Talked with sister Paula and our 95-year-old Mom this morning. They were just heading off to church. Mom said it would be great if I could go with them. I told her I was a “heretic.” As we hung up I could hear her yelling, “Ann says she’s a heretic,” and Paula laughing.
It’s been a long road between the rigid orthodoxy of our Roman Catholic background, my apostasy from that family framework starting at age 26, and the harmonious reunion of all the members of my family who are still alive (that’s most of us, 9 out of ten, with the original keeper of the orthodoxy, dear Dad, departed, as of August 2012). Dogma doesn’t matter anymore. We have moved into our hearts.
operation-meditation via rise-earth.com
If I told you that last week I took $50 from a cash register at the local market what would you think? Would you look down on me for stealing? Maybe you’d be angry because you go to work every day and here I am just taking the easy way out by taking someone else’s money. Or, perhaps you’d have pity on me because my life must be horrible if I’m resorting to stealing.
Now, what if I told you that I took the money because I own the store and was taking it out to donate it to the local orphanage? Does that change your impression of me?
When you have a closed mind, it’s easy to rush to conclusions. You pass judgment because you believe that there is only one answer or one solution in any given situation. You take the first thing that enters your head and establish it as fact.
However, sometimes you’re wrong. When that happens it can hurt relationships, negatively affect your health and certainly alter how positively you see the world.
On the other hand, if you understand that things aren’t always as they seem, life can be very different. Here are the eight benefits of living with an open mind:
Benefit #1: Your world flourishes. It’s like only being able to see black and white and suddenly realizing that many shades of color exist. Your pallet is expanded from only having two possibilities to now having hundreds of options. Your selection is more plentiful and you’re not so boxed in with minimal selections.
Benefit #2: You free your mind from limiting thoughts. Nothing holds you back more than thinking you know the answers so you never consider other alternatives. When you admit that there are several possible solutions or outcomes, you allow yourself to think beyond the boundaries where you normally would have stopped yourself.
Benefit #3: That’s when change happens. You have to change your thoughts and beliefs before you can expect your behaviors and actions to change. Most people try to do it the other way, modifying their behaviors in an effort to change, only to find it doesn’t work. True change happens from the inside out.
Benefit #4: You have more fun. You’re willing to try new, exciting things. You let go of whatever has held you back in the past and begin to embrace life. You experiment with different things and have more experiences.
Benefit #5: It’s easier to find solutions to problems. If you’re willing to consider the notion that there are many effective ways to deal with an issue, you open yourself to more options when you’re trying to problem solve. You don’t get stuck trying the same thing over and over again just because you can’t think of something else.
Benefit #6: You have a greater ability to love and be loved. When you let go of passing judgment, you’re allowing yourself to have deeper, more meaningful relationships. You give and accept love more freely because you’re not so concerned with drawing conclusions about people. You accept them for who they are.
Benefit #7: You have a higher tolerance level. You have greater patience with others. You’re open to the fact that they may have a valid reason for behaving or feeling the way they do instead of just determining that they’re ‘wrong.’
Benefit #8: You have more energy. When you aren’t so bogged down by negative thoughts and trying to figure everyone and everything out, you have more energy to focus on the important things in life, such as family, friends and good health.
Now that you see all the wonderful benefits of living with an open mind, here are some quick tips that will help you get one:
• Become inquisitive. Be aware of your judgments and question where they come from. Are you basing them on past experience, or from something you’ve heard?
• Challenge your thoughts. When you reach a conclusion quickly, ask yourself whether it’s true 100% of the time. If it isn’t, then don’t limit yourself to that one thought being the only possible option.
• Practice meditation. When you’re in a meditative state, your mind opens, meaning you have heightened problem solving skills and can think outside the box.
• Learn something new. Broaden your horizons by educating yourself about other cultures, groups and customs. Try to see things from different angles and viewpoints.
When you have the ability to objectively look at all options, you open up a whole new realm of possibilities and ideas. It’s like a new, more colorful world becomes available to you. Enjoy the vibrancy and energy. It’s there for the taking.