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Posts Tagged ‘open mind’

There was a piece of advice on my calendar last Friday that I saw again fresh this morning when I went to turn the page. It’s good advice, if you get what it’s trying to say:

See as if for the first time a beautiful person or an ordinary object.
– Shiva

Lately I’ve caught myself unconsciously judging again. For some reason I’ve become quite aware of all my judgements and feelings about a thing when I look at it — for example, right now I see my sweater, and I have a quick rush of “I love that sweater. It’s so freaking cold in here. It’s a travesty we have to wear two layers of sweaters in the summer.” Each sight we see or sound we hear can bring in a whole rush of ideas and images and feelings that really aren’t about that exact sight or sound, just what we’ve come to associate with it.

While this is all a great survival technique, it can get in the way of living. When we’re distracted by our past experiences and expectations, we miss something about what’s there in front of us right now. We’ll miss subtle changes, and we can also lose sight of freshness and insights. It all becomes a big subconscious habit that keeps us from being spontaneous and free.

So yeah, I’m going back to practicing seeing things and quieting the flood of judgement, instead trying to get a fresh first impression. Already I’m feeling it, like a little bit of weight from the past is lifting away.

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I’ve got a quote that I’ve kept by my desk, in part as a reminder of something, and in part because I keep thinking I’ll have a thought about it I could share.  It goes,

“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.”
– Eugene Ionesco

It reminds me of how important it is to let yourself ask the questions that come to mind, ESPECIALLY the ones you’re resisting asking.  The idea is that asking alone opens a door that a simple straight answer might close — since just one simple straight answer is rarely the whole story.
 
Keeping a mind open to questioning is vital for a dynamic life, since the info available to us keeps changing daily.  As soon as we hook on the need for a definite answer (rather than a “workable for now” answer), we stop asking.  We run the risk of not seeing or even not being willing to consider new info when it comes by.
 
Reminds me of another quote –

“The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning”
-Erich Fromm

 
It can feel dizzying sometimes, not being certain.  But I’ve found when I try to be “as sure as can be” rather than “positive”, my balance gets thrown off far less when I find out I’ve been very very wrong…

Which of course reminds me of yet another quote.

Losing an illusion
makes you wiser
than finding a truth

– Ludwig Borne

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