Have you ever experienced a shift within yourself? It might be around what I’d call your heart space, or it could be within your mind.
I think I first became aware of it within my mind. I grew up with a clear sense of right and wrong. Then as a young Christian I was in a very strong doctrinal community where absolute truths were taught so I developed a clear sense of correct beliefs. If I heard a ‘new’ idea, I quickly, both intuitively and intellectually, ran it through my grid of acceptable beliefs. If it didn’t fit, and many didn’t, out it went. I couldn’t tolerate anything internally that would unsettle me.
Over the years my heart space has become much larger and much deeper. I spent years growing a contemplative pattern into my life. As I did that, I encountered the Love (with a capital ‘l’) of God. I became aware of how present God is around me and within me. My sense of myself, not only at peace with God, but as Jesus describes in John’s Gospel, one with God, became deeply real to me. As that happened, the roots of my heart space went deep into the Love of Christ. I became more secure within God’s Love and then more secure hearing many different ideas.
Now I’m often aware of internal movements – my heart opens, my heart closes. My mind opens, my mind closes.
I’ve watched how I’ve changed in my reaction to ideas. I can see how I can be open to new ideas or closed to them. The voice within me used to be very strong. “NO – that’s not what I think.” I would pull away, not even able to entertain that thought. It was outside my comfort zone. It’s beyond what I’d been taught as ‘true’ or ‘good’ or ‘healthy’ or ‘honest.” But now my response is more “That’s interesting. Does it bring peace, joy, kindness, compassion, forgiveness into me, into the world?”
I began to be able to have open ears and to listen to different ideas. The filter that I ran them through changed dramatically. I was no longer needing every idea to fit into a prescribed article of faith/belief. I could reflect on them and gather the impact of the idea on me and others around me. If I walk this way, will I come closer to others? If I encompass this belief will I be more gracious to other human beings? Slowly, my mind began to become open. Now I embrace living with an open mind. As the old song says, ‘Don’t Fence Me In’!
For me, to begin to cultivate an open mind, I had to have an open heart. To develop an open heart, I had to allow my roots to go deeply, experiencially, into the Love of Christ. I spent time in prayer, study, and spiritual conversations. It is why I love to offer people the contemplative pathway – learn to slow down, discover you’re Loved by God, and then live out of what you hear.
Open heart, open mind.
When do you experience your mind opening, closing, your heart opening, closing?
Love and prayers
Mystic in Motion
FYI – I’ve written a few blogs for Red Hat Outfitters. If you’re curious, or seeking a special holiday, it’s a different sort of blog describing some of my travel experiences: redhatoutfitters.com
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