Want to turn up the volume on your sense of wonder, your appreciation for life? Brush off your curiosity and take it for a whirl.
Watch a toddler; watch a cat. How eagerly they approach the world! Every day is fresh and new and their senses are on and alive.
They’re dazzled by shafts of sunlight, by the strand of a spider web. They spot the dew on the morning grass and the bubbles in a puddle after a rain.
“What’s that?” they ask. “How does it feel? How does it smell? What does it taste like? What would happen if?”
Without boxes of words to fool them into thinking they already know, they’re engaged with the world and involved, first hand, their curiosity aflame to know it. And so their world becomes a delight.
Curiosity is one of our most priceless gifts. It whets our appetite for life and spurs us to acquire new knowledge. It enhances our senses of wonder and delight, and grows us into larger people.
Turning on your curiosity is as easy as paying attention, as looking and listening more closely, with less judgment and more depth. It’s the knack of tuning into your senses and wringing from them the juicy nuances of information that they bring.
Pretend it’s the first day you were able to see, or hear. Or that it’s the last one you’ll have before the ability is gone. What if you just got a nose and the fragrances of the world were all new? What if your sense of touch, or pressure, or movement was just turned on for the first time? How would water feel to your skin? Or hair? Or sunlight?
Curiosity is the art of allowing your mind to wander outside your preconceived notions, to ask new questions, to let in the subtleties and details you overlooked before. It’s trying new combinations and juxtapositions. It’s turning things over and around and seeing how they look and act from different angles.
Pretend you just arrived from some other planet. Play with questions in your mind. Where did that come from? Where is it going? How does it work? What is it made of? What is it for? Why does it do that? What if it went out instead of in? What if it were round instead of square? Red instead of blue? What if it could float?
“The important thing,” said Albert Einstein, “is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”