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Life with an Open Mind

Updated on June 25, 2017
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long student of psycho-philosophy of living, and a devoted practitioner of many techniques enhancing personal evolution.

Open Your Eyes, your Arms, Your Heart, and above All  -  Open You Mind!
Open Your Eyes, your Arms, Your Heart, and above All - Open You Mind!

From Open Ajar to Wide Open

To have an open mind means to be detached from it and so to allow it to serve as it's instructed. Someone said: "Mind is an obedient servant - but a cruel master". Let us put it this way: it's all about how high this conscious observer is on the scale of the inner hierarchy of our mental forces that makes the whole difference.

It is this cultivated ability to divide attention between perceiving the outer reality and monitoring our responses to it. However, above all it is about being able to consciously choose our mindset with its thoughts, attitudes, emotions, and beliefs, while not staying fixated on any.

We "Are" Not Our Mind  -  We "Have" It
We "Are" Not Our Mind - We "Have" It

What Do We Call "Mind"?

However, what is "mind" in the first place? We are using the word all the time quite loosely, but the chances are that our definitions are not entirely agreeing with each other. So, let me give you my definition of it so that we are clear about what I am talking about in this article.

It's the sum total of all information available to us from our inner resources - whether it comes from acquired knowledge, skills, learned behavior, or our selective and unique patterns of perceiving factual reality.

We might as well ask ourselves: "Who in us is choosing our next thought? How did it get there?" Well, for the most part, our thoughts are automatic results of our interpreting the current situation by associating it with similar experiences from our past.

They follow each other in a single file in form of an inner chat, each trying to get our attention. When they get it, they can be said to dominate in the way that we are likely to respond to our situation - meaning emotions attached to them and attitudes.

Looking Same, but One Is Conscious, and One Is Programmed
Looking Same, but One Is Conscious, and One Is Programmed

Self-Deceived about Their "Free Will"

One of the most significant facts to be mentioned is that our mind is a part of our automatic nature and it's enjoying its autonomy - as long as we allow it to replace our conscious choices. In other words, when we don't choose our experiencing and our behavior, it will do it for us.

So we can't go wrong by calling our mind "automatic pilot". Let's face it, folks, the great majority of the mankind spend their entire life switched to their automatic pilot, while completely identifying themselves with it. That's what I am calling "closed mind".

Without them noticing it, situations are triggering a garden variety of "life roles" in them which present complete programs, so they are totally oblivious how their whole life is being run by a "life script" composed of exchange among those well played-in roles.

In that respect, we could freely say that they are not living their lives - it's "happening to them". Identified with their automatic pilot they may even deceive themselves how they are "choosing out of free will" - not realizing that their will is at service of that automatic pilot in them.

From those most ordinary folks to some very educated you may hear how they rationalize their emotions and attitudes as "theirs", whereas practically all of it is a carbon copy of their role models, parents, their religious idol, or - generally "someone else".

No Solemn Peace and Serenity - but Vulnerable Ego Expressing Fear, Criticism, Intolerance
No Solemn Peace and Serenity - but Vulnerable Ego Expressing Fear, Criticism, Intolerance

Religiousness Is Not Ego-Free

When it's about ego, somewhat similar examples we could find among religious folks. Possibly not all of them, but most of them. Their ego is brainwashed into strong religious convictions about a deity, evil, sin, and the whole package. Why am I calling religiousness a part of ego? Simply because it contains strategies for living - especially because they are including an afterlife.

It's a close-minded belief system that doesn't leave anything for re-examination or questioning, which makes it qualified for a typical recipe for survival. Of course they all prefer seeing it something more dignifying than that, and without contradicting myself I can say that they are right.

Namely, beliefs are what we make of them, they don't insist on accuracy, and it's all right for people to believe whatever they please. If that was not so then there wouldn't be so many religions, but the whole world would be forced to believe in the same facts, same evidence, same logic.

Ego doesn't belong to the terminology of religion but psychology. For religious folks to deny it would be the same as to deny facts about anatomy. So here I am saying it again - on the level of human mentality religiousness is in the domain of ego.

To further support this point, I'd like to remind you how much time they spend appeasing their ego with competitiveness, judgmental attitude, playing a patronizing role, being normative, and even emotionally prone to flare-ups of intolerance and condemning those who dare to believe differently.

Ego Is a Follower Finding Inspirations at Most Peculiar Places
Ego Is a Follower Finding Inspirations at Most Peculiar Places

Ego - Director of Our Drama Called Life

In charge of this automatic pilot is none other but our precious ego. Again, for sake of agreeing upon what we shall call "ego", here is my short definition. It's our social self-image composed of strategies of psycho-physical survival in the herd, pardon - society.

It's what we "believe" about ourselves to be true and what strategies and behaviors are necessary to protect that "truth" - meaning pride, confidence, show-off, greed, and sometimes arrogance, even violence.

Ego loves its labels, those that we intimately and publicly call ourselves - whether an American, democrat, republican, patriot, Christian, Moslem; also a father, a spouse, a professional of any sort. These labels, when passionately carried around may parade as our very reason for living.

So, ego is that decision maker in all our behaviors and interpretations of what's going on in our world, dictating to our automatic pilot what memories, thoughts, emotions and attitudes to apply. It's our guide in life - as long as we agree to be pushed around by a bunch of never questioned, never challenged rules, some of them stemming from our childhoods.

