This week’s Thursday Tidbits post considers the open mind, essential to mindfulness and perhaps “the gentlest thing in the whole world” as Byron Katie maintains. Not surprisingly, that which is gentle may also be the most powerful for the open mind, in its awareness, accepts what is.
Acceptance may be the power behind the gentleness of the open mind: “Ultimately the truth flows into it and through it, like water through rock” (A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony With the Way Things Are, Byron Katie). Undoubtedly, accepting some truths may seem like water flowing through rock yet imagine the power of that possibility.
The power of the open mind seems similar to Tonglen, a Buddhist teaching often translated as “sending and taking.” Tonglen “refers to being willing to take in the pain and suffering of ourselves and others and to send out happiness to us all” (Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You).
What we take in, we send out in a gentle flow if “…we drop the storyline that goes along with the pain and feel the underlying energy” (Pema Chödrön). In many ways, the open mind is “the bottom line” stripped of judgments and labels, the stuff of storylines.
It is not easy to drop storylines, not easy to resist being pulled in one direction or the other– it is much easier to react–but in the open mind of Tonglen, we stay with the energy that is stirring us. No matter how long or short our stay, in choosing response over reaction, we keep our options open.
In remaining open, we find the way for any truth to flow through us–some consider this courage—we appreciate the gentle persistence of water flowing through rock for it is not how long it may take but that it is undertaken at all. That is the power of being gentle.
The open mind is where paradoxes thrive and similes “like water through rock” describe the world of infinite possibilities for what has never been a moment’s thought may be the next moment’s reality.
On a personal note, beginning tomorrow I am attending a three-day, online Pema Chödrön retreat as an accompaniment to a lupus flare that is worthy of water flowing through rock.
The Chödrön retreat is “The Marks of Existence,” exploring impermanence, egolessness, suffering, and peace. More information is available from the Omega Institute.
Also, this past week I found three other blogs that seemed related to what this post considers the open mind. I enjoyed each post for entirely different reasons.
Functional Wellness: The Body-Mind Connection is written by a medical doctor and is a thorough, practical discussion of our mind-body’s “one bidirectional system.” This is one of the most succinct, mind-body articles I have found and includes excellent resources.
Things I have been thinking about lately offers Theodore Roethke’s poem, “The Waking,” a poem of paradox and as the analysis excerpts reveal, a great deal more.
Daily Dose of Vitamin S opens us to an everyday possibility often overlooked and a vitamin well-worth a daily dose, at least.
Finally, this week’s video features excerpts from author David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon University. It is called “This is Water: Reimagining Everyday Life.” It is nine minutes long but just may help you get through the next nine minutes you find yourself stuck in the everyday.
Video from KarmaTube
Thursday Tidbits are weekly posts that offer choice bits of information to celebrate our oneness with one another through our unique perspectives. It is how we connect, how we have always connected but in the 21st century, the connection is a global one.