Be Curious

Presence guides us to a healthy sense of self-restraint and self-sacrifice, enabling us to play with our attachments, to confront our own prison.  We may learn to slip out of the stranglehold of egoism, which is based in desire and in the thoughts generated by desire.  In being present ot the play of desire we can diminish the ego’s power over our inner being. (Helminski, Living Presence, p. 25)

For years now I’ve been encouraging my clients to BE CURIOUS as opposed to the typical state of mind of persons who come in to my office, which is BE JUDGMENTAL.  This truly a reliable way to assess your spiritual mindset in any given situation.  When people begin to reach a new level of spiritual maturity, they stop beating themselves up, and begin to accept grace.  They begin, to ask themselves, “Why did I behave that way?” rather than stating, “I’m such an idiot.”

I like the way Helminski adds the word “play” to this picture.be-curious-larger1

My recent forays into the ACT therapy model (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) has offered some ideas about our tendency to beat ourselves up.  ACT therapy claims that the very mind that has proven brilliant in solving external challenges creates an absolute mess when turned on internal challenges.   The mind does an outstanding job of dealing with, “I’m really hungry and need to find food,” but only makes things worse when trying to address, “What if my spouse stops loving me?”

External challenges are solved through trial and error, but as ACT, Helminski, and host of mystics assert, addressing our inner challenges begins with Presence.    And Presence can lead to curiosity, even playfulness, all in the midst of our anxiety.

What’s keeping you from curiosity?

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About Wes Eades

I've been a pastoral counselor, marital therapist, and overall listening ear since about 1989 or so.
This entry was posted in Maturity, Spiritual Formation, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Be Curious

  1. Bob Tarbet says:

    I follow your ideas there Brother Wes, but I haven’t the foggiest idea what Helminski is talking about. But then I’m a jelly & peanut butter sandwich and steak & potatoes kind of guy. Happy Holidays.

  2. wmeades says:

    Bob, isn’t it obvious? Helminski is telling you to go ride your bike with reckless abandon, not giving a care what others might think of your peanut butter, steak loving Self!

  3. Chris Millette says:

    My curiosity has alway felt like plain old doubt when it comes to spirituality. To find playfullness in the midst of my anxiety would be a true blessing. Instead I find myself more anxious because I cant seem find my playfulness. I think I sound more and more like I should be in therapy.

  4. Martha says:

    For me, Presence has been a good companion while exploring curiosity; and a trusted guide in searching for truth and the dispelling of some childhood myths. It follows me everywhere, in therapy, silliness, or listening to world news. I and Presence are One. I’m at peace with what I dont know, but my curiosity still is at play.

  5. Does this apply if the external challenges have not been met? In a time of financial crisis and record unemployment, I wonder if curiosity and playfulness are comodities for those who who own bikes and can choose between steak or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

    It makes me question what it is that I am doing to offer others the opportunity to even choose play or curiosity rather than survival.

    Thanks, Wes, for the thoughtful post!

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