Playing With Words: Curiosity, by Joseph Anthony, EFT Practitioner

Playing With Words



Joseph Anthony, EFT Practitioner


killed the cat, so the saying goes.  It
also sparked every idea to improve something or to discover new ways to treat
illnesses or to make better mousetraps. In today’s world however, other than
cats feeling annoyed at fewer mice to eat, hardly anyone ever notices, or even
cares about curiosity.  Especially
teachers and corporate leaders.  They
need their students, employees, and consumers doing the same old-same old, day
in, day out.  The average Joe isn’t
supposed to be curious or to come up with new, innovative ideas.  That’s for the higher ups.  We’re not supposed to wonder about new foods
or brands.  Students aren’t meant to ask
any questions that don’t pertain to standardized tests.

Yet curiosity
is the very thing that will save the world. 
For this world to continue to grow, blossom, and evolve, more and more
people, especially children and their teachers and parents, need to become
increasingly curious.

Curious comes directly from the Latin and
means “careful, diligent, inquiring eagerly, and meddlesome (Online EtymologyDictionary).”  In mid-14th
century France the word took on negative shadings and began to mean “anxious,
odd, or strange (ibid).”  And, speaking
of odd, curious, when used in booksellers’
catalogs, means, “erotic and pornographic (ibid).”

Let’s hold
on to the original Latin for the sake of this post (it’s usually a good bet to
stick with the Latin): “careful, diligent, inquiring eagerly, and meddlesome.”  We can easily see the benefits of children being
careful and diligent, but once they start asking lots of questions we call
them, “Why Birds,” and get impatient: “Because that’s the way it is,” we say, or
worse: “Because I said so.”  We stifle
their questions with another DVD. We tell them to go play or take
them to another soccer practice—anything but sit and really answer their
questions or vulnerably admit we do not know the answers. 

DaVinci’s painting teacher quit when he realized young Leonardo was a better
painter than he was.  That man was a
coward.  Courageous and wise teachers
should welcome their students becoming smarter, more creative, more innovative,
and more enlightened in every way than they are.   They’ve done their job once their students
outshine them. 

The spirit
of asking questions eagerly should run like blood through the veins of our
minds and hearts.  It should travel our
very nervous systems and tickle our fancies. 
I am not suggesting questioning everything.  I am suggesting asking important, revelatory
questions that will change the way things are done—questions that will revolutionize
your life.  This is not knocking traditions
and well established practices in a wide variety of subjects.  It is to say however, if there are areas in
your life where you just go with the flow in the sense of living blindly (not
Taoistically), unconsciously, without care, apathetically, without any thought
of why you’re doing what you’re doing then you need a jolt of curiosity.  Ask questions that make you feel
uncomfortable, sweaty in your palms, nervous in your assumptions—thrilled with
wide-eyed wonder.  Ask the questions that
raise eyebrows, ruffle feathers, inspire sneers.  Don’t ask to offend.  Ask to know. Ask because you want a better
life, a more evolved, conscious life. Be meddlesome. Meddlesome into questions
of your faith and life-long held beliefs and prayers.  Are they working?  Are they bearing fruit in your life and in
the lives of those around you?  Your
everyday practices of thinking.  Are they
healthy, productive, fun, inspired, compassionate, open, creative? If not.  Change them. 
Ask for help if you need to. 
Revolutionize your life, one thing at a time.  Invigorate and innovate your spiritual and
emotional life with the light of curiosity.

And if you
make a change and “fail,” so what? Go back to the old way, or try another new
way.  The more we give ourselves the
freedom to fail and take healthy risks the better our world will become, the
more enlightened and plain old fun and amazing it will turn out to be.  Practice this discipline of curious
questioning, develop your sense of wonder, then pass that spirit to the
children of the world.

You might
think children have curiosity and wonder naturally, and they do to an extent,
but today’s children, raised on hand-held devices, computers, TV-nature shows,
have all the facts about everything at their fingertips.  There is no need to ask questions–real
questions.  Yet deep down, the children
of today are becoming increasingly restless (it shows up in teenagers who walk
around with their pants around their thighs and ear-buds in their ears).  Some attribute this restlessness to
diet.  I attribute it to a deadening
education system and to their own observations of the adults around them doing
the same tired things every day, watching the same old shows, going to jobs
they hate, watching the same old terrifying news sound-bites, and so on.  They are agitated, worried, concerned—they want
to know growing up is worth it.  And so
their insides stir with questions while their outsides play video games and
watch movies.

Curiosity is
the cure to the world’s restlessness.  In
fact, curious is related to the word,
cure (ibid).  If we would only ask questions—deep,
meaningful questions, inventory our lives (and ask trusted friends to help us
do this), cultivate our sense of wonder, then the gray layer of dust that
covers some aspects of our lives will clear. 
Even if we never find out the answers to our questions–the adventures of
searching and exploring, of rambling through the ancient forests of our souls,
traveling through the old towns of our unused talents with their wonderful old
diners serving up heaping plates of steaming wonder and joy, navigating through
the narrow straights of our limited beliefs towards the open, sun-dappled waters
of freedom, driving down the old back roads of our dreams—rediscovering the lost
tree house or the path leading to the creek where we used to sit for hours
writing poetry—these are the journeys into how we are meant to live.  Live the questions as Rilke would say.  And if the answers bloom before us or from
within us, then so be it.  And if they
don’t–enjoy the ride.  For through the
practice of curiosity you will be cured of complacency, the status quo, the
uninspired life.  You will become a
living lighthouse for the lost and the weary. 
You will, in effect, become truly alive.

 Thank you for you kind contributions to keeping the Wonder Child Blog going


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog