Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Right and Wrong Box Trap

Our mind categorizes all that we encounter. When we interact or engage with other human beings, we tend toward placing them in the ‘right’ box or the ‘wrong’ box. Outside of this ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ designation, our mental reaction is toward neutrality, or ‘couldn’t care less.’ This is a trap that we set for others, but ultimately it ensnares us as well. We become more isolated and surround ourselves with those who agree rather than engage with us.

We often benefit from this boxing strategy. Through categorization, we don’t have to explore a person once a determination has been reached, especially if that determination is in the ‘wrong’ box. This allows our natural desire to be lazy to hijack our mind’s capacity for exploration. If we know that someone is wrong, why bother listening, learning or attempting understanding when we can just ignore and move onward.

This creates a bubble around us, blocking our awareness of the external world. Even if those we have placed in the ‘wrong’ box actually are indeed mistaken, can we really state unequivocally that all aspects of their beliefs are mistaken? Also, if the circumstances and conditions change, could we be the one that becomes mistaken by our reluctance to see other points of view? This is the reason to always remain open to listening to or exploring all people who wish to engage or interact with us. If we do not, we risk ourselves being mistaken without the safeguards of analysis and objectivity.

The other pitfall is when we’ve placed ourselves in what we deem to be the ‘right’ box. We’ve immediately limited alternative external inputs by surrounding ourselves with ‘yes’ people, those that agree with our point of view regardless of any evidence to the contrary. Once again, a bubble is created, blocking our awareness.

This is a constant struggle. We do not want to waste our time, and sometimes we need to act instead of continuing endless dialogue. This is why open awareness is critical in knowing the difference. Whenever our awareness is not open and limitless, we’ve limited our ability to act clearly and quickly.

Often, we may not even realize we’ve been back in the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ box trap. Our mind would prefer to do nothing much or be aimless and sporadic in its application. If we consider open awareness as work or as tiresome, cumbersome or a waste of internal resources, it’s going to seem like it is that way. We must let go of the assumption that directing mental efforts is anything but fun. It can be fun to explore this world and all the people and situations we encounter.  We need only be open to it.

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