For all the greatness of a human mind, all its ability to rationalize and discern, categorize and understand, it is a wonder that in all the years of our evolution as a species, rigid thought has not been superseded by more flexible ways of perceiving the world. Within the confines of our minds are the wondrous labyrinths of our perceptions of reality, sometimes laid out without question, other times set very deliberately. So very often, no matter the creation of ones formations of neural pathways, as rigid thinkers we become so unwavering in our beliefs about reality that in a myopic view we close ourselves to a potential truth, or perspective, that would enable far greater peace and happiness in our lives than the restrictive versions of principles we have chosen to live by.
The common misunderstanding that flexible is a term only useful to express the truth of the agility and length of ones muscles and physical body is a clear example of such a rigid perception. This term does delineate such truth, yet flexibility is a truth of the mind as much as it is muscular and connective tissues. Well into the 1960's existed another common misbelief that the brain could only change during infancy and childhood, despite this rigid way of thinking, great and searching minds in science have revealed neuroplasticity or cortical remapping of the brain, also referred to as brain plasticity, and have thus confirmed the human brains ability to change and adapt throughout the duration of ones entire life. This is why conversations about brainwashing thrill me. Unlike many conceptions of what it is to be brainwashed I personally see the potential of a positive venture aside from the very destructive nature most commonly alluded to when referenced. Brainwashing, when done with great mindfulness and care on ones own mind can effectively lead to more dexterous mental acrobatics, spacious understanding, mental flexibility, and ultimately fluidity of brain plasticity. Fundamentally, it does not matter what we call it, brainwashing or otherwise, attention and intention are all that is required to see the world from a more spacious, and open point of view.
Any time we catch ourselves becoming rigid in a thought, a belief, an opinion, a perception of the world, is the most advantageous time for us to reflect, postulate, and try to expand our perspective to see what we call in that moment truth, from another vantage point. Not to say that there will not be times when we are speaking a truth, however what is true for one is not always true for the many, and at the end of a long day of postulating the truth, one may only find that there is only one truth, and that truth is that everything is always changing.
The earth is not flat, nor is it the center of the solar system, yet there was a time when this was considered to be the truth. A matter of perspective can negate all truths, and though some may stand strong today, they may be negated as soon as tomorrow.
Intention is a stretching out of attention, a focusing of where the awareness for a period of time will be placed. If there is no intention, nor attention, to thought or action, the habit of falling into rigid thinking and acting will not be avoided. It is therefor in ones best interests to intend toward a mindfulness of thoughts, words, and actions to move away from rigidity and narrow myopic perspective. To know when we are only stating our opinion of life and reality as we perceive it in the moment we are perceiving it, to know when we could be or are wrong, is a far more comfortable and compassionate knock on an ego and a powerful mind than being proven blatantly wrong in private or public. I speak from experience.
Knowing this, attention to our words and thoughts leaves us far more room to compassionately and empathetically respond in our awareness of other peoples apparent faulty perspectives, opinions, beliefs, and principles, for we see our own so much more often and so much more clearly.
Perhaps it is time for us all to take a cue from Mark Twain, who encouraged taking ones mind out and dancing on it, to take some of the rigidity out of it.
In the end then the key to a flexible mind is a soft one.
With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving, Genevieve
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