April 24    

Today's quotation:

I'd always thought of myself as an open-minded person.  I had no patience with anyone who put down other kids because of their race, religion, or sexuality.  But that's just one kind of open-mindedness.  There's another kind, too, the kind that's willing to see people for who they really are and admit when you were wrong about them.  That's the part I still need to work on.

Kelley Armstrong
The Calling

Today's Meditation:

It's so easy to judge others based simply upon what we see and what we witness them say and do.  This is especially true in this day and age when we're encouraged to judge entertainers even when we have no musical training, or vote people out of a house or off an island based on nothing more than our own personal likes or dislikes.  The more we judge, though, the more our minds close, and the less new information we're willing to entertain when we deal with other people in the future.  We judge people based on appearance all the time, and that's not helpful to anyone, really.

An open mind allows us to entertain new notions.  It can help us to learn more about a situation when everyone around us has already made up their minds.  An open mind allows us to be fair about what we see and hear, for only with an open mind can we realize that there may be four or five or six possible explanations for a person's words or actions, not just the one that immediately leaps into our minds because of our preconceived notions, biases, and prejudices.

I want to have an open mind because I want to be fair, and I want to be fair with others because I want people to be fair with me.  I've said things that were wrong because I was hurting inside, not because I was trying to be mean, and I hope that someone else will realize that.  I've done things that were wrong because of poor decision-making skills, not out of malice, and I need to remember that other people make similar mistakes in their lives.  And it's up to me to keep learning from other people rather than judging them-- I can learn about the effects of fear from this "rude" person who's really just scared, and then I can pass those lessons on to others.

Our open minds can help to bring balance and peace to the world, and they can keep us from judging others harshly when no judgment is warranted.  And they can help us to learn and grow and to cast out the frustration we have with others in favor of compassion for the trials and difficulties that they're facing.

Questions to consider:

What does it mean to you to have an open mind?

Why do so many of us close our minds to new and different interpretations of the world we experience?

What are some of the biggest effects of a closed mind?

For further thought:

Never stop learning and adapting.  The world will always be changing.  If you limit yourself to what you knew and what you were comfortable with earlier in your life, you will grow increasingly frustrated with your surroundings as you age.

David Niven

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