There was a time in my life when I was extremely narrow minded…to the point that if something didn’t line up with my religious/spiritual beliefs I would toss it out without question. I wouldn’t hang around people who believed differently. I wouldn’t read their books or listen to their teachings. I didn’t think people with other world views had anything to offer me…because I thought I knew the absolute truth. I was very stubborn. And scared. I was afraid that I might become “infected” with some kind of lie or evil or darkness if I opened up my mind to diverse ideas.
It has only been in the last 10 years or so that I have slowly allowed my glass, sound-proof walls to be broken in order for me to heal and soften. Actually, it wasn’t really a pre-planned choice. My beliefs had shifted to such a point that I had no foundation what-so-ever. It was a scary time for me. Full of anxiety and questions and emotions…something I knew I couldn’t recover from. I would have to rebuild myself from the ground up, because everything had been striped down to dry, hard ground…None of the people or teachings or ideas that I used to find comfort in soothed me anymore. Those things just didn’t make sense to me like they once did.
So, I was forced into searching for materials to rebuild from other places.
In this searching I have been continually amazed by what is out there. The beautiful science that I had once believed to be pointless and ‘wrong’…the teachers of life and spirituality that offered answers to my long outstanding questions…the books that gently guided me to seek my own path. A rebuilding path. One that I probably would not have found in my old, small box with very limited views.
I have the deep feeling that we are all ONE. All humans, all creatures, all of nature and all of the universe. That we came from the same Source and we will all return to the same Source.
But if we are all ONE, then I can learn from everyone. Everything. Because we are essentially, all part of the same whole. There is nothing to fear. I will not be swallowed in darkness if my intention is to understand truth and love.
We are like cells in a human body…millions and billions of us each filling a certain role. Under a microscope we all look like separate little parts, doing their own thing, bumping around from here to there. But when you zoom out and stand in front of a mirror, you can see that all those little cells make up this amazing formation that appears as if it is one solid structure.
This structure that we call a body communicates among itself in ways that science can hardly understand. And in so many unique ways. But it’s all for the benefit of the body as a whole. Every single cell is stuffed with the absolute purpose of keeping the body at peek performance.
In each and every moment, these multitudes of cells are talking and moving and dividing. A nerve cell in the foot speaks to the brain and the brain speaks to the rest of the body and adjustments are made immediately for the benefit of the the foot, while simultaneously communicating with every single one of the trillions of cells that make up the body. Of our trillions of cells, I am not aware of one single one of them, or one single organ that refuses to learn from other parts because the other parts do not have the same perspective as they do.
The brain does not reject what the foot has to say because the foot isn’t like the brain. Most of the time the foot knows there is a freakin’ Lego on the floor before the brain ever does! What would happen if the brain continued to ignore and shut down signals to and from the foot? By the end of the week, anyone with a little boy who owns 5 million Lego’s (speaking from experience here) would have a mangled piece of flesh that kind of resembles a foot on the end of their leg.
Many times this is what we do in our life as humans.
We have very solid opinions about certain things, and may even call them ‘absolute’ truths because those things make sense to us. And when someone who does not share the opinion about said truth comes along, we reject them (or at least their ideas) and go find our ‘tribe’ that makes us feel more secure about what we already believe. Then we spend even more time, digging trenches for these truths that we so deeply love and trust. It is scary to step out of the trench when we have built a comfortable space there.
But a healthy body cannot do this and remain healthy. Nor can we as the human race.
This does not mean, that we accept everything that comes along as truth or reality. And it does not mean we have to change our opinion. But here’s the thing, changing our opinion means we’re learning, we’re growing, we’re maturing. Think about something as simple as your favorite color or food. Is it the same as when you were 5? Or 10? More than likely not. Why? Why do our opinions change?
Opinions change when we are presented with new information that makes more sense than the previous information we had. And there is nothing wrong with that, it’s a good thing. There is also nothing wrong with being presented with new information that doesn’t make sense to you and therefore not changing your opinion. The latter, however, is NOT the same thing as being so narrow-minded and stubborn that we refuse to even acknowledge that another opinion actually exists and that actual, intelligent, loving people believe something different than we do. And just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we are right. Just because someone else has an opinion doesn’t mean they are right either.
Being right is highly subjective to the perspective we have of life.
We have to take a step back and realize that just because we believe something, doesn’t mean it’s true. It just means that it’s our opinion and hopefully it is something that is working for our life. Sometimes we hold opinions just because they are habits or because we are afraid of the unknown so we continue to stay in our box even if it’s not working for us…or because we have created an identity around a certain opinion that we have.
At this point in my life, I have changed my opinions about love and food and happiness and life in general, more times that I can even count, with the majority of the changes occurring in the last 10 years. It’s been a wild ride!
One thing I have learned is that the less I hold onto having to be ‘right’ for more people than myself, the more I learn. The more I grow. The less judgmental I am and the more healing I find. It’s stressful always having to convince people of a certain opinion or belief.
Back in the day, I used to think that people who remained on the same path with heartfelt conviction, never straying from their truth, their religion, their ideals – were the epitome of the supreme human. To me, it meant they had depth of character and huge amounts of will power and strength to remain so secure in their beliefs. Their level of commitment to what they held true was a testament of stability in my eyes.
Now, I’m not so sure. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy to be that extreme and unchanging. On the other hand, I’m not sure it’s so healthy to be extreme the other way either…being so lax that a person is constantly being tossed around no matter what their internal voice is saying to them.
I have found more health, more freedom, more enjoyment, more contentment – just more of all the good stuff – by being open. Open to the people around me, what they have to say, experiences they’ve had…without judging them as immoral, wrong, weird or stupid. The reality is, they just have a different perspective on life than I do. Their experiences and traumas and enjoyments have shaped their view and acceptance of the world just like mine have for me.
In the library, if a book kinda pops out at me, no matter which section or topic, I love to pick it up and take a dive into another world for a moment, see if anything rings a bell in me. Out in the woods, at the grocery store, the gas station…wherever I am, stuff speaks to me. Stuff that is random or off topic. These things speak to me in ways that they never used to…opening up realms of things that I NEVER used to dream of.
Now that I am not afraid to explore and learn outside of my comfort zone, my being has expanded into places of security and healing that I never knew existed.
I LOVE the newness of a brand new idea that I’ve never heard of before…I LOVE stumbling upon a piece of science or a book that completes a small piece of a mental puzzle I have been trying to put together…I just LOVE learning from the most unexpected places in the most unpredictable experiences.
I LOVE the feeling I get when I am able to release any attachment to my own opinions when I am listening to what worked for someone else on their life path. I LOVE being able to embrace the infinate possibilities in finding answers in everyone. In Everything.