Openness. . .
To welcome something doesn’t mean we have to like it, and it doesn’t mean we have to agree with it; it just means we have to be willing to meet it. We temporarily suspend our rush to judgment and are simply open to what’s occurring.
With welcoming comes the ability to work with what is present and what is unpleasant. After a while, we begin to discover that our happiness isn’t determined simply by what is external in our life but also what is internal. To be open means to embrace paradox and contradiction; it’s about keeping our minds and hearts available to new information, letting ourselves be informed by life. Openness welcomes the good times and the bad times as equally valid experiences. Openness is the basis of a skillful response to life.
At the deepest level, this is an invitation to fearless receptivity. To welcome everything and push away nothing can’t be done as an act of will. This is an act of love.
Mostly, we think of mindfulness as bringing a very precise attention to what’s happening, as it’s happening. In this way, we bring an almost laser-like attention to our practice. We bring a careful moment-to-moment attention to sensation, to thoughts, to emotions. But sometimes this kind of precise attention can create a sort of tension or struggle in the mind.
This is when it’s more useful to try a practice that cultivates an open, boundless awareness. To develop a mind that is vast like space. To allow pleasant and unpleasant experiences to appear and disappear without struggle, resistance, or harm.
Peace and Love, Jim