Napoleon Was quite Intelligent  -  but also a Conqueror, Meaning a Mass Murderer
Napoleon Was quite Intelligent - but also a Conqueror, Meaning a Mass Murderer

Intelligence May Not Be a Sign of an Open Mind after All

As I was thinking about all this, at first it came to me as a little shock when it dawned on me that intelligence does not necessarily mean an advantage, while it's basically catering to the real decision maker in our mental hierarchy.

Meaning that it could equally be in service of our highly spirited consciousness, or our automatic pilot, which may include those animalistic urges of greed, territoriality, arrogance, all the way to a mentality of a psychopath. After all, Napoleon was quite intelligent, and so are some of the current world leaders posing the global threat to peace.

Also, we could talk about a garden variety of highly educated academics whole egos are messing up their marriages, relations with their kids, and even giving a character to their role in the academic community. That's why we have to make this distinct difference between someone being intelligent, or even a genius - and who in them is using it.

A Sense of Unutterable Freedom Comes as a Side Effect of an Open Mind
A Sense of Unutterable Freedom Comes as a Side Effect of an Open Mind

Open Sesame!

Now, what happens when we open our mind after having cultivated our conscious awareness to stay on the top of our experiencing life? Do we forget any of those many things that we normally do automatically? Do we have to drive our cars consciously again, like when we first were learning that skill? Of course not.

It's only that now we can amplify those experiences that we like, and quiet down or remove those that are making no sense - usually stemming from our knee-jerk negative responding to life. We gain an enormous sense of inner freedom to think out of the box, to examine our beliefs and update them, not stuck or fixated on anything that intuitively doesn't belong to our chosen mind style or life style.


There Is a Way to Be Cute Again in Adulthood, No Need to Feel Nostalgic about Childhood
There Is a Way to Be Cute Again in Adulthood, No Need to Feel Nostalgic about Childhood

Open Mind Leaves Past Behind

Once we reach that level of open-mindedness, we qualify to call ourselves "spiritual". Life stops just "happening to us", we feel in charge and responsible for every aspect of our intimate reality. Also, we give our past a right place in the new dynamics of computing our experiences - as it stops having a grip over our emotionality.

Nothing in the past is any longer dictating our present model of being, as we are letting it stay back there in time where it belongs. It's an enormous step forward in personal evolving, this realization that our former layers of development are not really "ourselves" enough as to give us a counsel, and their level of emoting doesn't deserve to be our valid response to life.

My teenage memories may be dear to me, but that teenager has no say in how I choose to see my present reality. The same goes for the times going even further back to my childhood. That's where Freud stops making sense, as our awakened spirituality with an open mind means our detachment from those formative years. To give them any significance in who I am today would be the same like giving my toilet training any significance in my self-identification.

Some of the Best Teachers Are Those Who Used to Have a Closed Mind before They Opened It
Some of the Best Teachers Are Those Who Used to Have a Closed Mind before They Opened It

Those Who Inspire with Their Open Minds

Why do we call certain individuals "highly spirited"? Because their spirit glows through everything they are, they stand for, and they do.

We can sense their conscious intent, their choice to put some sense into every moment of their life, instead of merely being like unconscious reactive automatons. And we know they have no interest, no emotional payoffs to judge us, but to help us open our own valve of happiness, love, peace, and harmony.

I hope this article succeeds to provide some inspiration to anyone with a mind open ajar and whose heart wants it to be wide open.

Let's Start Learning about Life All Over Again   -  This Time By Noticing Beauty of It
Let's Start Learning about Life All Over Again - This Time By Noticing Beauty of It

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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 19 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Wow! Incredible indeed! My life changed when I moved to Croatia from South Africa. I am open-minded and have learned so much about life itself and not forgetting about myself too. Your valuable points mentioned got me thinking about how people are in my now foreign place. I know closed minds you said it so well.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      Dear Dream On,

      Let me pick up one of your last sentences for my start. No, you won't "scare me away", no matter what you write, no matter how often and how much. I understand it's not easy to use a small writing space to cover all that complexity of who we are - so that words may hopefully sound exactly the same between lips and in ears.

      It may take some more back and forth writing before I would dare to say that I understand where you are coming from emotionally, because I respect that totality of who you are, and I can't ambitiously claim that by understanding some fragments of you I also understand the whole of you. You know, sometimes knowing only part of the story is worse than knowing nothing.

      So far I think you are quite a sensitive, delicate, and artistic nature, giving your emotions a priority as a guiding force in your life. Like so many artistic people, you may be at times painfully aware of your individual differences from others, and especially at times of trying to share yourself with them, those differences are sticking out as obstacles.

      What you may want to try is accept your uniqueness more, and not expect to be understood by "just anybody", because they may not be mentally equipped to grasp your depth. It may be very frustrating and at times maddening as we get an impression like we are talking Chinese to others. I have been there, and still have these moments.

      Another thing you may try is not to take others as a sample of happiness or success that YOU should somehow duplicate. So nurture those flowers of your own emotional garden, write, love what you do and who you are, embrace your spiritual signature. You can never go wrong by loving yourself more and being more of a friend to yourself - which boils down to cultivating some peace, some feeling more at home in your own skin, entertaining yourself with nice thoughts.

