An open mind is a happy mind
“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the biggest obstacles to learning is the presumption of knowledge. It is very difficult to be open to learning when we believe we have the answers already. Instead of listening to someone with an open mind, we are often waiting to share our knowledge or opinion. In the meantime, we are not actually hearing or trying to learn from what they are sharing.
No matter how much we know, it is only a sliver of the knowledge available to us. If we are not open to exploring our own beliefs, philosophies and understanding of the world, we will be very limited in our personal growth. There are often many different ways to solve a problem or achieve a result. There are different techniques, practices and trainings available to meet the needs of different people with different skills and abilities. Often, we get limited by the idea of one right way or that our view and perspective is the best one. In doing so, we forget that we have developed our knowledge and understanding over just our lifetime and even so, that it has changed over time. We also forget to factor in how our projections about people, places and things limit their potentials.
If we think that someone is not very bright, we usually don’t give them an opportunity to shine. If we think a place has nothing to offer, why would we give it a chance? We all carry projections based on biases we have developed through our experiences of life. While some of them may be very helpful, most of them actually limit our ability to grow. If we can become aware of how our biases, projections and preconceptions limit our ability to be open and present with the opportunities in front of us, we can increase our understanding of ourselves and the world we live in.
I invite you to try to be aware of your quick judgments, biases and projections. We all have them and they come in many shapes and forms regarding virtually every topic. Try to listen to others today and learn from them. Be curious about their point of view and the personal experience. John Bruna, September 20, 2016.
The above is a an excerpt from one the daily emails sent to the members of the Mindful Life Community. I invite you to explore our community and consider joining.
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