The power of curiosity is its ability to exclude the negative thoughts that no longer serve us. Imagine being curious and at the same time angry, fearful, hurt, depressed, and or feeling hopeless. Can’t do it?
Being curious can only be experienced with openness to the present world. This openness is not encumbered by past negative experiences and emotions. Take a moment to focus your attention on your state of curiosity. The scale I use is from -5 to 0 to +5. Zero is the neutral state, +5 is fully curious, and the -5 experience is so full of negative emotions, that it does not allow curiosity to exist.
Are you curious about what will happen tomorrow? What about the presentation you are giving? Are you anxious or curious about how it will turn out? What about the date with a new person? How much curiosity do you experience when you think about the evening ahead? What about time alone…are you curious about what will emerge, or are you trying to fill the time with distractions?
When you are thinking about an experience in the present or the future, what is your emotional experience? Can you shift it to curiosity? This shift will reveal what negativity you are holding on to as you step into the “curiosity context.” The objections to making this leap will reveal voices and beliefs that contribute to negative emotions.
Here is an exercise: When you become aware of a current or anticipated event, imagine stepping into it with curiosity. Write down all the objections that resist this shift. Take each objection and say out loud, “I prefer to experience XXXXX rather than curiosity.” Then repeat the list and say out loud, “I prefer to be curious rather than XXXXX.”
Notice which experience feels better and accomplishes the outcome you want.