      Ultimately, don't measure yourself with others, or others with yourself. You are a wonderful human being, and I hope to hear from you again as soon as you get an inspiration about what you want to share. - Be well. - Val.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 19 months ago

      I am pinching myself to see if I just read the hub that explains so much about life and the way people see it. Heck the pinch didn't work. A light tap and then some cold water in my eyes. Nope I still am feeling the same way. I have been trying to sum up my feelings by adding them together like numbers but as soon as I think I am on to something I back off and try to explain myself to someone. They give me the crazy look with eyes rolling. I begin to laugh then silently cry when I say no I am serious. They usually walk away or run. Sometimes they let me keep talking then grab their phone like I have to take this call. That's the end for them not for me. We live every day with our feelings guiding our way. I want to bring out the happiest I can in so doing I trigger every emotion along the way. That brings me to every hub or stoem story/poem I have ever written. I try to get into my deepest, darkest side so I can bring out the most wonderful ,emotional ,incredible, loving nature. One that bypasses all the stereo types and bull that we incorporate in our lives. I don't know how to do what I am doing because I have never read of anyone doing it. Looking for any suggestions and help. I am often breaking my own rules because of time restraints in my day to day schedule. I keep reminding myself I am only human. Then again what I can do is limitless. So why can't I do what I want like so many other people who do what they want. Mine is as much mental as it is physical. I could go on and on. I just want to see if you understand what I am trying to do. Not to scare you away. Keep up the wonderful hubs and thanks for finding me.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      Cat - Every so often I get a comment from someone that seems to share my own life's quest to better myself - and then, even if perhaps silly of me, but it feels like I have known the person for some time. I think this willingness to compete with our yesteryear self is one of the most noble ways to invest our efforts. You will be glad you did some day. I am.

      Thank you for your nice comment. Be well. - Val.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 19 months ago from Los Angeles

      Hello Val,

      I am so glad to discover this hub. There is just so much good sense in it! I recognize myself in some of these examples and know that I have many ongoing things to work on. Thanks for the valuable information and tools- I will revisit this often.

      Cat:)

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      El Shaddai - I still haven't figured out if it may be stemming from my unconscious wishful thinking - but I tend to believe that this life is not the end. BUT, I am not ONE BIT trying to give any "suchness" to that other existence. It may be something totally other-dimensional and unfathomable, nothing like a "continuation" of this earthly consciousness with its self-identification.

      You see, that's why I rather count myself as an atheist than say something similar about a "possible-but-uncertain" cosmic consciousness that I will never claim to "know" anything about. All holy books are kindergarten stories comparing to the possible complexity and unfathomable nature of such intelligence. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that people talk about something that they are not evolved enough, educated enough to grasp - just fantasizing MORE than enough.

      But then again, to each his own, let everyone believe what they want.

    • El Shaddai 2016 profile image

      El Shaddai 2016 19 months ago

      LOL!! I see what you mean ValKaras. Nevertheless, I couldn't help notice that you mentioned an afterlife. Do you believe in an afterlife?

      EL

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      ElShaddai - You are mixing confidence with religion. Religion is a closed system of belief, closed to questioning. Psychologically it is a strategy of survival, not only in this life but also in afterlife.

      Ego is the chief mental force in the arsenal of survival strategies. It is your image of self, the labels you call yourself, like Christian, American, father, spouse, all your life roles. Your sense of identity is wrapped around these labels.

      On the other hand, it doesn't take a believer (in religious sense) to have faith in good outcomes - it's called optimism, and within YOUR chosen system of beliefs you can call it "faith in god".

      This faith, or confidence, has nothing to do with the fact that your ego, your social self-image is majorly based on your religious belief. Your sense of survival, also containing "saving your soul", and "love" as a major strategy of interacting with others - is all your ego in action.

      You may not want to call it this way. You would not believe how many other things are there in psychology that you would not like - so you and I are not likely to stand behind the same terminology. Yours will be full of religious slogans, mine will be full of scientific facts. You may say that science is not reliable yardstick of reality, and I may call religion something like "overcompensating for the existential fear of the unknown", or "replacing protective parental figure in adulthood with a protective celestial father and mother".

      You see my point? You and I can't have a discussion, because you have all "proofs" that are no proofs to me, and my yapping about science can't satisfy your kind of thirst for self-knowledge. Nothing wrong about it, we are just two different dudes.

    • El Shaddai 2016 profile image

      El Shaddai 2016 19 months ago

      Hello ValKaras,

      You have written a thought provoking hub!

      Rather than imposing my beliefs, I would like the opportunity to respond to the section of your hub where you write about faith not being ego free. I think you opened the door to a believer's point of view with this subject. LOL!

      Faith is absolutely ego free. Ego is defined as a person' self-esteem or self-importance. Faith removes one's self-importance altogether. When I am working on a goal, for example, I have absolute faith that I will accomplish it. Now, sure, I am using the word "I". However, my faith is purely external and has nothing to do with believing that I am so mighty as to be able to attain my goal alone. I place my faith in God, and so in actuality I am leaving it up to God to help me attain the goal. Therefore, faith, in this case has nothing to do with self-importance. Rather, through faith, I am eliminating myself from the equation entirely.

      A better example would be flying through a rain storm. I am just a passenger on the plane. However, I have absolute faith that the pilots will fly us to safety. I have nothing to do with flying the plane. My ego is not involved in the process. It is removed from the process.

