When our spiritual journey is authentic, it opens us to a depth of wisdom we are unable to imagine when we take those first steps on the journey to a deeper life. I have learned that our individual spiritual journey is often very similar to those who walked the spiritual path ahead of us. Because of that simple reality, they have much to teach us if we are willing to empty our personal ego and listen to their wisdom with an open mind.
Like so many of history’s enlightened minds, I too began my spiritual search for wholeness inside the walls of organized religion. And like them, instead of the wholeness I was searching for, I too found myself struggling to make sense of the many religious “beliefs” that were taught as “absolute truth”; truths that only fragmented the world into categories of good and bad, right and wrong.
It was a painful journey filled with conflict and pain in those early years as I struggled to belong and accept religious beliefs and teachings that made little sense to my 21st century understanding of reality. Eventually my anger and disappointment at the rejection and judgment I felt from the “true believers” drove me away from the Christian Church and onto the spiritual path of nonduality; or nondual thinking
Today I’m grateful I had no insight that my spiritual journey in the wilderness had only just begun. Had I known where the path would take me, or how challenging spiritual growth can be, I might easily have abandoned the quest. Fortunately, very early on, I fell in love with Pastoral Psychotherapy and my spiritual journey shifted from a focus on self, to that of helping my clients.
Little did I know that most of the spiritual wisdom that guides my life today would come to me as a result of helping my clients embrace their full humanity and encouraging them to live the life they were born to live.
It was many years before I understood how powerful and foundationally important those early years in Seminary were for my spiritual awakening. They, more than any other experience, taught me the important difference between a closed mind, and an open mind. The seminary experience also taught me the futility of attempting to ignore the spiritual intuitions of my true self, and the futility of attempting to close down my mind—-simply to “belong”.
I am eternally grateful for the many great spiritual teachers that mentored me on my journey of spiritual awakening; the journey that evolved my spiritual consciousness from the fragmentation and dualism of my primitive ego to the wholeness of the nondual open mind spirituality I am learning to embrace today.
What follows is a brief look into my understanding of what it means to embrace the nondual wisdom, and open mindedness, that Jesus and all of the world’s great spiritual teachers have tried so hard to teach us—–the evolved and spiritually enlightened level of human consciousness found only in those who are true spiritual contemplatives.
Nonduality And Open Mind Are Synonymous
First, I am convinced that a mind that has the ability to live in a continuous state of open-minded nonduality is the most evolved and powerful organism on our planet. It is also the level of human consciousness capable of manifesting and sustaining the level of unconditional love, compassion, and forgiveness taught by Jesus and history’s other enlightened spiritual teachers.
Unlike the narcissistic dualism of our primitive ego, which is stuck in its own subjective beliefs about how things should be, the nonduality of an open mind has the power to transform and enlighten human consciousness, the ability to grow, and the ability to “become”.
Given the technological growth taking place in our world, the ability to embrace the nondual consciousness of an open mind is one of the most important survival skills the human species will need to master in the next few generations.
Until humanity in general, and that includes you and I, are collectively able to achieve the evolved consciousness of an open mind and nondual thinking, the future survival of humanity is going to become increasingly problematic. Until we learn to let go of the belief that we possess the standard by which others should live their life, we will only continue to create conflict and violence in the world.
Characteristics Of An Open Mind
An open mind is a mind that rests in a consciousness that is 180 degrees from the closed mind of our dualistic, self-focused ego that already “knows” the truth and has difficulty seeing other possibilities.
The both/and nondual thinking of an open mind is very easy to achieve. It’s hard to sustain, but it’s easily attained. And when we have learned to search for the “middlepath” truths on both sides of every issue, we will discover in the nonduality and open mindedness that results, the illusive master key needed to open the doors of personal happiness, healthy relationships, and a successful life.
Enlightened mystic Bernadette Roberts reminds us “to come upon truth in itself, we must go beyond the truth in ourselves”—–beyond our endless subjective ideas about how things “should be”.
Open mind means we are open to other possibilities, other perspectives, other alternatives, and new ideas. And that includes the ability to listen nonjudgmentally to others without using our ego’s subjective “knowing” to quietly judge and defensively dismiss everything others are telling us that we “know” is “wrong”.
An open mind is a level of “not knowing” capable of “seeing” and embracing the true reality that is just outside the subjectivity of our own personal frame of reference.
Open mind is not simply a great concept or idea to be thought about, it is a nondual way of actually living one’s life. Nonduality is not a spiritual goal to be achieved, it is simply the spiritual path that will ultimately lead us into the spiritual wholeness, oneness, and interconnected presence of everything in our created universe. A presence we call God, or the Creator—–a presence that rests just beyond the experience and dualism of our “self-focused” primitive ego.