Leaving Behind A Fixed Mind
If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.
― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how a fixed mind can hold our lives hostage. I define a fixed mind as one which is settled so firmly upon an idea that nothing new can be allowed inside. This kind of thinking closes us up, as Blake says. It automatically creates “sides” and “dualism.” When we are certain of the way things are, then we cannot experience anything new. We shut ourselves off from beginnings and fresh starts, and we become captive to fear and separation.
Dualistic thinking is highly controlled and permits only limited seeing. It protects the status quo and allows the ego to feel like it’s in control. This way of filtering reality is the opposite of pure presence.
― Richard Rohr, The Naked Now
This “pure presence” that Father Richard Rohr speaks of is where I want to live. Yoga and meditation can lead us to “pure presence.” In these practices, we release our normal ways of thinking and open our minds.
This is also why I adore travel. It is nearly impossible to travel the world and maintain a fixed mind. When you walk in new places, you cannot help but see differently. Your routine and normal way of doing and being in the world is always challenged when you travel, especially to different countries. Sometimes this frustrates us, but really we are being frustrated by the way our mind is fixed on the way things are “supposed to be.” When I travel, I try to remain open to whatever comes. In remaining open, I know I will have the opportunity to see the world in its infinity.
Even the simplest details can open your mind to a new way.
Perhaps you have eaten pasta your whole life with a fork and knife. Then on your first day in Italy, you are served a plate of pasta with a fork and spoon. You look around and see others in the restaurant are twirling their forkfuls of pasta in the scoop of the spoon. Maybe you have never seen this before. You try it and find that it works.
If there is more than one right way to eat pasta, could there also be more than one right way to wash your clothes, to garden, to worship, to practice yoga?
New experiences can lead to our “perceptions” being “cleansed,” so we can see things as they really are, which is “Infinite.”
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make any sense.
Yes, dearheart, let’s meet there in Rumi’s field. That’s where Loving Kindness lives.