      EL

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 19 months ago from Canada

      Nell Rose - Overlooking my ego I can't but notice its being flattered by your comment, even more so because, like you said you had studied psychology and you still agreed with my hub. As for my open mind, or better yet - the true-me, it's simply a joy of intellectually blending with folks of "higher vibes". The more of awakened ones - the bigger hope for our aching humankind, because whether we realize it or not, we do act like eye-openers and our "frequency" is contagious.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 19 months ago from England

      Hiya, I studied psychology back in the 90s, and I was nodding all the way through your hub! great stuff, and fascinating reading, nell

    • ValKaras profile image
      Author

      Vladimir Karas 20 months ago from Canada

      Stacie - You are right, and we can only hope with a great dose of optimism that there is something like "consciousness evolution", and the world may snap out if this self-perpetuating nightmare.

      Thank you so much for the nice comment. - Val

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 20 months ago

      The world would certainly be a better place to live in if we all had an open mind! There are so many variables that cause stress and close-mindedness-religion,politics, racial hatred,etc.

      A well thought out hub!

    • ValKaras profile image
      Author

      Vladimir Karas 20 months ago from Canada

      Hello Glenn - It's quite rewarding to have some deep minds responding to my hub, which gives me all incentive I need to continue sharing my thoughts.

      I remember myself some decades back assessing the task of controlling our emotions as "not easy". Then, after some more time passed with some more thoughts welling up from intuition, the truth hit me - "If it's not easy, it must be impossible". Indeed, struggling for that control started to look like fretting in quick sand, making us just go deeper and faster.

      Besides, being used to cornering myself with challenging questions, now I asked: Who is it in me anyway that says "It's not easy"? Sometimes I like jumping ahead in time and imagining the task as already accomplished - and then in retrospect ask myself: So, was it really that hard, or was I just making it hard for myself by sabotaging my progress? And, which part of me was sabotaging it? Which part - if not my ego that insists on preserving the intimate status quo, out of fear that change might be threatening to my survival?

      All these questions and some others were effortlessly generated by an open mind, by a spirit that refused to be intimidated by my ego.

      This sense of freedom to be an intellectual adventurer and logical acrobat always gave me a rare pleasure It's so dignifying, Glenn, especially when you look around and see how predictable folks really are in their easily definable life-scripts. It seems like fromever that I have been haunted by this question : "If I am not the one choosing my thoughts and emotions - who and what out there is doing it for me?

      Thank you, Glenn, for the nice comment. Be well, my friend. - Val

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 20 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Controlling our emotions and understanding the value of our feelings is not an easy task. You wrote about this very well and you sure did your research. It's interesting that brilliant minds such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung couldn't have a handle on their own intellectual decisions to properly handle their own lives.

      I got a lot out of your hub, with lots to think about. One of the most useful things you said was about looking back just a year to see if we accomplished anything. And you asked the important question we all should keep in mind - how long will we keep doing it if we're not accomplishing what we intend to? Now that's powerful stuff!

      Many times we reject something because of a closed mind. But we lose sight of where our spirit really wants to be. You ended your hub with an extremely important statement that makes that clear.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 20 months ago from Canada

      Hey, Paula, my friend,

      Unlike those mirrors in amusement parks where folks get to see some grotesque images of themselves, I am having a thrill of lifetime holding a smooth and straight one in front of those who care to recognize their very soul in it. The expression on their faces - as they see their truth - is my only and biggest reward. Welcome to my mirror, my dear friend. - Enjoy your weekend, be well, Paula. - Val

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 20 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Val.....Your entire work here, from beginning to end is a very pleasant & familiar song I've sung to myself, for myself, so many times in the past 40 years.....These valuable lessons of "discovery" about our selves and our lives give way to incredible magic. Just as you have taken such care to explain in detail, I read this missive as I smiled and shook my head in agreement.

      I give credit where due and you've done a great job presenting this to your readers. My hope is that they return to read this again & again.

      What's the most wonderful and not-so-secret Fact that everyone should take away from this? That finding our authentic self can only be done with our mind wide open!....Have a great week-end, Val. Peace, Paula

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 20 months ago from Florida

      This actually is fun to me, Val. And now, I will say, I get it. I really do. And if I'm honest, I know I possess that perfect perception of life as you explain it. To me, I'm not hanging on to unhappy times; I'm doing what we are doing now by conversing on a topic. I'm just having fun with my bad days, through poetry, through a using them as a tool of expression with my writing. I know I have mastered what you are talking about, the truth is I'm probably not allowing myself to live that way yet. I'm not ready, because I want the dark days to remain for my artistic views, and to maybe help others who are still in their dark days. Does that make sense?

      I'm absolutely smiling right now. This discussion really has been a lot of fun. I sincerely do understand your point on life. Like I said, I know you are right, so therefore, I must know I possess the exact gift you have. I am not allowing myself to go there yet. That much is true. Like I said earlier, I still want to trust others, and take chances on pain. I'm losing it though. I know I am. I just recently got rejected by someone I really cared about, and I can't seem to feel so bad. It is kind of strange. I did love this person very much; I'm positive about that. It's just I am not losing sleep or worried about if I will come out of it undamaged. I mean I never invested. That's my realization of the whole thing with this person. I just did not have expectations, and I am happy with what it was, and now what it isn't. (laughing) Don't do this, Val. You are succeeding in making me be who I'm not ready to be yet. Hahahaa...

      Thank you for this fun and interesting conversation. I wish you a great weekend as well my friend. :)

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 20 months ago from Canada

      Missy - Let's complicate it a little more - for sake of growing, for sake of fun, for sake of whatever turns out. So, what if I told you that you already have all green handkerchiefs and you are just not noticing it? I can clearly remember the time when I would have monologs along these lines : "I know I am on my way now, and each of these bad experiences are valuable teachers."

