Day 349 – Momentary and permanent curiosity

From another Irish writer*:
There are two sorts of curiosity – the momentary and the permanent. The momentary is concerned with the odd appearance on the surface of things. The permanent is attracted by the amazing and consecutive life that flows on beneath the surface of things.
* John O’Donohue, an Irish priest and writer, expressed the desire to live like a river, which inspired the photo on this blog and my ideas about existential curiosity.

Day 348 – You can’t always see the circles

A few days ago (on Day 346), I posted a link to the Coffer Illusion. On that occasion, I was able to see the circles by looking for them. This evening, I was treated to an evening out listening to a kind of music I almost never listen to, a kind of folk rock. The headliner plays all over the United States so when I couldn’t get into his music I told myself to look for the circles, to accept they were there and to find them. I really tried, but I couldn’t see them. I couldn’t figure out why this artist has such a good reputation. It seems you can’t always make yourself see the circles amidst the rectangles.

Day 347 – Feeling curiosity in your face

This morning out of nowhere I experienced again something I’ve written about before–a softening of my face, especially around the eyes, that feels like openness. I first experienced it in Tai Chi and knew (but had forgotten) that I could open my mind and awareness by relaxing the muscles around my eyes. It was nice to be reminded. 

Day 346 – The Coffer Illusion – how many circles do you see? / Boing Boing

I saw this puzzle (link below) on Facebook and was curious 😉 enough the check it out. It is an image that looks as if it is nothing but rectangles and the viewer is asked to count the circles. I didn’t see how there could be circles but I decided to try. I focused my concentration on circles and all of a sudden, quite briefly, I saw them. It made me think about how we can see something if we really try, but we have to be open enough to trying to see beyond the obvious to succeed at that. It was fun.

Day 345 – On vacation

It’s funny. I’ve written fairly often about how work pressure and to-do lists make it harder for me to be curious. Now I’m on vacation and I find I’m almost too relaxed to be curious. I am re-reading one of my favorite books, ate something for dinner I know I like, swam at a place I’ve swum countless times. It’s all great, but none of it is new, and I find I’m not even moved to practice curiosity by comparison. Perhaps tomorrow …

Day 344 – Stressing out (so no curiosity)

Why am I stressing out on vacation? Because I am experiencing a number of technical uncertainties at the moment (too long to go into). My great fear (a big curiosity killer) is damaging my computer irreparably and losing all my data. At the same time, everything seems to be working so slowly while we finally have perfect summer weather and I want to be outdoors (so performance and time pressure, also curiosity killers). Why am I even on my computer on my vacation? Because a client sent something back for revisions the day I was leaving. We agreed on an August 14 deadline, but I decided to get it done now so that I can stop thinking about it. Ick! Still, I have now sent it off and shall hope for better conditions and more curiosity tomorrow.

Day 343 – Eating anchovies

A couple of years ago I did a course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). One of the mindfulness exercises was eating a raisin mindfully, which was fine for me because I like raisins. One person though had long had an aversion to raisins and was skeptical about the benefit of eating even one raisin. He reported afterwards that it wasn’t as bad as he had expected. Apparently, using all his senses and seeing the raisin as an exercise helped him.

Well, we are having Salade Nicoise for lunch, which has anchovies in it. In the spirit of curiosity practice, I ate an anchovy mindfully, even though I’m the kind of person who doesn’t even want someone else’s pizza half with anchovies on it in the same carton as my half with other things. I decided to look at the situation as a chance to practice curiosity, to remain open and not judge. I focused on what I tasted rather than what my opinion was of what I tasted. The anchovy was just as salty and fishy as I remembered and it wasn’t a great pleasure to eat it, but approaching it that way did help.