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The buzz-kill of an agenda: how agendas can short-circuit your journey

It’s a common experience to have agendas propelling certain actions. It’s useful to be aware of our agendas, because they can flavor the activity. The activity may become less enjoyable, for example, if there is a narrowly focused agenda, versus something more fluid. My agenda in exercising might be to lose weight. If I exercise only because of the agenda to loose weight, exercise may start to be less enjoyable. If I have a few agendas, or a broader agenda, such as to get outside, breath fresh air, explore the neighborhood, see the flowers, as well as loose weight, exercise may be experienced as more pleasant. In short, our perceptions and thus our experiences are directly tied to our agendas. With regard to inquiry or meditation[1], the agenda I bring to these activities will also flavor the experience. If I bring curiosity as my agenda, the experience will be quite different then if my agenda is of a more solid type. Some solid agendas may include: to fix a problem, feel better, be happy, get enlightened, feel at peace, and so on. Think of it this way: when you go to a new ice cream place with genuine curiosity the experience will be quite different than going to one with a set agenda. The agendas of, “I wonder what the ice cream is like here?, or “I wonder what the experience of tasting this ice cream will be like?” has a much different flavor (pardon the pun) than, “I want this ice cream to taste better than the last ice cream I ate”, or “ I want to get relief from eating this ice cream.” When you want something solid and specific from a restaurant, how you view the experience, and partake in it, is automatically going to influence your perception. My experience is that when I approach something with curiosity, the solidity of whatever I’m experiencing starts to fall apart, all on it’s own. Where as if I sternly approach something, it stays solid, it can’t move- it can’t be any different because I’m bringing solidity to it to start with. Which brings me back to the experience of inquiry and meditation. Try this out for yourself as experiment number one: come to inquiry with a specific agenda and see what happens. Then come to inquiry from a curious place, fully meeting the experience (thoughts, images and sensations) as they are. And see what that’s like[2]. This can extend to any experience, and any experiment that you are trying out in your life. If you are adding new things to your life, add to the experiment the curiosity factor. See what you notice when you have a curious agenda, versus when you have a more solid agenda. Please feel free to share your findings! The third part of this series will be posted in about a week. I will present experiment number two, which focuses on breath, meditation, and curiosity. Stay tuned!   [1] I have a guided meditation for sale which employs the use of curious exploration. For more information, please email me at [2] For what it’s worth, this isn’t always easy. The job of the facilitator is to help loosen the solidity that is often brought to a session by a client. So, if you find that this is particularly challenging, shoot me an email at and we’ll chat.  

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