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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsDR.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsRICHARD CHAMBERS: When we're young, we're innately curious. Everything is fresh and new. And we engage fully with the world around us. We might be playing in a park and notice a leaf where a caterpillar's chewed a hole in it. And this becomes an object of fascination for us as we engage our attention fully with it, looking at it closely, noticing the details. As we get older, however, life gets faster. We start to engage with the world through concepts and ideas rather than directly through the senses. We also start to take things for granted, that automatic pilot that we were looking at last week. A leaf is now just a leaf. And we don't even stop to notice the details.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 secondsOf course, there are things that we remain curious about, such as our hobbies, certain people, perhaps our favourite subject at school or favourite tasks at work. But in general, we become less curious from moment to moment. Thankfully, curiosity is an innate quality. And we never actually lose it. We just lose touch with it. And so we can rediscover it in any moment if we actually train ourselves to do so. And one way to do this is to bring a deliberate attitude of curiosity and interest to seemingly mundane and every day experiences. And what is more mundane and every day than the breath? We take around 17,000 breaths in a typical day.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 secondsAnd if you stop now and ask yourself, how many of these have you been curious about so far today. In fact, how many have you even noticed? If you're like most people, the answer's probably not many, if any at all. But we can use the breath as a vehicle for getting back in touch with this sense of curiosity. In the following audio, we're going to spend five minutes meditating on the breath, cultivating a sense of genuine interest in the moment-by-moment experience of breathing, breath to breath. Have a go and see what you discover.

The power of curiosity

Watch Richard introduce the notion of curiosity, which is one of the central qualities of mindfulness. We then explore how we can rediscover and cultivate curiosity through meditating on the breath.

Curiosity is a central quality of mindfulness. When we are genuinely curious and interested in our experience, this deepens our engagement with it. This brings the attention more fully in the present moment, and we also have the opportunity to discover new things about mundane, everyday experiences that we might normally take for granted.

Talking point

Within the Comments, consider sharing with other learners what you noticed about the effects of curiosity. Also consider sharing your thoughts on the following questions:

  • What are some ways you’ll start to cultivate curiosity in your life and why?
  • How do you think curiosity will help you become more engaged?

You might like to take some time to read comments made by other learners, and if you find these comments interesting, respond to them. Remember you can also ‘like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.

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This video is from the free online course:

Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance

Monash University

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Welcome to the course
    Welcome to the course

    In this video, Craig Hassed and Richard Chambers introduce the course and talk more about what you’re going to learn.

  • Introduction to week 2
    Introduction to week 2

    Watch Richard explain the fight/flight response, why it happens, and how to recognise it.

  • Craig and Richard.
    Feedback from Craig and Richard

    Feedback from Craig and Richard is an informal video recorded at the end of each week.

  • Welcome to week 3
    Welcome to week 3

    In this video, Craig Hassed introduces why attention matters so much for learning and performance.

  • Introduction to week 5
    Introduction to week 5

    In this video, Craig Hassed introduces this week’s topic on the relationship between mindfulness, communication and relationships.

  • Welcome to week 6
    Welcome to week 6

    Watch Richard review the course and talk about how you can continue practising and applying mindfulness.