By Kate King
When exploring the inner work that leads to deep healing, growth, and spiritual evolution, curiosity is the main ingredient that makes the journey meaningful. Think of curiosity as authenticity’s wingman. It’s the little glow in the corner of your mind, always observing and witnessing, standing back just far enough to grasp intricate concepts that may not appear obvious at the surface. Curiosity doesn’t get hooked by limitations, and it navigates situations with levity and wonderment.
When you apply a lens of curiosity to observe whatever circumstances life has given you — be it pleasurable, anxiety-inducing, or downright painful — you can open yourself to new perspectives that can contribute to elevating your potential for personal growth.
Curiosity doesn’t demand that you align with social constructs or check boxes that society deems important or valid. It tilts its head to the side to consider a new perspective, and generates wonder and awe where before you may only have seen black and white.
Though embodying curiosity can be quite powerful, it can also feel challenging to grasp its fleeting butterfly nature in the fast paced throes of modern-day life. Here are two ways to lean into unlocking your curiosity:
1. Bridge mind and body: When your physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and energetic bodies are together in synergy, the magic of curiosity becomes available to you. By thinking of your body and mind as two facets of the same being, each an extension of the other, you can begin to use your natural curiosity to learn more about yourself and the world around you.
How to: Start by taking note of the activity at each level of your being. Perhaps your mind feels like a busy intercity freeway zooming with thoughts. Maybe you notice a heaviness or buzzing sensation in your heart. Become mindful of the sensations on each level of your Self, physical, emotional, and mental. Add colors or other sensory input to your inner exploration to strengthen your understanding of the happenings within. For example, try using different colors to identify different feelings.
Practice applying a lens of curiosity to your sensations by observing and holding space for the myriad of data that informs your experience. If you can withhold judgment and simply witness, curiosity will begin to flow. You may notice that you feel more free to access insights and increase self-awareness in new fruitful ways. If called to do so, explore your reflections in your journal or create art about your experience for deeper exploration.
2. Notice impermanence: Change is inherent in all natural things — and you’re a part of nature too. This means there’s a natural ebb and flow to your life that influences constant and unpredictable transformation in all aspects of your life. Every exhale is the closing-out of a cycle, a little death that creates space for the new birth of your next inhale. When you embrace the impermanence all around you, releasing the idea that anything should last forever or persist even until your next heartbeat, the rigidity within yourself softens. This allows curiosity to emerge. You may not realize how grasping and inflexibility block you, but they act as blinding barriers that stifle any magic that could be cultivated by curiosity.
How to: Begin by looking around you at anything in your immediate vicinity: a tree, your computer, a bird flying past your window. Now consider the lifespan of each of these objects — mortal or inanimate alike — and trace them from their inception to their demise. Realize that regardless of how beautiful or functional they may be, nothing was ever meant to last. Each and every thing in existence expires sooner or later, and it doesn’t have to be tragic; it can be simply impermanent. Notice the new window into curiosity that is opened by the acknowledgment of the transience of all things. Consider their unique purpose for being, the functions they serve while present, and what the world might be like without them.
Use this new lens to contemplate your own Self. Imagine looking at Earth through a window in the space station — visualize the swirls of land, sea, and humanity below. The paradoxical largeness of your own existence combined with the smallness of your place in the cosmos is surely enough to both inspire and confound you. Allow it to do so. Consider the magnitude of your human experience and its simultaneous relative insignificance through the perspective of curiosity. Try to become more free and less constrained by cultural, systemic, and self-imposed pressures when you release the belief that your reality is permanent.
As you work on enhancing your relationship with curiosity and self-reflection, remember that practice is essential to realizing the full potential of this experience. Like a muscle, curiosity will grow the more you work it. The greater your ability to observe the inner workings of yourself, on a macro and micro level, the closer you will feel to full self-expression. Getting to know yourself on such an intimate scale is not possible without your willingness to actively engage curiosity.
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Kate King is a licensed professional counselor, board-certified art therapist, radiant life coach, published author, professional artist, and creative entrepreneur. She expertly teaches a unique transformational healing strategy that integrates science, psychology, creativity, and spirituality. Her new book is The Radiant Life Project: Awaken Your Purpose, Heal Your Past, and Transform Your Future (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Nov. 1, 2023). Learn more at theradiantlifeproject.com.