Just stay open to receive.
I can’t take someone else’s hand in my own if I continue to clench my fists.
It all sounds so easy. And at one level, it is. But we become so conditioned by the conversations of the mind that eventually, we become more shut down to life (and it’s possibilities) than we realize.
The challenge of staying open is that life is going to inherently throw us curveballs. It’s going to rain on our parade, piss on our party, and poop in our pants. The work isn’t about pretending that obstacles don’t exist or denying when something shitty (no pun intended) happens. What staying open means is that in the moment, you find a way to reinterpret the information in a way that doesn’t shut you down. You see that often, events are actually neutral, but we just label them as “bad” or unwanted because they go against our own personal agendas.
When our agenda isn’t fulfilled we get mad, and we blame everything and everyone.
That’s well on our way to experiencing system shut down.
Staying open simply asks us to do just that: stay open.
Don’t get down on yourself. Don’t get negative. Don’t let your knee-jerk reaction to things ruin an entire day.
A breath can keep you open. A smile, perspective, a new way of thinking about something that seems impenetrable.
The Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche said, “We must continue to open in the face of tremendous opposition. No one is encouraging us to open and still we must peel away the layers of the heart.”
Look, if a Tibetan monk (whose country has been held hostage by the Chinese government for more than 60 years and is unable to be its own Sovereign State) can talk about the art of staying open in the face of tremendous violence and human rights violations and oppression, then you certainly can stay open when getting a parking ticket.
You can adjust when you don’t book the job and not let it define you.
You can smile when you’re stuck in traffic and not moving.
You can willfully keep your heart open when it’s easier to bitch or complain.
These aren’t hard concepts to grasp. But as Rinpoche says, there is tremendous opposition-not only from external sources, but from our inner self. Our own mind wants to shut us down. Our own thoughts want to close our heart. Our own habits want to tell us something is impossible. So we become imprisoned.
So stay open as if your life depended on it. Because in truth, it does.