Opening Our Hearts, Expanding Our Minds

The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.
—William James

It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy…let’s go exploring!
Calvin to Hobbes

Stay curious and open to life. No matter what happens keep learning and growing.
—The Cheerful Monk

So, how do we keep learning and growing? My husband and I get several newspapers and numerous magazines, including Science and Science News, to keep our world view relatively broad. But my greatest growth comes not from information about the physical world, but from caring about people with views and experience different from mine.

As Ellen commented in The Power of Listening, mindfulness is “an alert witnessing of reality without judgment, attachment, fear, expectation, defensiveness, bias, or control.” And we have chances to practice that every day in our interactions with other people. All we have to do to get out of our little mental boxes is to open our hearts and expand our minds. We will never be perfect at it, but that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be powerful.

What about you? How do you keep learning and growing? How do you open yourself up to life? Please share your experience in the comments section.

Thanks to Robert, Ellen, bikehikebabe, Shilpan, Michael, Karen and Darren for commenting on last week’s post.

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11 Responses to Opening Our Hearts, Expanding Our Minds

  1. Just some of my thoughts.

    I try to keep as open a mind as I possibly can when dealing with other people. I mentally try to understand and follow what it is they are trying to tell me or how they justify their actions and then I will offer advice if I think it welcome. I used to have trouble being so accepting of other peoples methods since I would usually question it immediately if I could think of a better or more efficient way.

    I also read a lot of various material. While I am interested in reading about personal development and philosophy and spirituality and many other topics, I work in the engineering world where pragmatism reigns. In my personal book selections, I rarely read on the same topic or by the same author consecutively. I try to branch as much as I can and the results are clearly evident to me when I am ever at social gatherings and I can pretty much have a somewhat acute conversation with people about most topics. This also carries over into my RSS feed reader subscriptions where I have many feeds on a large number of diverse areas.

  2. Jean,

    You have knack of getting point across well concisely. “Yesterday is dead, tomorrow is unborn. Why am I loosing what’s embracing me with open arm today ?,” That’s what I remind myself today. Great point.Please visit my blog when you get a chance.


  3. David says:


    I do think listening changes the world. For me, opening my heart and expanding my mind is about slowing down, taking time out in the day to pause and reflect.

    This is loving others through listening to them. I also think it means listening to the world, being aware of the noises or the silence around me.

    It can mean listening to my body too – taking a moment to be aware of how I feel, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    Thank you for your blog. I have just discovered it, and I find it really inspirational.


  4. Jean says:

    I’m with you…I like to explore different fields to keep my mental world fairly large. I also do it because the world is changing rapidly right now, and my “mental map” needs to keep changing to keep up.

    Thanks for coming by. I like your blog and will visit again soon.

    I like your idea of listening to the world and to our own selves, too. In fact, I don’t think we can truly listen to someone else if we’re not centered and tuned into ourselves.

    Thank you all for coming by. For an example of extreme listening you might like my latest post at Transforming Stress: What I Learned From Being a Listening Post. As I said, I’m not at all sorry I did it, but I’m not sure I will ever do it to that extent again. If you do read it, please let me know what you think.

  5. bikehikebabe says:

    Women are more accepting & enjoying each other’s company now. 30 & 40 years ago, we were critical & competing with each other. We didn’t interact together. If I had a problem, I didn’t want anyone else to know. “Opening my heart & expanding my mind” to include other viewpoints did the magic.

  6. Jean says:

    🙂 I’m glad it worked for you.

  7. I think what makes it work for me is the hungriness. More of the unsatisfaction of what I am and what I have achieved today…
    makes me hungry to learn more..

  8. Jean says:

    Thanks for your input. For me it’s curiosity rather than hunger. We’re all different, and that’s why I love it when people join in the conversation.

  9. Evelyn Lim says:

    Hello, I like what you said “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be powerful.” To the recipient, just the small opening of your heart to him may be all that he needs.

    With love,

  10. Daz Cox says:

    ahhh listening…..yes!

  11. Jean says:

    Thanks. So often we spend so much time berating ourselves for not being perfect that we don’t focus on doing what we can, imperfect though that might be.

    Yes, listening! It’s not always easy to do. 🙂

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