Thursday, February 14, 2013

Breathe {inspiration for Thursdays}

A couple days ago in a yoga class, my teacher made the following statement:
Judgement and curiosity cannot coexist.

I've had to sit with that statement for a couple of days, but because it kept rolling around in my head, I thought I'd write some of my musings about it.  First, let me say that I both love and hate this statement. (It may be the rebellious child in me that reacts when faced with a challenge of "can't"...or the critic in me that hates generalizations with no room for possibility.}  

I hate the statement because of how I think it can be taken, but is not meant.  It does not say that judgement or curiosity are not needed, just that they cannot coexist together.  To be sure we need "judgement".  Our law system depends on it.  It is why we have speed limits (although there is argument to get rid of those!), why our children learn certain things in school, and why mass murderers are brought to justice.  It is the firm undergirding of a decision having been made or an opinion being formed...and then acted upon.  Heck, not just our law system, but our family systems depend on it.  When it is bedtime for my children,  it is time to go to bed, not to remain open to possibilities.

However, I love the statement in regards to approaching people.  To remember that when I have already made a judgement about someone, it means I've made up my mind about them.  It leads me to an arrogant place as I think I know the whole story about them or why they are doing what they are doing.  It gives me permission to dismiss them (because I think I have all the answers), and makes me rigid in my dealings with them.

Curiosity, on the other hand, softens us.  It allows us to ask questions - to explore - and then listen for (or try to discover) the answers.  It steps back from the I-know-everything cliff into a wide open field with space for movement.  Curiosity feeds a desire to know another person, not just on the surface, but deep within the story of his or her life.  

The great challenge of life is knowing when to move in judgement and when to move in curiosity.  To be honest, I think I tend to get them reversed in so many of life's situations!  And since judgement deceptively feels more solid, I probably go there first searching for risk-free living.  Oh Curiosity, teach me to move and dance with you so much more!!

Judgement and curiosity cannot coexist.

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

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