I was guest Blogger at Happiness Inside.com http://happinessinside.com/profiles/blogs/curiosity-didn-t-kill-the-cat

Curiosity didn’t kill the cat; it’s how it became enlightened by Josh Langley



How curious are you about life and about yourself? One of the major themes that keeps cropping up in the frog cartoons and quotes is about being curious, about always asking questions and investigating your attitudes, beliefs and everything around you.
When you get curious, you end up standing back from yourself and putting a little a bit of distance between you and what you want to investigate which suddenly lightens the situation or emotion. When you get angry, you can stand back and ‘notice’ how you got angry and you can then ask why.
It takes bravery to investigate yourself as most people are afraid of what they’ll find or they discover that what they are is just a bundle of attitudes and beliefs that they’ve picked up along the highway of life.
The author of The End of Your World and Emptiness Dancing, Adyashanti, quotes his Zen teacher as saying enlightenment is letting go of all opinions, which means even the opinion of oneself.
First you have to be curious enough to want to investigate what opinions and beliefs you have. Be curious and brave to notice how your emotions work and how they affect everything about you. All the great spiritual masters talk about it in the same way: notice the emotion, don’t resist it, avoid judging it, just let it flow through without reacting and then when the space has opened up you can then respond to the situation that caused the emotion. The message is you are not your emotions, you are separate from them. Just like you can observe your thoughts, you can observe your emotions.
Life suddenly becomes much more interesting when you shift your focus from the outside to the inside and start to explore. Pretend you’re Indiana Jones or a scientist in a lab and soon you’ll notice that you don’t need to rely on external or physical things to bring you happiness as what’s on the inside can be much more interesting.
I remember when I first started doing that, I was thinking about going back to work at the end of the weekend and felt anxious about it, but then I remembered that the external physical world isn’t meant to bring me happiness, I don’t have put that expectation on it, I can just let it be as it is and I suddenly felt so much lighter and relieved. (It didn’t last long, but long enough to practise it in that moment.)
Take a close look at how you put expectations on things to make you happy and how much energy you invest. Take friends for example, we expect so much from them, yet when they don’t live up to ‘our’ expectations we get disappointed and may even attack them. When we miss our favourite TV programme we get angry and upset, but if only we could find that little space to just stop and notice how upset we are and ask the question why.
When you start to have an argument or a debate with someone, notice how your body feels as you try and defend your position and make others see things from your point of view. Feel the tightness in your chest and stomach area, feel your thoughts getting more agitated, notice your body temperature rising as the argument heats up. Think about what this is doing to you physically and ask the question, ‘do I really want to feel like this? Is this making feel happy and bringing me joy?’
Investigate your beliefs by stopping every so often and do what Bryon Katie says and ask the question “Is this true and do I know it to be true?” Question your beliefs about your religion, your attitudes to life, family, work, children, refugees, other nationalities and the list goes on.
When we don’t put the spotlight of awareness on ourselves, we blindly keep making the same mistakes over and over, in the process hurting ourselves, hurting others and missing out on the wonder and joy of life.
However the key to being curious is to be gentle on yourself. When we find something we don’t like we tend to judge ourselves harshly, way too harshly in fact when we don’t have to. Just be impartial, be curious and ask why. So go on and hack yourself, it’s much more fun than watching TV!



Copyright Josh Langley, August 2011.

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