      It took me a little while to notice that what I was calling "my way" was my freshly made footprints in a desert sand, with a mirage of a goal moving away from me. Then, like an epiphany came the notion that there is no "way" to travel - that I have already arrived into the dimension of experiencing of every NOW, and life is already complete and beautiful, and I just have to notice it all, with every fascinating detail!!!

      I think it came around the time that I was heavily into est (Erhard Seminars Training) - a rude awakening in which I realized that I had been an asshole to myself all along, refusing to experience the magic of NOW, procrastinating to LIVE, like a desert traveller clinging to that eternal promise of the mirage.

      I looked behind and I saw my footprints covered with innumerable books. Boy, was I smart, could I ever impress with all those teachings - and yet, at the end of my rope there I was - breathing, living, choosing my experiences, not really graduating after the school of my past, but not needing that diploma in order to BE MYSELF, to experience the FREEDOM OF BEING.

      It was beautiful, Missy, and it didn't come to me all at once, as if my liberated soul wanted to give it to me in installments. I was unfolding.

      So, from the platform of that same freedom, allow me this audacity to tell you how you already are there, your life already is complete, there are no 90% smooth days and 10% rough days from which you can learn.

      You will see it one day, maybe soon, there is nothing more to learn, you know it all - as soon as you notice that you do.

      It's all about perception. People sometimes wake up brand new, and yet not feeling like "strangers", but feeling at home in that new skin. A terminally ill patient starts experiencing himself as healthy, and he gets healthy. Not by learning something from his illness, but by perceiving himself as healthy. By already BEING there. No "baby steps", no "trials and errors", but a new NOW when all miracles are possible - and ALREADY HAPPENING - BECAUSE WE EXPERIENCE IT THAT WAY.

      You ended your comment with words: "Give me time, I will make it one day." And I will end mine by saying : "Your time is up, Missy my friend, look around and notice that you already ARE there." You know why? Because there is only NOW, so I can't give you "more time" even if I wanted to. - Have a wonderful weekend with your kids, and your thoughts. - Val

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 20 months ago from Florida

      I think I possess one of those open mind's you mention. Yes, I'm pretty sure I do. I also believe I accept everything that has got me to this point in my life as definitely my fault. I think I said in my comment before that I forgive the ones who have been hurtful towards me in life, which to me means, by doing that, I am taking and accepting my own responsibility for the faults in the past. I know I was the one to let everything I ever experienced happen to me. I allowed it. I also "accept" that I allow myself to "trust." However, how can we live with an open mind without trusting sometimes, right?

      Trust is funny. It can work against you or for you. Nevertheless, we can't find love or friendship if we don't take a chance on trust. Trust in the sense of trusting ourselves and others. By me forgiving the ones I trusted is not saying, I am excluded from fault. It's allowing me to forgive them in order to forgive the real one at fault as well. And that person is me. :)

      It's all very complicated. I think you are right, and I think I am accurate also. Because, for the most part, I agree with everything you say, I just see a different view of those handkerchiefs. I see the red ones as bumps in the perfect pattern that need to be there in order to grow and learn. Right now, I have many green handkerchiefs with an occasional red showing up. One day, I truly believe I will have the complete green set. It comes with time, and I'm not mad at that. I think it is pretty fantastic. It breeds wisdom. You are there already; it has to be a wonderful feeling. Give me time, I will make it one day. :) Thanks Val.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 20 months ago from Canada

      Missy - An old Tibetan saying goes like this: "It depends on two small hinges to which side the much bigger door opens." In translation I see it as a choice thrown at us by life : We either consciously DO our living, or life is "happening to us" - and then everything else stems out from what we chose.

      When we live a dualism of "want-don't want", life is happening to us. When we embrace all our experiencing as our doing, dualism disappears. Think of that colored string of handkerchiefs that magician pulls out of his pocket. See them in a sequence of green-red-green-red-and so on. Then, as he keeps pulling them out, suddenly only green ones start coming out.

      Now, let's use this metaphor. When I feel lousy it's a red handkerchief, followed by green one, which is my good feelings. If I train myself to welcome both colors as something of my own make - because something in me unconsciously chose it and now I have it - after a (little) while it REALLY becomes something that I chose for myself, that is, a rest of only green handkerchiefs.

      You see, for as long as we are experiencing a duality of good and bad "happening to us", we are feeding a conflict in ourselves which perpetuates itself ad infinitum - until we stop it by embracing it, embracing the red handkerchiefs.

      Retraining our mind to start embracing must not be a struggle, because struggle spells conflict. It's not about "winning". Paradoxically, we start winning when we are not trying hard to win. We starve that inner conflict to death when we don't feed it with new and new labeling our experiencing as "bad". It's all good, because WE did it.

      And that my dear is another explanation of "being spiteful".

      I understand from reading your comment that you got a little stuck at the expression of "mental beggar". OF COURSE I don't see "you" as one. I saw your adorable children and read your poem, and I experienced the depth of your devotion to their well being. I felt that heart in you beating with a vitality of a determined DOER, not a person sitting on the sidewalk of life and begging for crumbs of love.

      So why did I mention it?

      Because , just like very smart people can do silly things, some strong souls can have flare ups of weakness. And by defining mental beggars we can recognize that at times we may feel like them, with phantoms of the past reappearing out of nowhere. And then, before we succeed to mobilize our strengths, deep down we wish we were more understood, more appreciated.

