Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Openness, Without Regret

The society in which we find ourselves appears on the surface to be open; it has the appearance of free speech. The truth is more murky than free; hence, the Supreme Court’s role in determining what constitutes free speech. The openness of our lives goes beyond this free speech.

We’re talking about free heart and free spirit, neither of which can be nailed down nor fit neatly in a box that you can point to and know what’s inside.

Some people mistake forced heart and forced spirit for openness. The difference is so subtle, so vague, and the “boundary lines” are constantly moving depending upon atmosphere, timing and involvement of others. Openness, then, can never be right or wrong. It’s how we respond to openness that’s as important as how we respond in kind.

Often, people mistake the raw nature of openness with weakness or vulnerability. Often, we react defensively to people who are mistaken or simply attempting understanding and compassion. We must realize that the defensiveness-after-openness model doesn’t make sense. When we become defensive, we shut down.

These are deeply ingrained behaviors. Moving beyond the way we’ve interacted with others can take a lifetime to budge, but we can experience immediate benefits for ourselves and others if we try something new today. Even if the new way is ever found to reap any benefit, we will undoubtedly return to those deeply ingrained ways of shutting down.

Also, openness cannot be connected to anything or anyone else. It’s a process that unfolds as we learn on the spot. Openness is not about preparation for wickedness; it’s the antidote for it. Like most medicine, the directions for application are specific to the condition it treats. Considering we’re afflicted and conflicted by others and ourselves, an IV-drip of openness might be advisable.

Openness is just that. It’s in our blood. It’s in our DNA. It courses through every moment of our entire existence. Openness has just been blocked by regret, by defensiveness, by the ignorance that has been flowing non-stop since we were born.

Transformation begins with openness to our self and expands to openness to others. Transformation never ends; it continuously opens through us. And, we need only to touch true openness to feel that transformative potential that is within us even now.

Transformation is openness, without regret.

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