Children are naive, trusting, accepting, oblivious to differences and overall, amazingly open minded. They don’t automatically or constrictively see race, religion, or handicap, and if they do it generally doesn’t last long. They have this incredible skill to be able to make automatic perceptions or observations and then forget them, not judge, love anyway, try new things, hang around a variety of people, and live in the moment.
There’s something to be learned from that.
Then as these children get older or more personally, as you were growing up, you have to be taught and told consistently and persistently by mentors, role models and elders to keep your minds open and hungry.
Grasp every opportunity and experience as one to learn from. If you live only by your strict beliefs and thoughts and interests then you have decided to confine yourself from everything else this world has to offer. Even if you don’t agree with it, follow it, believe it, like it, love it, want it or need it there is a whole range of realities that we keep ourselves blocked from. Simple subjects like finance, or poetry, enriching things like cultures, traditions and travel, and not so black and white things like theology, and philosophy.
Never stop learning. To be at your most mentally effective, you need to expand the boundaries of your mind to the very limitless limits. Learn, absorb, learn, experience, learn, learn, relearn, learn.
But most importantly, be open to new things.
It’s so much easier said than done. As we keep aging and keep entering new chapters of our life, we become so habituated into our personal patterns, beliefs and desires that our version of trying new things is reduced to grabbing dinner at the new Greek restaurant down the street.
As we grow up, it get’s harder and more complicated to “be open”.
So here’s a reminder. Keep trying new things. Keep learning things in areas you have no expertise or keep mastering the areas you do. Read. Ask. Try.
But most importantly, learning and being open come from two very neglected sensations- seeing and feeling.
Keep your eyes and heart open. Don’t be judgmental. Don’t be quick to write things off. Be present. Consciously make observations. See in new perspectives. Feel in new ways. Experience new experiences. Put yourself out there with different people or activities. Do something different than what you usually do. Or experience what you usually do in new ways. Step outside your comfort zone, and allow yourself to be freakishly vulnerable and uncomfortable. Only then will you really be experiencing, learning and living.
We don’t forget our ABCs or our 123s, so why is it that we lose touch with something as important as being open minded/hearted?