      So I mentioned mental begging as the contrast against spitefulness. Just like now I am mentioning embracing all experiencing against discriminating between good and lousy - by accepting, by taking responsibility for it all as something of our own make, not something that's "befalling us".

      Sometimes we may need just some "polishing" of something that's already smooth.

      With an open mind.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 20 months ago from Florida

      Hello, Val, again much to go over and ponder here with these words of wisdom of yours. I'm going to give it my best shot weighing in on how you control your emotions versus on how I may have a little bit of a different way of controlling mine. I believe I also am on a path of "spitefulness," but I may be learning that in a different way than how you did, not completely, but somewhat.

      To start off, I relate to your release to let go of all others from an outer vision that somehow knew how-to guide your vision in a way that wasn't the real you, or the authentic way of dealing with things. I feel I have admitted this, as well, years ago, and I have forgiven many and do not think much on their crimes of unfaithfulness and harsh treatments towards me. That side of me, I feel, I have progressively been able to keep building stronger. Unfortunately, those types will cross our paths on and off no matter how old we get. I'm not perfect at this yet, but I believe that time helps us get better. I still feel like a new student. :)

      I do not feel that I am an emotionally dependent person. I feel I have learned to be an extremely honest person, and content with my own-self. I need no validations in the way of; pity, appreciation, or understanding. Are those things nice to get from time to time? Yes, I think so, but they don't affect my world if I should never get that. No, I think it's safe to say that I have broken my chains, for the most part, of being a "mental beggar." :) That is definitely not a part of my day to day thinking.

      However, I do believe some could get an impression that I am a "mental beggar" just because I write my emotions out through poetry. I can assure that the reason I do this is not for anyone to say, "there, there, sweetie it will all be better tomorrow." I actually do it for a release. To let go of bad visions so it's easier to forgive. Sometimes, I write poetry out of my past experiences, not to get sad, but just to understand myself, and to know where I am firmly at today as to where I was stuck a few years ago, or even in my childhood.

      Now, let me explain that I have not completely succeeded in acting happy on a daily basis. I try, but that part I am definitely not a success at yet. I read how you say to act happy, and the amazing thing will happen, and you will just be happy. I do not disagree with that. I, in fact, believe that is totally the truth. It's actually planted in my mind. I think about that often, but I have to confess, I have not mastered that. Some days, I just don't feel happy no matter what I try, and it has nothing to do with others; it's only being exhausted in an everyday lifestyle.

      Let me address yoga. I do believe yoga may help me succeed in letting go of those unhappy parts I still possess. See, I have hypothyroidism, which makes me extremely exhausted at times, and I do believe it contributes to me not achieving my internal goals of happiness as you have. I often wonder if I got into yoga really well would it help my chronic illness not to defeat me in this area. I hear yoga is one of the best exercises for mental and physical reasons. What do you think?

      A glow. I would love to have the type of glow you speak about at the end. I am working toward it believe me. I would like to glow on a constant and never feel stressed with life again. I'm half and half on this. I have mastered being myself and not living in others' shadows of emotional turmoil, but I need to be happier on a daily. I will keep trying to find the way that works for me to do so.

      As always, Val, it is nice to read your thoughts, and marvel at your wisdom. It gives me things to think about, and I like to think. :)

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 20 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

      I hope someday to have the inner peace you have found within yourself. My inherited health problems cause me much pain and discomfort. I have to inject insulin 3 to 5 times a day, I have several painful conditions regarding my back, feet, neck and shoulders. I used to be a swimmer and an athlete, now i have weight problems and scar tissue from multiple surgeries. I am almost to the point of being an invalid.

      But i still have my computer! I have some amazing friends. And i have my books. And now i have my own personal psychologist in you! Thanks! I'm sure i will enjoy the ride.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 20 months ago from Canada

      Hello Missy my friend,

      Allow me to share with you a big secret of my happiness. I call it "spitefulness". But let me start from a little afar.

      Long, long time ago I realized that I am the only one generating all my emotions. It was not the people who did it to me one way or another, but something of my own make. I was using other people's appearances and behavior and their treating me to "produce" this or that kind of emotions. At that very point of realization I decided to do something about it. First I had to make a confession to myself - I had been acting like a "mental beggar", while waiting for others to give me some crumbs of understanding, appreciation, even praise. And when they failed to meet that need, I unconsciously chose to feel lousy. I was "emotionally dependent", and that had to go - period.

      So, what did I do? I drastically changed my attitude, deciding to fill my life with joy. I was reasoning : "If my nervous system is ever ready to RE-act with pleasant feelings when something favorable happens - it must be equally "ready" to my own choice to be happy. I went spiteful about the whole paradigm of "knee-jerk-happiness", dismissing the notion that I needed something like a "reason" to be happy.

      I thought about babies who could smile without a reason, and without any developed sense of humor. Then I thought far back, and realized that I owed that same kind of happiness to that baby that I used to be. I owed myself a happiness in which others had no say. If they loved me, appreciated me, respected me, understood me - that was only to become a bonus on top of my being happy - but not a condition and a crucial trigger to a happy response.

      Body language had a lot to do with my spiteful decision. I started surprising everyone in my life with a nonchalant ease, a Mona Lisa smile that was hardly leaving my face, a straight posture, high chin. And yes, I started breathing regularly and slightly deeper, and with my belly, not my chest. See how babies breathe with their tummies going up and down, not their chests. As we get older and more stressed out, we start breathing with our chests. So, breathing properly you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, assisting you in you quest to be happy.

