Can we Train our Wonder?

Posted onCategoriesThat Sense of Wonder

Can we be taught, or even train ourselves to wonder more? To wonder ‘better’? The author talks about both senses and emotions being “trainable” and I think I agree with him, though some may be more and some less difficult to shape into a desired form. At some very very basic level… we get better and what we do often.

Grandmaster Liu has said:
“Whatever you practice you become. Practice being healthy and you become healthy. Practice being relaxed and you become relaxed. Practice compassion and you become more compassionate.”

“We create our habits and then… our habits create us.” ~Someone Else Has Said

Perhaps it is not enough just to do something often however… There is a certain science to improvement – essentially we must practice with awareness and intent to improve. In other words, mindless practice is not really practice. This applies to sports and musicianship and martial arts – things we typically do with our bodies, but wonder would seem to be a mindful art all by itself. Can we become more aware of our awareness? I think yes.

So how? Well I’m expecting this book to provide such guidance, but it seems to me that a good place to begin might be replacing a lot the “answers” we cling to with questions. If I already know everything… I’m going to wonder about very little. This is actually a huge area for discussion, bringing to mind the zen concept of Beginners Mind along with other principles of Chan Buddhism, Daoism, Christian Mysticism and probably a few other traditions.

To summarize the point:
A student travels far to visit a master he was referred to. Upon arrival the master invites the student to join him for tea.

While the master is pouring tea, the student talks about the many things he has learned, hoping to impress the master and so become his own student.

The master continues pouring, even when the cup is filled to the brim. The cup soon overflows, and the student can no longer pretend not to see it.

“It’s overfull, Sir!” Exclaims he. “No more tea will go in!”

“You are like this cup,” says the master. “How can I give you anything unless you first empty your cup?”