Are you open-minded?
Continuing our theme, we can look at being open to new experiences, to the synchronicities that occur in our lives as openness. We keep on the look out for those odd things which might be clues to where we are going in our learning experience.
Something that is odd or out of the normal is always something that does not fit in with our normal way of looking at the world.
At some level it is possible for someone to believe that they are, for example, unlucky. And then they win a fortune on the lottery! How can they deal with this? They can change their belief about themselves or in some way persist with the old belief. If they are open-minded, then they would change their belief about themselves. If not they would persist with their old belief.
Are all traumatic events unpleasant?
Have you heard of traumatic events? Did you think they were always bad? Did you know that a high percentage of those who win vast fortunes end up dead or in some dire straights?
Do I need to say more about the person who considers themselves unlucky and win a fortune? It seems crazy that they would be able to maintain that belief that they are unlucky. But ... And are we so different?
When events occur which do not fit in with our established beliefs we experience a potential learning situation. Both good and bad events can be equally traumatic. To suddenly become rich and famous might be just as devastating as to suddenly become poor. By being open and not resisting the experience we can accommodate ourselves to it and become better than we were. By resisting it we can develop trauma. We can drain ourselves of energy trying to keep the new experience away from our belief system.
Fortunately, or not, for most of us dramatic events do not occur. Things go on as normal. We maintain our beliefs, perhaps some of which we made in childhood or earlier, and we do not learn very much. By being open to the new exciting events which occur every day in our lives, we can begin to develop.
We need to understand how openness differs from, on the one hand gullibility and credibility, and on the other hand a powerful openness of our own beliefs, wants and ambitions without listening to the messages we might get from others. In another way, we could be completely closed to new experiences and learn nothing, only reacting and desperately resisting those events which are too big to ignore.
A bit of Greek wisdom ...
Openness is the golden mean between the various extremes. This is the teaching of that old Greek Aristotle, who taught that the Ethical Person (who, to Aristotle was the successful person) led his life choosing the middle way.
Openness is sometimes called guru thinking or scientific thinking. We observe and act without intention and observe the results and learn from them. In a pure sense the guru is never surprised because he or she does not presuppose the result, but learns from whatever happens. This does not mean that the guru does not make theories. It does, however mean that the guru does not cling to these theories.
Using Aristotle's rule, we would not expect to use guru think all the time. Sometimes we will act with intention and use the rules we have learned to attain our goals and wishes. But back of this there will always be the learning way of thinking:
- observing and acting
-observing the results
-learning from them, and
-not clinging to these learnings.
There will never be the assumption that the world is how I think it is. And if it isn't, then I'll throw a tantrum till it comes round to my way of thinking! Does that ring any bells?
In a word, self development is about awareness, consciousness. But to attain awareness, we have a number of things to do. We may need to learn techniques which act as crutches on our journey, but in the end it is all about awareness.
Being open-minded and using guru think is rather jumping into the deep end, but I wonder if we can try to be more aware of what our expectations and beliefs are, and be more observant and use guru-think in our normal lives to enrich and develop ourselves!
How about giving it a try?
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Most Recent Revision: 20-Mar-99.
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Ken Ward,
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