      The craziest thing happens, Missy. When you act happy, your feel happy, and somehow you attract those "reasons" to be happy. People start reacting to you when you don't react to them. - this is a big secret of vibes-exchange. Paradoxically, while you are starving for attention, no one is there - and when your behavior tells the world that you don't need that attention, you get a lot of it. Crazy, isn't it?

      I told you in my last writing how bad I had it as a kid. According to every textbook in psychopathology I should be a mental ruin today - if it was up to those traumatic experiences.

      But there comes the time to be spiteful towards destiny, fate, or all those things that we normally see as "out of our control". Believe me, Missy, miraculous changes are possible when we re-claim our power, when we yank it out of hands of others and take responsibility for the way we think, feel and do. So, if you choose to be a little more "spiteful", play the game of not needing, ask others about their problems, don't tell them about your own feelings which you will be increasingly controlling as you wish. Smile, chin up, breathe, embrace that inner world of yours like a good mother would embrace a child. Give a completely new meaning to "loving yourself", by spitefully choosing to make yourself outrageously happy without any outside help.

      As others see that new glow in you, they will want to be more like you (it happened to me), and at that very point you will stop wanting that emotional support, having realized that they are the ones who need it much more than you do. Something will shift inside, you'll slip into a new dimension of wisdom. Happy as a lark.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 20 months ago from Florida

      Val, you are definitely one of a kind, which I believe we all are, but most do not want to tap into their own individual thoughts or habits in order to be unique. They choose not to embrace the parts that make them different from the rest. They would much rather follow the leader and try to keep up with lifestyles and personalities that in the long run smothers them. It's sad to know, but it is true.

      I try my best not to do that. I have always tried my best not to follow others. Oh, I'm sure there was a point in my life that I didn't like myself and wanted to fit in more. Probably around age thirteen to, I would say, twenty. However, I never tried too diligently, and then I didn't try at all.

      I must say though, it has been hard at times to be me around the others who are not themselves. Did that make sense? (laughing) I cannot explain how hard it has been to stick to my guns and just be me, even with my family unfortunately. They are and have always been trapped in the world of closed minds, and as I have tried to make them understand why I am not like this; they still seem clueless at times on my vision. They don't even care to know about things I like. When I discuss writing, they just shut me out. Therefore, I don't talk much about it anymore.

      Just yesterday actually, I mentioned you, and how I was so excited to meet a new friend who had such an interesting life story to tell. I was talking away to my mother on how I couldn't wait to learn more about my new friend, and then I looked at her, and she was totally not even listening to me. No, I'm not surprised though; it doesn't matter if I'm that twelve-year-old kid they didn't understand, or now this forty-four-year-old woman, I still have no valid way to capture their attention. And I realized, that they like to say they know me better than anyone, yet they don't know me at all.

      I like that you say being yourself doesn't make you lonely or unhappy. I wish I could admit that was true for myself. Don't get me wrong. I'm never going to change, and I very much like the way I am. I like the way I think, and I like my views on life. I like that I am this simple person, which makes me complicated to the world. It's really funny to know. :) However, I do get lonely, and wish for a little peace and understanding of who I am at times. It gets very exhausting having to continuously defend the person I am in some way, shape, or form. At times, I think I have grown to like being misunderstood; those are good days. Even so, I have days where I long for understanding and to finally be accepted for just being me.

      I think you are one interesting person, Val. I feel very privileged that I am getting to know someone who has much history behind them that they just exude wisdom. Life is interesting as we go along in our years. You have done so in a way that I, myself, want to be able to do as well. I want to keep a focus on the important things to me. I want to keep a curious eye out for the little things that others take for granted, but I marvel at the beauty of. I want to remain me.

      Thank you for being a person that is so easy to share my thoughts with. That's something for me to really treasure. :)

    • ValKaras profile image
      Author

      Vladimir Karas 20 months ago from Canada

      Hello, Missy,

      Your comment is a personalized example that would perfectly fit into my other hub "Being different and enjoying it". But that's not the only reason why I enjoyed reading it, as it was more like someone there is my spiritual identical twin.

      As a little kid I had undiagnosed hypoglycemia (unknown of after the WW2), with crying spells, shy, scared of strangers, with a terribly bad muscular coordination, I got tired quickly, terrified by dark, sick with something all the time. All in all, my folks with nerves shattered by devastation of the war in that European country didn't have much patience left, so they ridiculed me as a "lazy cry-baby", yelled at me, spanked me, and otherwise displayed good parental skills. Kids in the neighborhood joined them with similar treatment.

      Then my parents divorced when I was nine, and some years of near-starvation came. I read my first book in psychology at the age of 10, with a budding intuition pushing me to learn what the heck life was all about. At the age of 13, in order to kill that fear of dark, I visited city cemetery at midnight by myself. I was dying those proverbial thousand deaths of a coward, but stayed there sitting on a bench in front of someone's grave and not moving until fear was completely gone.

      That was the beginning of my impetus to self-evolve. Did yoga, able to bent backwards to touch my heels with head, learned to play guitar, sang with a Pat Boone-ish romantic voice seducing girls, went to the army, got promoted into a drill sergeant, got married, and emigrated to Canada. Sold out everything and moved to the USA, and then came back to start all over.

