Sunday, February 21, 2010

Friendly Curiosity

In the practice of vipassana meditation, we cultivate what is often referred to as "friendly curiosity." This means that our practice takes on the quality of an exploration, but one without any particular goal in mind. The journey becomes the destination.

Curiosity begins as soon as we begin our practice when we sit on our cushion or chair. We can deploy this friendly curiosity toward the feelings in the body as they arise, or to the never-ending torrent of thoughts as they flow through our mind. We can turn toward these experiences and quietly ask within, "What is this?" as each new experience becomes known.

When the our awareness comes to rest in the feeling of the breath, as it naturally will when we are still and quiet, we can treat this new phenomenon with the same friendly curiosity. If we really investigate the breath we find that no two breaths are alike. This kind of insight and awareness can lead to an ever-growing sense of wonder and awe, excellent qualities for an explorer to possess. 

Everything that happens during our practice can be met with this friendly curiosity. In turn, we can apply this same quality of curiosity to the events and experiences of our daily life. Living mindfully in this way results in continuous insights about all of life as it is being lived which may help us to become more effective in meeting life's challenges.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes. ~ Marcel Proust

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