In my mindfulness classes, I talk a lot about curious friendliness. What's with the friendliness, you ask? What's the difference between curious friendliness and regular curiosity?
The idea of having an attitude of curious friendliness is best grasped with a little thought experiment.
There's someone in your life whom you think you know pretty well. Maybe your spouse, partner, colleague, or sibling. Maybe your parent or child. Maybe even a client. Conversations with them tend to go a certain way, and maybe . . . just maybe . . . you walk into discussions with them knowing what they're going to say or how they're going to react. And maybe nine times out of 10, you're right.
You're right! Don't you just love being right?
Weeeelllll, here's the rub with that. Maybe if you walked into the room with an attitude of curious friendliness, open to seeing and hearing things differently, or simply in anticipation of the moment unfolding as if for the first time (after all, there is no identical moment anyway), you might find that you--and the other person--aren't as predictable as you thought.
For all you know, the other person acts the way they act because you tend to act a certain way when you're with them. Being right about the outcome is hollow when it never had a chance of being different from your end (aka, the only end you have control over).
Cultivating Curious Friendliness
It sounds easy; just have an attitude of curious friendliness. But there's more to it than the attitude--there's more than the quality of mind you bring to each situation. You bring something else with you--your body.
Embodiment is Key
When you practice listening to the wisdom of your body--which is largely what mindfulness is--it's not hyperbole to say that your relationship to everything changes. When you have taken the time to get to know your body, you might be surprised by how helpful it can be when it comes to decision-making, important moments in conversations, and meeting your own emotions as well as those of others.
Not Knowing Feels Better Than Being Right
Hear me out! The liberation that comes with knowing that certainty is the mother of all illusions is more powerful than any feeling of righteousness. I promise you. It takes a bunch of time and work, but it's a relief to cease the masquerade of certainty. Unburden yourself from something that wasn't real to begin with. Stop engineering situations that allow you to be right. Wake up to a different way of being.
October 5 begins the next 8-week class for Financial Advisors. Join us!
May you be at ease.