The Virtue Of Curiosity

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”-Albert Einstein

One virtue I admire the older I get is the inquisitive nature that is available to us. It is expected that children ask numerous questions on how the world works and are receptive to the responses given. Yet somehow as we age, there’s an inverse correlation. As curiosity decreases, our know-it-all nature increases.

We believe we know how the world works, how we feel, others feel , and therefore don’t bother to ask. In addition, there is so much going in our own personal worlds with responsibilities and obligations that we don’t bother to wonder. Why do we want to know more if we don’t really care about the answers?

Remember when you first met a crush or a new friend you deeply connected with? You wanted to know everything about them. Questions arose with ease, and you were genuinely interested in how the other person would respond. Hopefully the process was mutual. As you inquired, they did as well. You could talk for hours, because you just wanted to be in each other’s atmospheres.

I value and admire observing people engage in conversations or interviews with curiosity. I have been listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast, and I hear her demonstrate this frequently. On a recent episode with Buddhist Psychologist and Teacher Jack Kornfield, she inquired what metta/loving kindness meditation was. Although I knew she knew the definition, she wanted to hear the wisdom Jack had to offer on this particular technique. She responds to his answer with appreciation, and actually at times asks him to repeat it so the words will seep into her bones. She can live into it. Even though we think we may know the answer, if we ask a question with innocence, we may be surprised at the response that is revealed by this particular person on this day. There is variance.

Another time the sense of wonder is heightened for most of us is when we travel. The language, scenery, people, currency, cuisine, and fashion may be exotic for us. We cannot help but be curious. It’s easy to be full of wonder when novelty arises. The question becomes how do you maintain that sincere mesmerized inquisitive nature when the monotony of everyday life prevails.

This virtue of having authentic curiosity in our workplace, marriages, family, and friendships seem vital to stay engaged with life. How can you try to start to see the world through the eyes of a child, lover, or tourist? What’s one thing can you do today to demonstrate being genuinely interested with one aspect of your daily life? What can you focus on with wonder?

A reminder there are so many tiny aspects we can start to shift with these new eyes: our pets, commute to work, partner, how we sit and walk, the way we eat or drink, interactions with families, or even how we choose to shower. The aspects are limitless. Change it up. Be curious and observe the benefits of being interested in your life again.

“Curiosity is the list of the mind.”-Thomas Hobbes

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