I believe I always have had a relatively open mind throughout my life. Many times this ends up providing me much favor. At the same time there have been times I was probably too closed to new experiences and I learned some hard lessons or missed out on something that could have been great. I’m probably like most people in this regard.
In recent years I have practiced yoga. Kundalini yoga. It is the yoga of awareness. So here is an example of where I did need to keep an open mind. I know I certainly felt silly the first time or two that I contorted myself into a pose which looked goofy or chanted something that sounded like I was singing a jungle animal to sleep. But what the heck- everyone else in this room looks and sounds just as silly as I do, so they can’t judge me! And the instructor went to great lengths to be certified in this age old practice. And the fact that it goes back to ancient times in multiple civilizations must mean something. Plus yoga has been a tremendous spiritual and health practice for centuries for many people in multiple cultures. So keeping my mind open to the possibility that I may not know everything, I decided to do all that I was instructed to do and focus on my “third eye”. Okee-dokey.
After probably a few dozen yoga sessions by different instructors, I began to notice that I felt very relaxed immediately following the session. And even if I doubted the effectiveness on myself, I did feel relieved that the worst thing I was doing- even if not fully achieving a meditative state — was trying to free my mind of clutter that surely doesn’t matter– even if for only a few minutes. That’s got to be a great benefit right there!
But like almost anything we choose to do again and again, it became a habit. Thankfully, a good habit. And I became curious enough to read more about this and how it compares to other forms of yoga. I also spoke to instructors about their experiences and what it does for others. And at long last, I’ve come to enjoy and even need this calming practice on a regular basis. I now realize that it was my open mind in the first place that was the key to one of the greatest gifts I could give myself. The gift of mindfulness.
My practice of keeping an open mind to new experiences has brought other great gifts to me, such as natural wellness solutions and a wonderful nutrition and health coaching course of study. I know these things will benefit me for the rest of my life.
Openmindedness has also allowed me to have a fun time mountain hiking and rock climbing. Honestly, I wasn’t too wild about either of these ideas before I heard them. I know some people were just MADE for this kind of activity. I don’t happen to be one of them! You wouldn’t even find me at a sporting goods store unless I was under some level of duress. But now that it is all said and done, I have tremendous gratitude that I went ahead with it. Hiking, climbing, sweating, getting dusty. The immense serenity I felt while along God’s mountainous creation…the incredible pictures I captured…and the feeling of accomplishment as I struggled crawling up rocks alongside healthy adults half my age. I would have missed out on all of that had I rejected this idea completely. So grateful for another valuable life lesson learned.
And so for the next adventure life has for me, I will keep my mind open, try my best and look forward to new exciting opportunities of learning or experiencing something wonderful!
What experiences would you have missed out on had you not kept an open mind?…