The value of being ‘curious’


Today has been a delightful day for a very english yogi. Life threw him the opportunity to practice kindness and compassion. And curiosity was at the heart of this.

Kindness because he had the opportunity to help a number of people. Nothing too big, just simply turning up and welcoming people to a new home and showing them round, and giving them information to make their life easier.  I really enjoyed the day for this. I think some of them did too. Who knows where it will lead and or how it will evolve – but I am grateful to life for giving me the opportunity to help them.  Behind this was a curiosity about the people who turned up: who are they?  where have they come from? what makes them tick?  how can I help them? And curiosity led to new connections being made and people feeling welcomed.

Compassion because during the day, two old pals of the ‘yogi needed advice. They were arguing and spoiling to fight with each other. Language became terse and agressive. They came to the ‘yogi for him to side with either of them. They wanted advice. They wanted some sort of judgement. The ‘yogi isnt great on giving advice….the yogi doesnt like the thought of being a judge.  And he certainly doesn’t feel as if he can comment on how others should live their lives.  His Pals were mired in a quandry and some might say a mess of their own making.  The ‘yogi spent a fair bit of time listening to them. What was clear is that nothing is ever really straight forward or clear.  It would be wrong to share their argument and their issues.  But the yogi found that starting from a position of love, respect and compassion seems to be much more straight forward than responding with judgement, animosity, criticism or ridicule. So we make mistakes. But it’s not to far a leap from a mistake to learning and wisdom. So lets make mistakes and lets learn from them. The interesting thing about this experience is that if we simply attend without judgement and hold to a sense that people make the right decisions for them at the time – there is a neutral logic in all of this and it is simply ridiculous to be critical.

Indeeed curious is the more hopeful position and from ‘curious’ springs love and respect for other peoples’ process; and from there – compassion. With this foundation, it all makes sense. And things can move forward, as they did. This was because the ‘yogi’s curiosity about his Pals’ arguements and issues led to a growing curiosity between them. Why does X behave like that? What does Y really mean when she says that? When you get below the surface you find a world altogether more richer and stranger. And when you begin to make sense of this world,  you know you are really begining to understand the situation. And curiousity – a gentle compassionate probing – leads to a richer, fuller understanding and new insights. Which is what happened today – for me and my two Pals. Somehow we are all the more knowledgeable and understanding as a result. No one got hurt nor hindered and the friendship is stronger I am sure, as a result.

The culture that the Yogi lives in,  has this view that curiosity isnt necessarily a good thing. It’s summed up in the phrase “curiosity killed the cat”.  Curiosity is associated with nosiness and intrusive behaviour. But if curiosity is driven by the principles of compassion, respect and love – it can be a valuable perspective.

I’m curious : what do you think?



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