see something with 'fresh eyes'. Boredom is the realm of the familiarity trap, in my experience.


Boredom in my experience is the lack of dopamine explosions that everyone is looking for. Seeing things with fresh eyes does create interest but people need to venture into different territory of habits to truly bring more freshness. You get good at the meditation but the behaviours have only changed partially but more potential is there to be explored. Doing new things and allowing uncomfortable feelings arise and pass away.


Not that I'm saying you are dong this, but I would say that there is a difference in results between taking the angle of curiosity coupled with discernment and resultant wonder (what I mean by fresh eyes) VERSUS, just watching from the sidelines and establishing a subjective equanimous relationship with the object of consciousness (i.e. fashioning an eternally equanimous disembedding witness), simply watching phenomena arise and pass. Seeing those uncomfortable feelings from the angle of curiosity, ??? and resultant wonder interrupted the usual familiar habitual reaction that was the norm for most of my life as well as shed light on the subtle trap of the eternally equanimous 'witness' (a fabricated equanimity themed compounding in my experience), which was the case from so much 'insight work', helpful though it was while doing it.


I think there is a reason why the Buddha talked of 3 types of equanimities. The first 2 are fabrications and according to the dogma result in more rebirth in equanimous deva realms or simply more moment to moment becoming, helpful though they are along the path. The 3rd results in no conceiving at all. The 'not conceiving equanimity' comes about, in my experience or as far as I currently see it, from putting that question mark over everything including the watching things arise and pass without reaction i.e. equanimity.

Much has been learned from this, i.e. seeing the subtlety of cause and effect, the why and how of such arisings and passings, the subtlety of fabrications and how sneaky they can arise without knowing it. Putting a question mark over the highest of refined equanimous states I've experienced was the best thing I've done in my relatively short yogi career. Curiosity towards the entire gamut of experience and resultant wonder to all of it as well as including the new places you talk of is what I'm talking about.

In my experience, boredom is a sensation, perhaps defined as the absence of dopamine hit (for me an unpleasant sensation in the chest at times) coupled with a mental overlay and resultant thought loops of desire for the familiar (dopamine hit?). When viewed with a question mark over it, curiosity towards the why and how of its arising, the mental overlay loses ground, and boredom as a compounded experience no longer arises. Without the mental overlay conditioning the sensation of boredom, the sensations dissipate and pass as well, in my experience. Though i could chose to fashion an equanimous mental overlay towards the sensations instead and just watch from the sidelines. This helps, but I think there is a difference in results.

Each to his/her own.

Edited a few times as per usual.


I think the warning you make is a good one. My current refreshing of experience is to continue to see what's hitting consciousness. It's more like noting without labels, especially to avoid dropping into old mental habits of fixation and rumination. I'm not quite at the skill level to see if that's enough or if that's too much effort or fabrication already. If there's any emotive quality or mystical quality added to consciousness then I look at that is just more thoughts trying to grasp at consciousness. What I'm doing is helpful enough that I feel a hell of a lot better and I'm becoming more functional and feeling normal in a healthy typical way where meditation is a skill to develop instead of something to need. Now I'm looking precisely at conditioning and adding more positive conditioning to nudge the habits in another direction instead of leaving things as they are. What they are are habits that are similar to before but they have less hold on me and perturb me less. In my last post I can already tell that adding cost and benefit thoughts inbetween the impulses and actions is already helpful in convincing the brain to do things differently instead of the same old mental ruts. I guess that could be similar to you question marks your add.

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/9/13 5:30 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0TvZRcwz4I

This film is one of the most brilliant works of art I have come across.

Here's a small scene.

Edit: The last URL was not working because it ended with a smiley

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/9/13 7:09 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai, could you say something about what is meant by the question mark? I am not sure I fully understand Trent's point in the penultimate paragraph. On the one hand, you have the non-conceptual experience of curiosity, interest, appreciation and wonder. Then there is what feels like a more conceptual "question mark" - the HAIETMOBA, the "what is this?", the asking why, which though can drive the curiosity experience, seems like a different orientation.

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/9/13 9:40 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
If I could give my take: try putting a question mark on a normally statement thought. Like "I am going to have a difficult day tomorrow" changed to "Am I going to have a difficult day tomorrow?" The question should be totally open ended with a real curiosity and interest, not trying to jump to conclusions. You can consider either option and just be interested in either option. "Oh how interesting tomorrow will be difficult, what an interesting thing that will be." This might give you a little taste for what it is like. There is also an aspect of it which is about having nothing to defend. Our identities are kind of like complex doubt-suppressing mechanisms for our worldview. There is this constant activity of providing ourselves evidence for our views and lashing out at sources that threaten those views. Try just leaving yourself in "dont know" and see how you have nothing to defend and are thus safe.

RE: Curiosity and Wonder and ???
Answer
9/10/13 4:00 AM as a reply to Adam . ..
Thanks Adam.

I am reading some Tibetan emptiness stuff right now and this all fits with that - so in mahamudra questioning is an integral part of the practice. And questioning as a basic orientation helps to break down our assumptions about what is real and solid (tomorrow is going to be a difficult, I am bad/good), not taking anything for granted, and provoking humility.

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