Being Open

Being Open

For most of us, being open is a relative thing.

What I mean by that is that we might be open to some things, events, people or ideas, and not open to others.

This ability to discriminate is important for many reasons. But all of these reasons come down to one thing… survival. After all, you pay a different kind of attention to hearing a kitten purr than you do to hearing a snake hiss. And this is a good thing for surviving in this world.

At the same time, living a full life requires not getting stuck and thrown off center. You read a bit about this in last week’s article. (Wu Wei)

So this year I committed to myself that I will be open to life as fully as possible. And it’s been very interesting to say the least.

Here are some examples of what I mean.

Last month I took a weekend seminar on supporting cancer patients with Oriental Medicine. As I went to the seminar, I reminded myself to be totally open to whatever happened. And this approach helped me not get caught up in the things that were wrong with the seminar, but just accept it and remain happy. I even got work done during parts that didn’t interest me.

As I started driving back home from the seminar (a seven-hour drive), I congratulated myself on doing well. 10 minutes later, my air conditioner died.

That day it was 100 degrees out as I drove across the desert. I thought to myself, “This is a test!”

So instead of getting upset, I just opened the windows. I drank more water. And I enjoyed the drive.

“Wow,” I thought to myself, “I can really do this openness thing!” It was great. And it encouraged me to do more of it.

Several days later, a friend of mine on Facebook shared a video. I will not comment on what the video showed except to say it was the most intensely horrible thing I’ve ever viewed.

I had an immediate, visceral response. I felt like my body shut down as I closed myself off physically and emotionally. Everything contracted.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t close my brain off from recalling the images. I wondered how I could process this event. And, I felt like this was an enormous challenge to my commitment to be open. How was I going to remain open with this sort of image in my mind?

That day was a struggle. I kept finding myself remembering the video. And I would almost immediately contract and close again. Not what I wanted!

The next day was a little easier. But I still didn’t have resolution. I certainly didn’t want to be locked into playing the video over and over again in my head. At the same time, I didn’t want to shut down and close myself to it. It was a major dilemma.

Finally, on the third day it came to me. There was only one way I could possibly remain open and yet not be overwhelmed by the event I saw on the video.

The release was instantaneous. I could breath and be present while replaying the video in my head. I was free of its influence.

Next week I’ll talk about this shift and how it changed everything.

All the best for your health and happiness,

Dr. Bruce Eichelberger

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