The disposition that we are exploring in February is curiosity. It is a disposition that makes us want to investigate, listen, ask questions, and take risks.
In Chapter 9 of Onward, Elena Aguilar shares the many benefits of curiosity: It helps us see with fresh eyes and access more of our brain for problem solving: it naturally reduces our fear and can help us break out of old, unhealthy behaviors; it can make us literally feel good – triggering our brain to release dopamine. Dopamine, a natural opiate, also plays a role in enhancing the connections between cells that are involved in learning.
So how can we help foster this disposition? Elena shares this activity Ask a Question in The Onward Workbook. It is a simple morning meditation to help you anchor yourself in curiosity. Set your timer for 3-5 minutes. Simply sit quietly, close your eyes, take a few slow breaths, and ask a question that you want answers to or are working on. Elena shares some of the questions that she has asked:
- How can I be more patient with ________ (particular student to colleague)?
- How can I notice the bright spots in today?
- Where can I find joy in teaching today?
- How do I know I’m right for the job?
Then sit quietly and see where your mind takes you. Every so often, or whenever you need to re-anchor in curiosity, repeat the question to yourself.
Try this tomorrow and reflect on what insights you have as you go through your day.