Valencia was the final city on my journey to mark the completion of a chapter. Walking through an intersection in Valencia I happened to come across someone I didn’t think I’d see for years. Glancing up to see a tall man with a look of confusion at the building he was standing in front of, I was ecstatic to see such a familiar face in a foreign city. I cheerfully shouted his name as I ran up to greet my favorite professor from college. I couldn’t believe we happened to run into each other in Spain out of all places! Since I missed my graduation ceremony due to longer semesters in Europe, it was an amazing surprise that felt meant to be. We both truly had no idea the other was in Valencia!
We caught up the next day and one topic we talked about was how trying to keep an open mind was one of the keys to our success: achieving our goals, setting our sights on new goals, and finding new opportunities. But how does someone achieve an open mind? This question has remained with me since then.
The open mind is not as much “unattainable” as it is unconsciously undesired. Many people think they have an open mind; however, when it comes to stretching their minds around viewpoints contrary to their chosen conformity, they revert to their original mindset. The thing is – accepting an idea or opinion doesn’t mean you agree with it.
“The mark of an educated mind is to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”Aristotle
Open minded people must not change their original beliefs; they must accept other beliefs exist, other beliefs are just as legitimate as their own, and there’s always more to expose themselves to out there. After all, how can you defend your argument if you don’t know what you’re defending it against?
The key open minded people have is awareness. The catch with awareness is that it’s endless. My favorite quote from my meditation practice reads as such, “Awareness and love are not so different. They can’t be created, only realized. They can’t be destroyed, only obscured.” The good news is that if you’re questioning whether you have an open mind or not, you’re already on the right path. If you aren’t constantly questioning yourself at a healthy level, some self-reflection may be in store. Engaging in new experiences and practicing humility enable you to act on what you learn. You already have the tools, put them to work. And if you stop using your tools, they will get rusty and stop working.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”Anais Nin
The “unattainable” part of an open mind is how there’s never a moment where you can say, “Wow, I’ve arrived!” It’s a regular task to question yourself and a life-long learning process that never truly ends. It may sound insurmountable, but in my opinion it’s invigorating. An open mind is like the ocean, steadfast, yet ever-evolving. Life is too long and your mind is too magnificent to waste by letting your mind wither away before your body does.
It took me a while to write this because there’s really no answer. If I thought I had the answer I’d be the farthest away from it I could be as possible. The answer lies within yourself.
“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”Malcom Forbes
Do you think you have an open mind? What do you think are the keys to having an open mind? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
My personal blog can be found here: https://ellieejay.travel.blog/