Why I took a class about compassion

and what I learned

Part 4: Curiosity to discover who you are

When I meditate, my mind will often wander (“Squirrel!” anyone?). But there are times when I get curious because I keep reflecting on a person or situation, and that vision just won’t go away. Sure, I’ll often get a chore or errand distraction. For example, I’ll get distracted thinking about how I need to synch my calendars for work or how I should check on some document right now. When that happens, I have found that I’m more focused on meditation if I stop and address the issue at hand and continue meditating when I’m done. But there are times when people, places, or ideas keep popping into my head during meditation. Or I’ll get some type of visual that my mind sees as representing compassion or healing. When that happens, I’ll be curious and wonder why that came up.

When meditating, sure, you want to be focused on breathing, but after you finish, it is worthwhile to be curious why you weren’t focused. One time, this experience highlighted to me that something in my mindset and paradigm was changing. Another time, there was something biological happening or something serious related to work that I swept under the rug and truly needed to address.

In one of the self-compassion meditations, you are invited to get curious about what your heart wants. Rather than rush through the experience, you sit silently with your heart for a bit. I sometimes hear or feel just a single word, like love or compassion. I’m not sure exactly what that means, and I often don’t get clarity on that, but I’ll sit in silence with the word. It can be humbling to sit with yourself and wonder what you are called to do. Lately, I have been called to just be, I think. Not overthink or work. Just be me in a situation. There is no calling, no to-do list. It’s freeing, almost, to realize that you don’t need to be driven in your life every day.

You need to be curious to ask yourself the right questions, wonder what you are feeling, and be ready to hear the answer. Being curious about what you are experiencing isn’t useful if you don’t accept the answers – that is needed for the next step.