Being Curious: Choosing Presence on the Way to the Future

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by Martha Rouleau

It amazes me that amidst the constant bombardment from technology pulling our thoughts and jostling our minds with the allure of the future or the disdain of the past, I can miss the simplest opportunity to be in the here and now.

Regularly, I am on the way to the future ignoring that this very moment is the first step of getting to the future. Yet, through mindfulness, I can always expand my myopic view — where I make myself, my thoughts, and/or the political arena larger than life — and “right size” this engrained conditioning by embracing a more curious attitude: Hmm, what sensations am I experiencing right now? What is the texture or temperature of this sensation? Is it changing? In the workplace, when I begin to notice I am judging myself or another, it has been useful for me to ask questions of myself or another such as: Can you tell me more about…? I am curious about where that thought came from? I would like to learn more about what you just said….”  

Just recently, I recognized that I don’t want to try to know everything or even pretend that I know everything. The competitiveness of the world that in the past has engulfed me as a dust storm is much more interesting when I have chosen to step outside of it and hone in on its features with a sense of curiosity. I have noticed that my mind then shifts from being in the drama performance to being an observer in the audience … which has proven to be much more enjoyable and useful, although not as easy as being pulled into the familiarity of the storm.

A dear mentor of mine shares in her international teachings that we have to be wary of asking the question, why? Of course, there is a time and place for it, but asking why can spiral us back into thoughts, ruminations and worry in order to most likely find a sense of certainty. It actually may just be fine to not be certain, allowing the next moment to unfold with whatever wisdom it will bring into the foreground. So, why not be curious when a why arrives?

The title of Michael J. Fox’s book, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future, was for me an opportunity to bring my curiosity to the notion that the future only can happen from this moment. The unique combination of words felt like an invitation – a luring in – to be curious about what does happen on the way to the future. Perhaps it is an invitation for you, too.


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Writing to inspire mindfulness, contemplation and wholesome living, by Copper Beech master teachers, students and contributors.

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