Open Minds Build Open Hearts
Dr. Rachell N. Anderson
Most of us seek a life that is happy, prosperous, secure, healthy and free of doubt and distress. We want these things for ourselves and for our children. And yet, for so many of us, this kind of peace is illusive or short lived. We hope for the ability to meet the changes and face the challenges we face in our daily lives. And yet, we are often our own worse enemy. We do things we ought not do and leave undone things we ought to do and in the process, we blame others or circumstances for our shortcomings. We live in critical times with noises coming from all sides about how difficult the world is and how so much of our lives seem to be in the hands of others. We may be wise to remember that each of us is born with unique capacities that can only be realized if our minds and hearts are open other views of ourselves and others. Within each of us is a spark of unparalleled brilliance, an unlimited capacity for warmth, openness, and courage that gets lost by a closed mind.
Open mindedness is beliefs and attitudes toward oneself and others. To be open minded is to be aware of our own fallibility, and to acknowledge the possibility that some of what we believe about ourselves and others could be wrong. To be open minded means giving others the benefit of the doubt and staying open to the ideas they put on the table. We allow others to share their views, hopes, values, dreams and knowledge without judgement or criticism. With open minds and hearts we can spread compassion, consciousness, peace and joy.
We can all be agents for positive change. How can we bring our homes, our community and yes, the nation to a better, more loving place. And you say “Wow. What lofty goals.”
It’s been said, you can’t run the world if things are running amuck at home. Begin by letting go of ego, fear and tired old claims. We don’t need more power and control. Old ideas need to be put on the shelf. Blaming others or circumstances bogs us down. So, how do we get from where we are now to a heart that’s full of love and acceptance for others?
What’s A Person To Do?
1. Be mindful of thoughts. Our lives are as our thoughts. Be hopeful and positive and do what we can, then let it go. Be present to what is. Find the good in even the most difficult situation. If we are mindful of our thinking we can keep our minds open. An open mind keeps expanding.
2. Let go of the past. It’s over and we can’t fix it or undo it. Forgive yourself and others and move on. We can only think one thought at a time. Dwelling in the past keeps us from adequately dealing with today. Today is what matters.
3. Express your emotions in kind and loving ways. Hidden or stuffed emotions can seem overwhelming. Expressed emotions change. Hidden or stuffed ones don’t. Hot and angry emotions put other on the defensive. Build a climate for problem solving or acceptance.
4. Catch yourself judging your self and other people as good or bad. When we can drop the judging, accept and appreciate differences, our hearts will be open to love.
5. According to Elizabeth Crisci, “Examine beliefs regularly. Old beliefs can zap the life out of you. Learned thoughts of guilt, self-doubt, can stink up your life. Most beliefs are not true and many seriously hold us back. Be aware of what beliefs are shaping your experiences and examine them with kindness. If they represent truth keep them. If not, let them go.”
6. Assess your ego. How fragile is it? The purpose of the ego is to keep us safe from the threats against what we fear most; the need to be right, the need to be in control, the need for others to think well of us. When you find yourself blaming and complaining, the ego is at work. This signals a closed mind. Move away from the rationalizing ego and see what else is possible.
7. Find your wise mind and use it. We all have an inner voice within us that comes from the soul. Some people call it intuition. But it gets drowned out by the noise of everyday life. It can be accessed through listening inward, through being open to guidance, by living in the present moment. Some people assess it with journaling or meditation. Some do it with prayer. This wise mind is available to us all. All we have to do is be open to listening.
An open mind helps us to build an open heart and helps us to learn and grow, strengthening our way of being in the world. The opportunity to open our minds is something for which to be thankful.
Dr. Rachell Anderson is a native of Tunica,MS, a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professor Emeritus and author. She taught at the University of Illinois and ran a Private Clinical Practice in Springfield, Illinois for many years. She now lives and writes with the Tunica Chapter of the Mississippi Writers Guild at the Tunica Museum. Check out her website at www.drrachellanderson.com for more articles and books she has written.