SGM May 2016 Theme: Curiosity
“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Share briefly what’s been on your mind lately or your highs and lows since we last met.
Thoughts for Contemplation
“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ~ Voltaire
“I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.” ~ Franklin P. Adams
“Curiosity is what makes us the perfect proportions of daydreamers, scientists and workaholics. It’s the driving force behind everything we do; it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning and it’s what keeps us up at night. Without curiosity, we’re just another advertising agency. So have a seat, stand up, lie down on the floor, and start experimenting. There’s always a better way, and we’re going to find it together.”
~ Curiosity Advertising Inc., http://curiosity360.com
“One of the most reliable and overlooked keys to happiness is cultivating and exercising our innate sense of curiosity. That’s because curiosity — a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something — creates an openness to unfamiliar experiences, laying the groundwork for greater opportunities to experience discovery, joy and delight.” ~ Todd Kashdan, The Power of Curiosity (https://experiencelife.com/article/the-power-of-curiosity/)
“If you approach the world’s complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only just scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size.”
~ Daniel Dennett (from Breaking the Spell)
“UUs come at curiosity in many ways. We were the little kids who refused to accept what the Sunday School teacher told us unless they could give us a response to our regular mantra of “Why?!” We are the adults who push each other to hold our convictions lightly, always exploring other answers and remaining open to the possibility that our “answer” may not be the “right” one or at least the right one for everyone. … We ask our children to attend “neighboring faiths” classes and send them to visit other faith communities. If we have any commandments, “Explore,” “Learn” and “Open yourself to perspectives not currently your own” are surely at the top of the list.” ~ From Soul Matters (UU Theme-Based Sharing Circle Groups Organization)
1) Pick a cultural, political or religious issue you know little or nothing about, and explore it until you encounter a consequence or an impact in your thinking (a catalyst for change). How to explore it is up to you, and what counts as “a consequence” is also your call. The consequence may be a changed viewpoint, a call to action, or something else. (Adapted from Soul Matters)
2) Consider the list of low-interest, but necessary, activities in your typical day. Choose one of these ho-hum activities and, as you do it, search for any three novel or unexpected things about it. Keep in mind that, even though recurring situations may look identical on the surface, any event — especially one involving people — has some degree of novelty each time it occurs. Be on the lookout for even the tiniest thing that is different, special or notable, and chances are good that you’ll find something. (Adapted from Todd Kashdan, The Power of Curiosity)
3) Go to https://www.ted.com/talks/judson_brewer_a_simple_way_to_break_a_bad_habit and listen to this TedTalk or read the transcript. It deals with using curiosity as a tool to break bad habits. Many of us have a habit we’d like to break, and have tried with little success, but perhaps this approach can help. Try this exercise and reflect on your results – did it help you reframe your habit and break it?
Questions for Contemplation
1) Does the reading from Soul Matters about UUs being curious people resonate with you? Do you see yourself as a curious person?
2) Is having an open mind and being curious important to your spiritual life? How is curiosity spiritual for you?
3) What are you curious about? What things inspire you to want to learn more about them? Have you pursued them? What have you done? If you haven’t pursued them, why not?
4) Whether or not you did the Spiritual Exercise, can you think of a time you explored a subject until you encountered a consequence? What was the consequence, and what was that like for you?
Sitting in Silence
Take a few moments to sit quietly and reflect upon curiosity.
Respond with your thoughts/experiences with the topic.
This is a time to supportively respond to something another person said or to relate additional thoughts that may have occurred as others shared.
Hymn # 1003 Where Do We Come From? (from Singing the Journey)
Where do we come from?
What are we?
Where are we going? (2X)
Where do we come from? (2X)
Life is a riddle and a mystery (2X)
Where do we come from?
Where are we going? (2X)
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
~ Walt Disney