Acceptance and curiosity are powerful allies. I’ll explain.
When you see something for the first time it captures all your attention, you are drawn in and absorbed. In that moment nothing else crowds your mind, there is only the moment, and that which has caught your attention.
For instance, when you meet someone new and interesting. You pay attention to them and notice things about them. For a brief moment – before your mind starts assessing, judging or speculating – you are free from distractions like daily concerns, cares, and worries.
Ideally, each time you look at that person in future, you can see them with fresh eyes. There’s no need to pretend you haven’t met them before, or that you don’t know their name (though in my case this can happen, but for other reasons). If you approach them in a spirit of openness and acceptance you’ll be adopting what the Zen people call the beginner’s mind, bringing acceptance and curiosity to the experience.
The power of acceptance and curiosity becomes clearer the better you become at it. Some of the advantages are:
Less stress: Being ‘in the moment’ lets pressures fall away (for that moment, make it last)
Greater acceptance: It helps calm the mind so that it stops judging, anticipating and ‘knowing’
Greater intimacy: You are really meeting the person and giving them your full attention
Satisfaction: Even with chores you’ll get more enjoyment if you devote loving care and attention to them (and keep the moaning-mind out of it).
More energy: Focussing the mind on one thing is revitalising
Self-management: Giving something your full attention improves relations with others and the world around you. When dealing with a person it means you are less likely to have to ‘re-visit’ the discussion. Greater appreciation of your surroundings helps with prioritising and self-understanding.
Not just with people
Perhaps you are not the social type, and/or you don’t want to keep meeting people ‘as if for the first time’ (though, try it and that might change). No problem. Practice the power of curiosity and acceptance with your environment and daily activities and you’ll still reap the benefits.
Credit where it’s due
I was reading Olli Doyle’s book, Mindfulness for Life; a six-week guide to inner peace, when this thought came to me. I recommend the book.