Curiosity Is Wise and Intelligent
I like curious people. I do not mean people who are funny-peculiar curious (though I usually like them too.) I mean people who are enquiring and inquisitive.
This curiosity is, for me, a sign of intelligence and wisdom. Atheistic scientists can be endlessly curious. So too can spiritual seekers. Equally, both the atheists and the spiritual can imprison themselves in a fixed belief – and avoid further exploration.
There are so many mysteries.
No one can articulate how and why the cosmos came into being.
Explain what transcends time and space.
What is beyond infinity?
In neuroscience there is the forbidden territory often simply called the “C word.” C stands for consciousness. The best professors of neuroscience and psychology cannot explain how consciousness exists.
Curiosity is built into life.
We can see it in a toddler trying out anything. I once saw a toddler placing CDs into a bread toaster . . .
Perhaps plants reach up to the sun out of curiosity as much as seeking light for photosynthesis.
One perspective on spirituality is that it is never-ending curiosity. But our instinct to be curious is not only relevant to how we explore the world outside us. It is also crucial for our inner world, how we think and feel about ourselves, how we identify who we are.
This is one of the beautiful elements of psychotherapy and meditation. In those two practices we can enquire into the very essence of who we are, our emotions and thoughts, our instincts and intuitions, our relationships and habits.
Who is the I who is writing this? And why?
Why do I believe in Oneness? Perhaps it is a multiverse.
Why do I say that the universe is benevolent? Maybe it isn’t. Even then, I opt for Love.
Some cynics make passive-aggressive comments about people who are exploring spirituality. They suggest we are looking for something because we are needy, trying to fill a gaping hole of existential angst.
That criticism, perhaps accurate sometimes, completely misses that spirituality is about exploring and about expanding consciousness, curious about love, energy and connection.
Spiritual curiosity is the opposite of needy. It is sophisticated and often requires courage to ignore cultural conventions and to address our own inner shadows and negativity.
I love meditation. Inside the safety and privacy of that quiet space, I can enquire into everything. My limitations can be melted by expanded consciousness.
I am not sure what prompted this blog. Maybe it is because I have recently been meeting people on both sides of the vaccination debates and culture wars, who drop so quickly into the body language of defence and aggression (pursed lips, narrowed eyes, tense shoulders) and seem to have forgotten their intelligent and wise curiosity. It takes a while to bridge their defences and enjoy a conversation.
I love dialectics, which is the art of discussing the truth of opinions. In good conversation there can be a classic dialectic. My opinion meets your opinion, and together they create a third opinion. This resulting opinion then goes on to meet another opinion, which creates yet another opinion . . . Expansion and curiosity . . .
But like a snake swallowing its own tail, or a spiral, spiritual enquiry always seems to come home to a familiar place. Whatever my opinion, whatever your opinion, our curiosity requires benevolence and compassion.