      Today, over thousand of those books later, as well as all those meditations, disciplines, what-not, I don't see myself one bit like the rest of them folks around me. At times I feel like all this is a virtual reality, and I am an "avatarish alien" visiting here.

      For one thing, Missy, I can't understand this animalistic passion of prestige, territoriality, violence, jealousy, greed, and hypocrisy among my fellow-earthlings. In the process of establishing my conscious sovereignty over my emotions, I trained myself to trigger ecstatic emotions at will, so I can feel "like a million" without being a millionaire. And all that crazy ego-vulnerability and over-compensating, and pretense that I can see around doesn't make much sense to me. It beats me how people refuse to learn from history and their personal mistakes.

      Does it make me unhappy or lonely? Not one bit, I make friends with everyone, store-keepers, mailman, neighbors in elevator, kids and dogs in the park where I am frequenting.

      More than once I have been accused of "playing a superior intelligence". Folks just don't get it that an ordinary and a rather humble dude can be something like a"mental athlete", just curious about limits of his available potential, exploring what else he could be.

      When you write about that old fellow at the mail box, it's totally a description of my own attitude, Missy. You are a beautiful human being, and living your own individual differences without a need to imitate makes you even more beautiful. I salute your compassion, and above all your persistent learning to stay loyal to that essence in you that's so unique.

      As for a possibility of your writing "too much" - there is no such thing. Especially when you are sharing your inner world with me, I will always be honored to read it.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 20 months ago from Florida

      Hey Val! I'm BACK! I had a few moments, so I thought I would stop by your page and read a little. :)

      Great subject to discuss. I mean, I'm a bit confused on how to start my comment, because after reading this, there is much I would like to say. However, you have packed a lot into this one, that I'm not sure I can sort my thoughts out. That's not being negative, that's saying I loved it all!!!

      I think I would like to state that I agree with your thoughts on being open-minded. I do feel a lot of people think they are, but they are programmed like you said. Programmed to the way they are raised, and I'm not sure I would want to say that is a bad thing, but it's definitely something I never learned. I actually still get criticism for that. My parents just don't get where they went wrong. My sisters think that I am truly an alien from outer-space I believe. LOL. Even so, as they don't get me, I don't get them. I don't get why they live on a road of; this is the way you're supposed to feel and do things' type attitude?

      Oh, I think I have detached from ego along time ago. Wait! Did I ever even have one? Nope, and therefore, that too has made life a little lonely for me in this ego-driven society. I've lost relationships just because I didn't want to climb the ladder of success and accumulate "Stuff." I'm looked at as a loser for that by some. I would much rather just be me and live the simplest kind of existence I can. I don't understand why everyone doesn't want to just live free-minded or open-minded. I guess simple is just too complicated to maintain. Sad!

      I believe the most thing I like about myself is my open-mind. It keeps me busy in many other ways; better ways. I examine the world around me. I actually look and relate to something as simple as a bird or bumble bee.

      Today, I went to the post office, and an elderly man's PO box was right below mine, making it, of course, difficult to get to mine. This is where most people, I believe, would have scoffed at the time it took him to get his mail and leave in order for them to make it over there to check their own. I, on the other hand, actually examined just how he opened his box, carefully took out his mail, tried not to make him feel like I was rushing him, and I think he got that sense that I wasn't at all? He then turned to leave with the biggest smile of hello for me. I can see that smile now. I can see his sweet eyes behind those coke-bottle glasses that were so extremely sincere, which made me want to know more about his life and how he lived it. As you can tell, I'm still wondering some three hours later. I even watched him get in his truck and leave the parking lot, and I wondered where he would go now? How would his day continue?

      My point is, a lot of younger people think the elderly are nuisances, and slowing them down to get somewhere. They never once stay open-minded and realize we will all be old one day. They do not take the time to see the beauty in that fact. They do not respect them with a simple smile back.

      Yes, the modest life, Val. The freedom of being an open-minded person, is relevant to how I handle everything. I recently have been a little down about something, and so I wrote about it here. Not in a way which told too much of my business, but in a way that I knew I would find release for myself and also get some pats on the back from great friends I've made here. I can't keep my thoughts in. It's not who I am. I don't feel free that way. I was stifled as a young girl. I was so shy I could not breathe sometimes. I got tired of it, year after year, and through that, I have now learned who I am and how to be me.

      Again, very great subject to discuss, and I have a feeling that I'm always going to write too much when I read your hubs. lol.... Take care, and I'll be back! Why did I just do "The Terminator Voice" in my head? (laughing)

    • ValKaras profile image
      Author

      Vladimir Karas 20 months ago from Canada

      Hi John - Unless it was meant to be just a self-addressed humor, your comment was a fine realization of an open mind. From all your answers and comments I would certainly count you into those more awakened ones. - Have a nice weekend my friend.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 20 months ago from Canada

      Hi Linda - Your positive comment is deeply appreciated, it makes me feel closer to the real people of HP, other than just seeing an increase of views on my Stat page. Especially when such people have a spirit and intelligence like you, I feel honored that there is something in my hub that gives you an inspiration. Be well my friend.

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      John Hansen 20 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This made me think too Val, and that's good because I don't do enough of it.

    • Linda Robinson60 profile image

      Linda Robinson 20 months ago from Cicero, New York

      Hey Vladimar what an excellent inspiring, insightful hub. Gee I really enjoy your hubs, they all make you search deep inside and as you always strive for to make people think, and this hub absolutely accomplishes that. Hope you are doing well. Talk to you again soon. Enjoy your weekend.