Class 3 Notes Bb
2000 BCE – To Present Day
The Basic Practice
0. It is important in the spiritual life to keep an open mind, open to ideas,
experiences, people, the world, and the Sacred.
Openness is an ability to go with the flow, as Taoism puts it, without expecting
predetermined outcomes. It means being receptive to new possibilities, without
prejudging them. It is an ability to make yourself available to out-of-the-ordinary
opportunities. Indeed, openness to the unknown, the exotic, and the bizarre is usually
seen as the mark of a free spirit.
1. You can increase your openness by practicing empathy. Move outside
yourself into another's situation. Try to access the other's feelings and
ideas. For the purposes of practice, the more eccentric your choice, the
Why This Practice May Be For You
2. The contrast to openness is narrow-mindedness. It is characterized by a
rigidity of mind. Pessimistic people who have armored themselves against
preconceived disappointments are not open. Dogmatic and stubborn
people are basically unapproachable.
3. How available are you to others? How interested are you in people,
especially those quite different from you? How flexible are you? Do you
usually think you already know how things are going to come out? Are you
willing to try something new? These are the questions to ask to assess
your openness and to determine the benefits you might derive from this
Balances/Counters: Timidity, Certitude
The Basic Practice
4. Questers venture into the unknown, confront difficulties and dangers, and
return home with new understandings of themselves and of the world. A
pilgrimage, part trip and part ritual, is prescribed in all the religious
traditions for those seeking healing and renewal. The impetus for the
journey could be an urge to explore one's spiritual roots, a desire for
absolution, a wish to pay homage, or a question that needs answering.