Cultivating Curiosity, March 2, 2009

Ezra Bayda

The deeply ingrained human attitude that we need to be free from problems is really one of our greatest problems. For example, when something unpleasant happens, we’ll almost always react from the deeply held belief that life should be free from discomfort and pain. We might not even be conscious of having this belief, but because we believe it, it colors (or discolors) how we relate to reality.

What happens when we no longer cling to the belief that we have to be free from problems? Pick one small problem that you have (and don’t want), and ask yourself what it would be like if you could actually say yes when this problem arose, moving toward it voluntarily, consciously, with curiosity?

This is not a masochistic attitude; rather, it’s the actual (and often gentle) willingness to stop pushing our experience away and demanding that life be different. When we learn what it means to say yes to a difficulty, to be curious about what life is, our whole world turns right side up; it allows us to experience life more as an adventure than as a nightmare. This is similar to how we approach meditation retreats, where we come knowing it may be difficult, yet we’re willing, at least to some degree, to explore whatever arises.

-Ezra Bayda, from Zen Heart

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