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Friday, February 11, 2011

first day on earth, part two (of three)

last week i wrote (and posted) a treatise on open-mindedness. I'd hoped setting my thoughts on paper would offer me clarity on the subject, would finally give (once and for all) the insight i need to live a life of greater tolerance. and yet the more i foreground open-mindedness as part of my daily intention, the more i notice how compulsively i label, judge, rank.

on a more sanguine note, however, awareness can sometimes lead to changes in behavior. and thus lately i have also found myself exploring more for exploration's sake, moving through the world with less judgment, less ego.

god, what freedom: to simply explore life--allowing consciousnesss to flow with blissful absorption in the Now. allowing life to exist on its own terms, free of any value or name. free of my intrusion.

but perhaps the strongest epiphany i've experienced is this: being open-minded is, essentially, tolerance to change.

yes, tolerance to change.

like most anybody, i have certain preferences for my day. i'd like to bike to work free of parked cars suddenly swinging their doors open. i'd also like motorists and myself to share the road, as i imagine different fish pleasantly share the same ocean current. at my job, i have a whole new set of of desires and expectations and assumptions. and after work? my list resets again.

and even though the particulars of my list vary with context, the common denominators remain the same: i seek pleasure, happiness, meaning, depth, love.

consequently, i try to avoid pain, sadness, vacuity, superficiality, hate.

on the face of it, my plan seems healthy, perhaps even logical. but what happens when i find what i do not seek (pain where i sought pleasure, hate where i wanted love)?

well, here's what happens. i grow frustrated, discouraged, entitled, weirdly self-righteous.

and defeat seems everywhere.

of course, once i gain some distance from the defeat, i can usually see the problem wasn't that something unexpected doomed my plan, nor was it a flaw in the plan itself (idealistic as it may be). the problem or, more specifically, how i chose to react to change.

instead of tolerating change, i fought change. and like most fights, i'm left belligerent and bruised. and whatever Oneness i've managed to experience in the world is suddenly absent. and, worst of all, when i let anger and frustration predominate, i'm no longer willing to give love--and thus unable to receive it. (the two could not be more connected. i cannot live from the heart, if i feel unable to openly receive kindness and compassion.)

which is why i now take the next vow in my pledge to live a more open-minded life.

i will tolerate change.

when things clash with my expectations, when i get X where i sought Y, when i feel ignored where i hoped to be heard, when that webpage takes (what feels like) my whole afternoon to load, when someone answers his cell phone behind me at the movies, or when i forget to unsubscribe or renew or return, when i lose the second pair of sunglasses i bought this month, or spend an eternity on hold with customer service, when i am late because someone else was late, when i notice i look older than i used to...i will attempt to tolerate change. i will try to keep from shutting down, from closing off. i will try to keep my mind--in a word--open.


Donna D said...


This was a joy to read. I had a smile on my face for the entire post. I understand what you feel because I am a human BEING as well. We all go through the ups and downs..the stillness and change and we try and hold onto the "good feelings" and restrain the "bad". There is a time to feel all of those emotions (leading/ follow, vigorous/exhaustion) How non-reactive can we be during all :) Acceptance of all things;feelings, thoughts emotions, changes, is key and we all will stay open!

Lots of love

jimf said...

Ari.....great read...all very insightful and so real. Your words strike home with I too have decided to stop judging live free from the steel bars of multiple mental frustrations......not only is it
cleansing to do so for the soul....the sunlight of it's magic helps you see the good in everything.