just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

The Curious Mind

Published on 23/01/16
by randy


“In the morning when you wake up, reflect on the day ahead and aspire to use it to keep a wide-open heart and mind. At the end of the day, before going to sleep, think about what you’ve done. If you fulfilled your aspiration, even once, rejoice in that. If you went against your aspiration, rejoice that you are able to see what you did and are no longer living in ignorance. This way you will be inspired to go forward with increasing clarity, confidence and compassion.” from The Pocket Pema Chodron, entry 37

The ignorant mind is not curious (it ignores). The ignorant mind is blocked, thinking it has the answers. It’s not curious and open to bigger possibility. It doesn’t do well with change and impermanence. When we’re locked and blocked into our sense of ‘being right’ we’re no longer in the learning realm. In effect, we’re thinking we understand that which is much bigger than we’ll every know. Some have called this blocked mind a dis on grace. The Mystery is huge and our small minds do the best we can at filling in the answers. However, we always have to hold an open mind and heart available to receive new ways of meeting the moment. In this fast paced world we’re seeing change and diversity accelerating in ways never before anticipated. We need to honor what we’ve come to know and how it worked for us. Yet, if resistant to change, holding strong to old thought, we further elaborate our belief system with convictions we’re ready to fight for. And so we do.

The curious mind returns to silence. With compassion to humanity, animals and the earth, it moves carefully, forever aiming to cause least harm. Thinking it has “the” answers, the resistant mind continually lives in stress, pushing it’s notion of what’s right and what’s wrong. Without curiosity and a deeper listening, there can’t be compassion. Without the wide open heart and mind we lose sight of each other, trapped in our notions of separateness. Yet, we know each person presented to us is a gift to challenge our spiritual journey.

When you don’t know what to say, “Just be.” The wide-open heart and mind has this different kind of knowing. It’s not trying to solve problems. Some call this emptiness and ironically, the bigger insights come from this wide open mind. The closed, rigid mind ignores the gifts from the Mystery, ignorant to insights from the divine. So when faced with the ignorant mind and all of its desire to persuade, it’s probably best to hold stillness and silence. If you speak you’ll only make the resistant mind angry. In compassion, know that if you had their life experience you too would be thinking and behaving like them. This act of kindness is particularly difficult when under attack. Here, the curious mind places emphasis on the study of one’s own mind in reaction to the aggressor. The mind of compassion seeks a deeper understanding, not to the dogma another is pushing, but to the interconnection with the closed minded individual.

The mind of compassion is open, curious and sensitive to the interdependence of all things. The ego is caught in fear, greed and survival us vs. them thoughts of separation. The ego wants to fight and defend. The spirit wants to serve. It breaks the illusion of our separateness into a bigger belonging, one which goes beyond family, community, state and nation. Our real security is spiritual. It’s where we confidently find our grounding in the groundless. It’s not about holding thoughts but about forever aspiring to go deeper with “increasing clarity, confidence and compassion.” Rather than held beliefs, it’s the never ending challenge to aspire to what works in our journey to love one another as ourselves. The curious mind is forever aiming to follow both sides of the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you’d have them do to you. Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to yourself.)

Recently our President has lamented at the frozen nature of our government. We’re seized with closed minds forever embattled in polarized thought. We have the carnival barkers on both sides claiming their “rightness” to the end. We’ve seen the fruitless nature of polarized debate, persuasive argument over issues we don’t understand, and the outmoded structure of our two party system. It’s not only time we pledge allegiance to our country, but with climate change and the nuclear bomb, it’s time we pledge allegiance to humanity and to the planet. For me, I wish our leaders in government, education and religion could sit together in stillness. It’s amazing what the curious mind can do. Surrender notions of ‘being right’, ‘fixing problems’, ‘pushing special interest agendas’. Just sit, be still, and allow bigger solutions to come up. Be curious from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep. This is the heart of real compassion. This is what I think our founding fathers meant when they spoke of reliance upon divine providence in the Declaration of Independence. ( And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.)


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