Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cultivate Curiosity

Ugh!... This is a hard one,  I skipped it this morning and just flipped through the pages looking for a chapter that I could be comfortable writing about, but made myself go back and re-read this chapter and really think about it (because this isn't about being comfortable, its about being honest and about sharing with those I care about).  This is heavy, deep and meaningful stuff.   I couldn't stop thinking about this topic.  What does cultivating curiousity mean to me?  And how did I reach my current conclusions?   Lots of ways.

I am a curious person.  When I find something interesting, I will learn as much about it as I can (to the point of obsession) until I have seen it from all angles and "puzzled until my puzzler was sore" (if you don't get that reference  shame on you!).  It can sometimes cause me pain to be this inquistive (more on that later).  I need to know why.  More than anything else I want to understand.  So when this  'cultivate curiousity' suggestion popped up I had no real idea what Geneen was asking me to do so I skimmed the chapter and went on to something else (which makes it interesting to come back to later and see just how far I have come from the beginning).  I  have a slow and sometimes difficult time  absorbing the information that is set in front of me (I used to think that I was just stupid and that I had inherited this stupidity from my my greatest shame).  I work very hard, read a lot and think a great deal about a topic.    Mull it over, digest it and finally reach an understanding (if it is the 'right' understanding or not is not important).  I haven't gotten very far but from my various studies this is what I can understand so far (thanks to insights from C.S. Lewis, Aristotle, Lord Byron, Gandhi and Deepak Chopra).   To quote from the chapter:-  "One of my main functions as a teacher is to rekindle a student's interest in herself.  To assume that no matter how it may appear, she has good reasons for her behavior, and simply to be curious about what those reasons are."
It has taken me a long time to figure out myself (it's an ongoing procedure), and some of it was really painful (okay...lots of it was).
The gist, however, is this.  Deepak Chopra coined the phrase 'self-referral'.  I think that it is very apt.  Basically it is just about listening to yourself, really listening.  And being able to trust what you have heard.  There is no mystery about this, there are no tricks.  If you know and trust yourself enough, you can hear what your body is telling you.   Be egocentric about it.  Push out all of the crap and just go inside yourself.  Listen to every little bit of yourself, because when you ignore it you fail.  You become malnourished.  Write down what you learn so that you don't forget.

We really can trust ourselves, trust our bodies.  The human body is an amazing thing.  After reading Deepak Chopra's Book of Secrets I was amazed at just how clever our bodies are (that first chapter just blew my mind!), but I didn't just believe Chopra outright, I had to come to my own conclusions through extensive self referral.  I will give you an example.  A few years ago I watched a show called 'The Truth About Food'.  In one very interesting episode they were investigating cleansing the body.  There were two control groups placed in separate cottages, and they were given two diets.  One group did a cleanse, complete with rigourous diet and awful tasting shakes, the other ate what they wanted... lots of junk food, booze etc.,  They did blood tests at the beginning and the end of the experiment to measure contaminants in the body.   Now what was most interesting about the results of this experiment was that after a week there was no real difference between the two groups, the assumption being that the human body is capable of cleansing itself, without the help of drastic dieting, fasts or supplements.    I wish I hand known that earlier... it would have saved me a lot of money and angst.  Of course, this doesn't mean its okay to just stuff yourself with crap.  Just look at all the obese, unhealthy people out there.  It just means that if you understand enough about yourself and are able to interpret your own body signals, they aren't going to lead you astray, and that your body will let you know if it needs something.

It took a lot of work for me to get where I am this morning.  I have read countless books about nutrition, ethics, cultural beliefs, ayurveda etc.,  It was slow, and it was hard work, with lots of experimentation on my part.  I have tried so many things.  But worth it in the end.  I know more about myself, what I want, what I like, what I believe, and what makes me happy.  I know everything about what I eat, why I eat it, and how it nourishes me.  I know what is good for me.  
  I had breakfast this morning.  This is a huge change from say ten years ago, when breakfast used to be a pot of coffee (and bad coffee at that).  This is what I did instead;  I started my day with a cup of coffee.   This is something that I don't want to change and don't feel guilty about consuming.  I love coffee.    I am an really early riser and I am never hungry on waking, so a cup of coffee is just right.  After an hour or so I made some Banana Muffins with walnuts, and while they were baking  I made myself a fresh fruit salad, today was a quarter of a pineapple and a lovely organic gala apple.    Once the muffins where out of the oven I put on another pot of coffee and ate them together... it was really delicious, I liked the sweetness of the muffin combined with the taste of the coffee.   It was perfect for me, it was just what I wanted and I felt good.  This is a step beyond just self-referral, because now I am being kind to myself beyond just understanding my needs, I am nourishing them. as well.

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