What is curiosity? What is hope? Well, I guess that would depend a lot on who you are, what your life experiences are, and what your beliefs are. And that, to me is where things can get real sticky. quite quickly.
Curiosity is the state of being ready to learn something new, explore, and in general take some sort of action and learn something new or different. Now this can be scary as learning something new or different could mean pain for the curious person. What pain you ask? The pain of learning a truth about yourself, that you failed, another person, or the world. The pain about learning that what you thought about a subject or yourself or just about anything was false. You see life is actually pain. Now, I know that sounds morbid and in someways it is, but give me a chance to explain myself. Ever hear of the saying “Life’s a bitch and then you die”? Ever consider the meaning of that saying? The implications are that life in general sucks because of the pain of life and then at some point you die. The truth of the saying is this; life is a bitch because it is full of pain and there is nothing we can do to prevent pain in life, however, we can choose to learn how to better deal with pain and therefore have a reduction of pain or at least the illusion of that reduction. Now bring in hope.
Hope is basing things in your life on future experiences. And I don’t know about you but I cannot predict the future. No matter how many times I have tried or how many different ways I have tried to control the future, one thing always happens. I fail. Every, single, time. And that is because the only thing that I can control is myself right now, in the moment. And if I tell myself that I can control the future by doing “x,y,z” then all I am doing is setting myself up for failure and therefore pain in my life. Now, I am not saying that I have never had hope because then I would be lying to you. I have so much hope at times in my life that I just knew that something great would happen to me in the future. You know what happened? Nothing great happened. In fact, what I had hoped for and what I got were nowhere near each other. I guess I did get one thing out of hoping and that was more pain. And here I thought I was hoping to improve my life and reduce my pain when in reality I didn’t improve my life and I just increased my pain. So how did this happen? Let me explain.
How does one hope? What actions does one take to hope? And if the person was actually taking action to create hope wouldn’t he/she therefore improve their lives and reduce pain? And yet that is not what happens. To anyone. And that is because hoping is not an action. It is is just a state of being which means technically one is stuck in one’s current life situation. Remember I said that I can only control myself, right now, in the moment? Well, if hope is basing your life on future experiences but you can not control or predict the future, then you are not taking any actions because actions are present based. Not future based. You can only act in the present moment and this is the flaw with hope.
Now, let’s bring back curiosity. Being curious is an action orientated state of being. Young children and very curious about their world because they are exploring it by putting rocks in their mouths, by knocking over the T.V., by trying to run down hill and not fall down, and the list goes on. Notice that everything that I listed above is an action? Learning is an action. The action part is by exploring new ideas, things, places, foods, etc. and then learning through those experiences, in the moment, what is “good” and what is “bad.” Cue pain. Learning anything new always has some sort of pain tolerance and by being curious we learn what the limits of our pain are. Ideally, we learn how to accept pain in our lives as just part of life, but we then learn and grow from that pain. It is when the pain levels are too high for us that we seek ways to reduce the levels of pain by many different ways, bad and good. Examples would be addictions, isolating one’s self, self-harming, mediation, yoga, exercise, and counseling/coaching. These are just a few examples that came to my mind. The list is endless.
So, curiosity creates action because being curious about something can draw someone into action to seek an answer to the curiosity. Children are curious about stoves, however, the pain that they receive from touching (an action) a hot stove, therefore creates another action. To either leave stoves alone or to learn (an action) how to properly work with a stove and not create more pain but to create something good, i.e. cooking and food. Curiosity is something that is in the here and now; the present moment. Hope is always in the future. And that is the difference between them.
Namaste, my friend.