Excerpts from Chapter 1: Open-Mindedness

Excerpt 1: “According to F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.3” This observation is directly related to the process of developing open-mindedness, for as we take in new information; our existing beliefs and judgments naturally remain rooted in our minds. We need to be willing to at least consider new information that doesn’t fit our established beliefs, without immediately judging it to be incorrect, or simply tuning it out.”
(3 Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, 1896-1940)

Excerpt 2: “At the deepest level, there probably isn’t a person alive today that does not in some way long to have some insight into the real meaning of their life. However, to gain any insight at all requires that a person be willing to step outside of the alleged safety of the ‘known’. This takes courage, and requires open-mindedness open-mindedness as well, because it often leads to situations in which one is exposed to new concepts that may be contrary to their traditional religious or spiritual philosophy.”

Excerpt 3: “One way to develop open-mindedness is to begin observing yourself as you are being exposed to new concepts or ideas. To do this, you essentially take the role of a witness to the process, as well as being an active participant in it. While it may sound challenging, it really is not. All that is required is that you actively pay attention to what you are reading and hearing, and then acknowledge your judgments one-by-one as they crop up.

If you are uncertain what “witnessing yourself” means, think back to a time in your life when you may have said something to yourself like, “my mind is playing tricks on me.” If you live under the common premise that your mind is who you are, then ponder this for a moment: Who is it that made that statement? Did the mind make that statement about itself, or is there some other entity that stands outside of the mind at all times? The answer is that your mind or brain may be the command center of the body, but the commander is actually an awareness you have of yourself, which is situated outside of the brain or mind.”

Excerpt 4: “From what I have discovered so far, we simply cannot know for certain what is ‘true’ and what is ‘not true’, because absolute truth is an elusive commodity. There is no single right way, there are in fact many ways. Each of us has such a limited perspective on the cosmos that we simply cannot say without reservation that something is absolutely right or absolutely wrong.”

Excerpt 5: “The reality is that individual religious dogma cannot prove its own truth is actually the truth, nor can it prove that another religion’s truth is not the truth. Once you open your mind to this fact, it becomes easier and easier to be more open-minded about spirituality in general.”

Read Excerpts from Chapter 2: Who or What is God?