Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chronic Curiosity


That's the White House in the background, the Washington Monument looming behind it. And yes I added speckles because the composition looks vaguely Seurat-ish to me.

How and when do you know when you've had too much of a good thing? Sometimes it's easy to understand, as after a too-big dessert when your stomach hurts, after a too-ambitious workout when your body aches (in a bad way). Not to get into details here but I have definitely had too much sex, a happy excess that left me disoriented, shaky, heachachey and flaky. Too much reading causes eyestrain and too much work of any kind locks the shoulder muscles or lower back so tightly that the overworker can barely move. You get what I mean, right?

Wanting too much of anything carries with it a kind of grasping energy; it's a form of greed, no matter how noble the object of desire might be. In the old Norse myths, Odin trades his eyeball for wisdom. For heaven's sake! Talk about grasping. No offense to Father Odin, by the way. He's a God after all, but still sets a bad example if you ask me.

Lately I've been thinking that even wonderful qualities, like curiosity, can come up too strongly. The inquisitive mind that ideally shapes itself as a wondrous openness, can become a grasping. For example, I think of moms reading their kids' journals - spying of all kinds, in fact. Archeologists pillaging (and therefore desecrating) ancient tombs have perhaps overstepped what is healthy in terms of wanting to unravel the mysteries of history.

Yesterday I was wondering about Amma, the hugging saint. I know lots of people who wait all night, when she's in DC, for a chance to hug her. They all say that the hugs are completely genuine. OK. I believe it, I do, and yeah she must be a saint, because if I had to hug 10,000 people all in one sitting, YIKES. Just shoot me! Seriously that would be so awful. Maybe for Amma, 10,000 hugs is OK, but if she had to do 100,000 hugs in one sitting, that would be too much.

Who knows? I wonder about these things, though over time I've realized I don't need to try to understand or figure out everything, oh no. I am an essentially curious person, but I no longer want to be curious about everything all the time, 24/7, because that's too much. It's not healthy, not satisfying. Really it is not. Curiosity killed the cat! Oh yeah.

15 comments:

ellen abbott said...

All things in moderation...one of my guiding lines. Another...less is more.

Love that buddha.

shefytbast said...

Apropos of the Odin story, one time I was sitting in my shrine room, during a period when I was really stressing out about who I was and what made me tick, and I turned to the god Amun-Ra for answers. And Amun-Ra said, Would you give up your right arm for perfect self-knowledge?

...maybe I don't really want to know myself that well. :)

Love your journal; always beautiful, always thought-provoking.

Reya Mellicker said...

That Amun-Ra knows EXACTLY how to explain it, eh? Thanks shefytbast!

And yes Ellen, less IS more. It really really is.

Mrsupole said...

What one person considers too much another person might consider it not enough.

I am sticking to this saying. And also just letting you know that to go out there and have fun with your life is very important and many are unsuccessful at doing this. So I say enjoy, enjoy everything, and just maybe you did not have enough.

God bless.

Tom said...

with age comes wisdom, or least with age comes the ability to know when enough is enough. Except for those who've never grown up. Oh, it takes all kinds. (any more cliches you want to hear?)

NanU said...

Yep, a little down-time does wonders for being able to appreciate the next round of curiosity all the more fully.

Like that Speckly House!

Steve said...

LOVE the Buddha pic!

As I understand it, the kind of greedy craving you're talking about is exactly what the Buddha refers to when he warns against "desire." People think that by ridding yourself of desire you simply turn into formless pulp with no drive -- but Buddhism recognizes a distinction between loving and valuing something and craving it. Nawmean?

lakeviewer said...

Oh, Aristotle would be so proud of you!

steven said...

so cool a pic at the top reya - i thought about seurat and then when i saw the man so symmetrically centred i thought about magritte and then i thought - man stop thinking and just take in the pic!!! so i let my mind wander and gave a moment to the whole piece about curiousity and i'm in! i know that the more i know the less i know. i get it. but the less i experience and do also means the less i know. so i figure i oughta do more and let the love in living this life be my guide. so here i am. which i call being. have a peaceful dc evening. steven

Gary said...

Good for you gurl!

Reya Mellicker said...

Magritte? Oh yeah!!

Reya Mellicker said...

And Aristotle? VERY COOL. I like being on his good side.

Chris Wolf said...

heh, heh, I love your honesty, on both sides of this "issue". Stereo-types of all kinds are in play around sex, and current America trends toward believing that there is never too much sex, hence Viagra or infidelity times 14 and counting. We are all learning about ourselves in so many ways, ain't it cool? Been there, btw, but it was when I was not so much curious as lonely. Thinking of you.

astrogalaxy said...

Enjoy reading and looking at the photographs of your blog!
I've added your blog link!
Have a great day!

Rebecca Clayton said...

I think the spot between not enough and too much is hard to find. You're very sensibly gathering empirical data on "just right." That's called "calibration," and our sensory instruments require it from time to time. I have total confidence that you'll get your curiosity correctly calibrated.