This morning I spent a fair amount of time wondering where my curiosity went… I know I used to have it.
This all came to mind after listening to some awesome Buddhist postcasts from the Zune marketplace (if you have a Zune, you can download these podcasts with ease… they are called “Zencast”). The speaker, Gil, talks about brining a sense of curiosity and wonder to meditative practice and to life in general. He also talks about not taking things too seriously, because it can overwhelm the experience one is trying to achieve… to just go with the flow and notice without judging in life and in meditation.
And, I wondered… where did my curiosity go? Am I naturally a less curious person? Maybe I am. But, I think the answer is more complex than that…
The next time I have an appointment with my therapist (in several weeks), I will ask about the effect of trauma on curiosity. I have a gut feeling that there is a connection between my lack of curiosity and the various hells I have endured in abuse survival. Off the top of my head, I feel that it made no sense to be curious. Life just sucked. Curiosity seemed to get me in a lot of trouble that I would’ve rather have avoided. Asking my mother questions earned me punishment, scorn and lies. Trying to be playful, not gravely serious about everything I did and trying to give myself the space and time to be curious got me raged at and beaten by my step-father. In many ways, they broke my spirit.
I remember how much it annoyed me that my cousin (who I was very close to growing up) always told me to not take things so seriously. Ooooo… she made me SO MAD when she said that. If I didn’t take things so seriously, after all, I could be painfully punished. She didn’t know that. But, now that I’m an adult and living in a non-abusive environment, I’m starting to see her point. I think I’m going to call her today and tell her that and also to thank her for giving me good advice that I just couldn’t take at the time… however, the seeds she planted seem to now be taking root and I’m glad to have her voice in my head reminding me that not everything needs to be an emergency. 😉
I also have a gut feeling that some of my lack of curiosity has to do with just how I am. Almost like I was born this way. I have a strong drive to just get things done. It doesn’t always leave room for questions or curious observations. My therapist always tells me that she thinks my ADD may not be real-ADD. It may be something that looks like ADD that is caused by PTSD… a hyper-vigilance born of growing up in an insane home. I think it’s both. I have reactions that I have been told by doctors are only the result of real, honest-to-goodness ADD. For example, cocaine works like a sedative on me. I tried it a few times in my early twenties. I had the best sleep of my life, while my friends spazzed out. At first, they thought I had overdosed… but after a bit, they learned that I am simply weird. I look back fondly on that experimentation, because that was a turning point for me where I decided that messing with drugs was a really dangerous thing for me to do. I never know what they’ll do to me. The few things I’ve tried have given me ridiculous results. Even alcohol hangovers are weird for me. My psychiatrist is ever telling me how weird I am that ritalin can give me the loveliest naps and how klonopin was seriously unpleasant, while many people I know have used these drugs to get very different results than I do… Geez… get lost in tangents much? My point is… it is time to accept that I am the way I am. In some ways, I am like the average Jane. In some ways, I am not. My guess is that we are all like this to some extent. I bring this up, because this point helps me settle down and accept myself AS-IS. Not how others thing I am. Not how I “should” be. Just as-is.
This morning I did a little meditation on my curiosity. I sat back and listened to where some deep part of my mind thinks my curiosity went. It was like a daydream. I dreamed that as a child my curiosity wasn’t safe where I was, so it flew away like fluffy dandelion seeds on a wind. The seeds went somewhere save… some grassy place near a forest where they could bloom and grow. My curiosity is still in existence – it just went somewhere safe, you see… So, I imagined myself being in that safe place with my curiosity blooming all around me and I was glad to know that this part of me was at least somewhere I now know… that it doesn’t feel completely lost to me anymore.
My lack of curiosity has gotten me in plenty of trouble. It caused me to not question things that needed to be questioned… that were obvious to others around me that there should’ve been questions. This came up in my job a lot. I cannot tell you how tired I am of being asked why I didn’t think something was worth looking more into… well, heck… my brain doesn’t really work that way… at least not very well. Sigh… Otherwise, my lack of curiosity makes life boring… and lifeless. I’m not sure how to describe it better than that. Life simply loses all flavor and color when we close our senses to the world around us and our questions and wonder dry up.
I would really love to hear from ya’all how you cultivate your own curiosity. How do you do this? Have you had struggles in losing your curiosity like I have? Did you get it back… if so… how? I’ll definitely be bringing this all up at my next session, but in the meantime – I want to hear what you guys think. I’m all ears…