Keeping an Open Mind

Excerpt from the Summer 2002 Newsletter

Our rapidly changing world presents us with many challenges. One of the most difficult challenges is keeping an open mind.

New realities are opening up on all levels. But we often shut down and close our minds to concepts that are unfamiliar to us or to different ways of doing things. We may feel threatened by them, so we reject them as unsuitable or untrue.

When we believe that our own world view is immutable, we accept the limitations that this implies. In his book “Australian Bush Flower Healing”, Ian White gives two examples which illustrate this point. The first concerns the running of the 4 minute mile. Although this is still a difficult feat to achieve, it was considered to be impossible for any human to run a mile in under 4 minutes, until 1954 when Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3 minutes 59 seconds. Once the record had been broken, other runners also ran the mile in less than 4 minutes. What had been considered to be impossible passed into the realm of accepted reality.

The second example concerns the Portuguese explorer Magellan. When he arrived in Tierra del Fuego in the 16th century, the natives did not see his ships in the bay for three days. The ships were so totally unfamiliar to them that, although they were very large objects, they were also invisible. It was only when one of the native canoes crashed into the side of one ship and the people were brought on board that the ships became visible.

It is a known fact that our sensory system filters out most of the stimuli which surrounds us, only acknowledging what reinforces our existing view of reality. If we keep an open mind, we are more flexible and more adaptable to change.

Keeping an open mind does not mean accepting everything. But it does give us the possibility of deciding which realities we wish to embrace and which are not suited to who we are and who we wish to be.

An open mind also helps us to be more tolerant of other people and societies that are different from our own. If we are capable of opening our minds we can also open our hearts to diversity and live in harmony with our fellow human beings. This is necessary if we are to experience peace on Earth.

One of the most relevant essences to help us to fully live in and appreciate the changing world around us is Freshwater Mangrove (Australian Bush). Many of our beliefs are based on what we have been told is true by our families or society, but not experienced directly for ourselves. This essence helps us to move past these mental prejudices and open to new concepts and realities that would previously have been rejected as impossible or undesirable.

The Pacific Essences range includes several essences that are particularly relevant to the theme of openmindedness. Grass Widow helps us question our beliefs and change them if they are not working for us. Camellia is a catalyst for opening to new attitudes that reflect our true inner nature. It helps us to respond to present experience with gracefulness, flexibility and openness. Moon Snail cleanses the mind and lets in light. It helps us to cultivate an attitude of innocent wonderment instead of becoming enmeshed in rigid thought structures. And finally Harvest Lily is a remedy of expansion and awakening. It helps us see another's point of view by moving beyond ego boundaries and to begin to appreciate "other" as the same Self.

If you find it difficult to accept anything beyond the five senses that cannot be scientifically proven, try Marigold (South African). It stimulates right brain function, strengthening the intuition and enhancing communication and receptivity. It helps us open to the possibility of other realities. Rhododendron (South African) is for those who are dogmatic, rigid and sure that their way is the only way to do things. This essence helps such people to trust the process and to make growth choices as opposed to fear choices.

The Chakra Essences from Terre and Cosmos are also useful tools when we find ourself on unfamiliar ground and need to keep an open mind. Chakra 4 will keep us from closing our hearts to new concepts and ideas, while Chakra 6 will help us to discern what is currently best for us and what is best left behind.