The Importance of Openness – A Spiritual Perspective

The Importance of Openness – A Spiritual Perspective

Openness: A Gateway & Path for Spiritual Growth*

Across diverse spiritual traditions, from the whirling dervishes of Rumi to the mindful presence of Eckhart Tolle and modern-day practical wisdom of Michael A Singer, a common thread emerges: the vital role of openness in the journey of spiritual growth. It’s not merely about embracing new ideas, but expanding our awareness to encompass the boundless possibilities that lie beyond our limited perspective.

Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet and mystic, viewed openness as a fundamental aspect of divine connection. Openness is a surrender to the divine flow, a melting away of the ego’s rigid boundaries. In his poem “The Guest House,” he writes:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!

Rumi urges us to embrace every experience, even the negative ones, as opportunities for growth. He teaches us to cultivate an “open mind and an open heart” to receive the wisdom and beauty that life offers, regardless of its form.

Eckhart Tolle emphasizes the importance of living in the present moment, a state of being that requires openness to the flow of life. He tells us that attachment to the past and future creates suffering, while focusing on the “now” brings peace and clarity. This openness to the present moment allows us to experience the inherent sacredness and beauty in every breath, experience, and  interaction.

Michael  Singer says that our limited sense of self is the primary obstacle to spiritual growth. He writes about the “The Untethered Soul” which is our true, limitless nature beyond the ego’s constructs. To access this authentic self, we must cultivate an open and receptive mind, willing to let go of preconceived notions and attachments. This openness allows us to transcend the limitations of the ego and experience our interconnectedness with all that is.

The importance of openness can also be understood through the concept of “Beginner’s Mind,” a core principle in Zen Buddhism. It embodies the attitude of approaching life with curiosity and fresh eyes, free from assumptions and judgments. By cultivating Beginner’s Mind, we remain open to learning and receiving insights from every encounter, regardless of how seemingly ordinary or insignificant it may appear. This openness allows us to see the world with fresh eyes and discover the extraordinary within the ordinary.

Our ego self  can find it  challenging to open to openness! Our minds are often conditioned by fear, doubt, and a sense of self-preservation that can lead us to close ourselves off to new experiences and perspectives. Additionally, the overwhelming information and stimuli in our modern world can create a sense of overload and make it difficult to focus our attention and cultivate inner stillness.

Overcoming these challenges requires a conscious effort.

We can begin by practicing mindful awareness, observing our thoughts and emotions without judgment. This allows us to identify and release limiting beliefs and patterns that hinder our openness.

Also, incorporating practices like meditation and contemplation can cultivate inner stillness and create space for new insights to emerge.

Engaging in activities that promote curiosity and wonder, such as spending time in nature, exploring new cultures, or engaging with diverse perspectives, can help us expand our worldview and challenge our existing assumptions.

Surrounding ourselves with positive and open-minded individuals can also be a powerful catalyst for personal growth.

Ultimately, cultivating openness is an ongoing practice. It’s a journey of continuous self-discovery, humility, and a willingness to embrace the unknown. By remaining open to the possibilities that lie beyond our limited perception, we open ourselves to a deeper understanding of ourselves, the world, and our place in the grand tapestry of existence.

As Rumi reminds us, “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.”

Through openness, we awaken to the whispers of the divine that reside within and around us, inviting us to step into an ever-evolving and enriching spiritual reality.

Choose LOve,

Patsy/Purnima Griffiths

*Thanks to Bard (2023) and Jane Ewins for writing this blog.

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