Several years ago, I joined with two friends in a 10-week spiritual practice which consisted of ten life-revealing questions. I’ve listed these Questions to Contemplate for you at the bottom of the post.
We started with one question each week: We would meditate on it, journal about it, and share with one another what comes up for us. We wrote about what we understood about the question, what we didn’t understand, what we accepted, and what we were struggling with. There were days when I felt quite resistant to the questions, but I’ve noticed over time that my heart was opening to the practice. It helped me to be more relaxed and more able to be in the flow of a loving, Divine Presence.
Through this practice I found two powerful antidotes to fear and worry. They are curiosity and optimism.
Curiosity is an antidote to fear. When I truly want to know more about something I feel alive, looking into the future with a question on my mind. I’m occupied by a state of wonder. It is like taking a deep breath of fresh air. Curiosity has lightness to it; it lets in the light. The in-breath oxygenates the blood which, in turn, brings oxygen to the brain and helps me to think more creatively and to be more imaginative. Curiosity helps me to be pilgrim of possibilities.
When I start to catch myself spiraling down into fear and contraction, I say to myself, “Pull, up, pull up, be curious, not afraid.”. I try to remember to remind myself to not waste time or energy wallowing in the paralyzing force of fear. Moving into a state of curiosity is where I can more effectively deal with the daily challenges that pop up.
Optimism is a perfect partner to curiosity and is an antidote to worry. If the in-breath brings our bodies oxygen, optimism is like the blood that carries the oxygen. If I am worried, I become tense. In fact, worry has a negative physiological affect on the body as well as the mind and spirit. Through time this can be quite debilitating. Optimism, on the other hand, is the life blood of our soul.
These two keys, curiosity and optimism keep me healthy. Being in a state of fear and worry is like contracting pneumonia. It stops the breath, which, in turn slows the blood flow, the brain is deprived of oxygen, and the blood becomes stagnant. Experiment with taking a deep breath of curiosity and optimism. See if it leads you, like it has me, to a more healthy body, mind, and spirit.
QUESTIONS TO CONTEMPLATE
- Has your greatest fear ever come true? What have you learned from it?
- What is a major promise you have made and how did you or did you not fulfill it? What did you learn?
- What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
- What’s the top priority in your life right now?
- What bad habits do you want to break? What good habits do you want to cultivate? And what are the biggest actions you can take now to create the biggest results in your life?
- What are your values? What do you most want to embody in your life? Who inspires you, living or dead? What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
- What would you do if you cannot fail; if there are no limitations in money, resources, time or networks?
- What are the times you are most inspired, most motivated, most charged up? What did you do during those times? How can you do more of that starting today?
- To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
- What was your biggest achievement of the year? What was your biggest failure? What other hardships did you face?