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Here are some of the comments we have received on the Are you open-minded?

CaLana of coolout@email.com comments:

Hi all!

I've responded once before, however, I don't think I'd introduced myself. My cyber buds call me Cal (I'm female), I live in Ft. Lauderdale, originally from St. Louis. And I am very glad that Ken hosts this list :-)

Some of what he said:

"We keep on the look out for those odd things which might be clues to where we are going in our learning experience."

I'm not sure if I look for them, or just understand when those odd things approach. I do agree that being open can tune us in to a pathway, and definitely a learning experience. I don't see being open as vulnerability or susceptibility, however. If something odd arises, we tend to judge our openness to it based on whether or not the experience will indeed be a learning experience or whether it will harm us. If one is simply a close-minded individual, then there will be no experience outside of the norm. And how does one free herself/himself from closed up drudgery to become more open?

Ken says: One approach to self development is to obtain the skill by doing the skill. We do this in a step by step manner. Our limited viewpoints help to protect us from the possible influx of masses of information which would be overwhelming without our limitations. We become more aware, more open by doing it in a step by step manner. Achieving a little bit more and a little bit more ..., rather than going for broke!

When someone says the word open or openness, I tend to picture a deep, fresh breath of clean spring air; freedom; positive energy; limitless. It's the way I'd like to experience life in general.

"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?"

I didn't know this, but it does not surprise me. Most play high-rolling stakes to win enough money to fulfil they're fantasy, right? Winners perhaps are not thinking in terms of using the resources to enhance their lives (and others if possible, which positively reinforces their own existence) and seek those open experiences in life. I refer to a deeper experience than just, for example, being able to travel the world. So you've booked a trip to Greece. You do the sightseeing bit. But who are the people you may meet at the cozy nook each evening for an aperitif? What are they saying? What about the religion, traditions, culture would you take and incorporate into your own life? On an intangible intellectual/spiritual level?

Considering oneself unlucky, to me, indicates that one has an external locus of control--whatever happens in his or her life he or she blames on someone or something else. Yes, I believe we're all guilty of it at one point or another. It's using "unlucky" as an excuse to not live life (however that should be done, whatever definition you use) that concerns me.

"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."

Well phrased! I totally agree...

"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."

This is a new concept to me. I question "act without intention". I assume that could mean "going with the flow", just allowing the experience to happen without fear or inhibition.

Ken says: There can be some confusion here. A Willow bends with the breeze, but returns to the place it was before the breeze, yet has learned from the breeze. In one way, I meant by acting without intention, not an absolute, but an openness to all that could follow from the action, and not merely what we thought would happen. Sometimes we do something and do not like the result. We complain, and next time do exactly the same thing, with, of course, the same result! And the same complaining, blaming and excuses! When something doesn't work, we might try something else, but until we have learned the lesson, we do not truly know what will work.

I could let that happen sometimes, but depending on the experience, I may not be such a guru. I don't feel that a bad thing, but if it's something I really wouldn't desire to experience, then am I blocking potential development. For instance, I really don't want to bungy jump. Have no intention. So if I never do it, I won't develop to my fullest potential?

People used to say, 'I don't have to stick my head in the gas oven (in the days when the gas was poisonous) to prove it kills you!'

In one organisation, it was considered appropriate to have a homosexual affair to show you could confront it. One guy said, 'He didn't think he'd have to make it with a gorilla, just to prove he could confront it!'

Our present universe, both in our minds and outside is based on balance. From an initial nothing before the big bang, there is (No I haven't used the wrong tense here!) the creation of balancing opposites which maintain the state of zero with separation. Technically, the nexus is a system of bipolar oppositions. There is the balance and the golden mean of Aristotle. Openness does not exist alone as an absolute but is placed within a complex web of 'opposites', including non-openness, which is the universe!

It is just as important to say, 'Yes', as it is to say, 'No.' And just as important to be closed minded as to be open-minded. But wrong to be merely one or the other! So, CaL, I'll let you off the bungy jumping, if you let me off too!

> 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?

Yes, and this will also drain your energy--very quickly! The world is too big and as one person, it's impossible to influence mass thought and maintain it as such. Change is too strong an opposing element.

Using guru think is something I try to do a bit everyday. You say jumping into the deep end...some days are better than others :-) But ultimately, the level of enrichment we can gain is exciting. It also tends to invigorate me, and I tend to embrace kaizen more tightly.

Ken: Remember, that when embracing the air with your hand, do not clench your fist too tight!

Take care,


"Ladyoflove Peace" of shamandot@sk.sympatico.ca writes:

"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. "

What is normal for some is not normal for others.

Have you survived a traumatic event? For if you did you would understand a bit more about life.

" .. By resisting it we can develop trauma. We can drain ourselves of energy trying to keep the new experience away from our belief system. "

No kidding if we resist change we can end up with change coming onto us dramatically. Which is better choosing your change timing or having it thrust upon you.

"Openness is sometimes called guru thinking or scientific thinking .. "

We understand what the guru says but so few understand how he lives.

".. if it isn't, then I'll throw a tantrum till it comes round to my way of thinking! Does that ring any bells? "

Ring some bells. Yes. How many of us have thrown a tantrum to get our own way.

Ken says: Sometimes we throw a tantrum just because the world isn't the way we think it ought to be!

"We may need to learn techniques which act as crutches on our journey, but in the end it is all about awareness."

We also must learn how to do without the crutches. It is possible.

Ken says: By crutches, we could mean defence mechanisms' and also mean techniques of self development. The philosopher Wittgenstein spoke of building a ladder of useful non-sense, which we would later be able to discard.


Speak soon.


Ken Ward

Freeing the Mind
Most Recent Revision: 20-Mar-99.
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