WHAT LIES BENEATH
June 10, 2010 § 1 Comment
As I was sitting here at my desk pondering the possible subjects of this column today, I heard the wardrobe door perform its little slide on its wheels. It could only be one thing, of course; Victoria, preparing to head out for an appointment, choosing her costume for the day, perusing the exuberance of colours and styles to be found in the clothing on display inside her cabinet. I imagine her scanning the different possibilities with that sharp, expert female eye, much like a choreographer scrutinizes a row of dancers as she attempts to whittle down the contenders. As I imagine these things I find myself enjoying the simple realities and their resultant actions and behaviours that manifest in us as human beings. It occurred to me that a rich life can be led when we can occupy that realm in which small children move.
It is a realm where everything around us is accepted without judgement and where very few intellectual decisions have been made. Inherent in this state is an allowal for the many responses we will have to that flow of stimulai being given permission to enter us. The consequent effect of this steady intake and expression is one of extreme aliveness, something which is usually nullified and repressed in most of us by the time we reach adolescence.
While some judgments are necessary for our very functionality and survival as human beings, many serve to simply shut down the mental and imaginative faculty which sets us apart as living creatures.
That of curiosity.
One of the most salient features of one who is emotionally, spiritually and imaginatively shut down is a lack of curiosity in the world around them. We all know this state: it manifests itself in us when we find ourselves in an argument with our loved ones; often we will discover ourselves in the middle of a verbal battle, defending a point of view that we suspect to be false or faulty, completely ignoring what is being said to us, a condition that is ubiquitous in our political dialogue today: we no longer have any interest in arriving at a constructive truth, whether that be a subjective truth that will serve our growth and allow for greater openness and connection with others, or a truth that can be shared by the parties involved and assist in forward movement.
In those moments, as in so many others, we are what my brother, who works in the field of conflict resolution, calls non-curious.
Yet it is gratifying and potentially exciting to know that we can actually work on our mental and spiritual states of being, that mindfulness is something we can practice. It’s possible to take a simple enjoyment from seemingly mundane tasks if we are fully present and are able to enjoy our own presence and grace in the execution of our daily callings. All that is required is an appreciation of the moment and the sensual wonderment that is always on hand and can be most frequently witnessed in the behaviour of children, who have not yet burdened themselves with decisions that often end up shackling their inner lives and their beauty, which of course is to be found in the magic of their feelings, imagination and spirit and those qualities’ expression.
Take a chance today. Question a judgment or decision you may have made long ago about yourself, someone you love or a person about whom you may be harbouring indifference or more painful feelings.
In the surrendering of judgment, lying just beyond its hard walls, we may rediscover the bounteous gifts of curiosity which, if we’re not careful, may lead to fascination which, if we continue to be reckless, might just cause another sensation, renewable and absolutely free: that of joy, a sensation which can just as often be expressed in a quiet contentment as much as in whooping and hollering.
It can sometimes be found in the exploration of the seemingly plain box that houses the expensive gift,
or in the opening of a wardrobe.
The wonderful poet Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.”
In a refound curiosity about and fascination in the things which hitherto have bored, scared or wounded us, there are riches to be found which may manifest in a new and more frequently experienced kind of peace, happiness and possibility.
It can begin now.