Minds Are Like Parachutes. They Work Better
When They Are Open
In the arts communities, Process is valued over Product. In other words, a working, living, flexible state of creating is favored over something that was only considered once, made, and never reconsidered.
A Closed Mind is a Product. It is a withering vessel that allows precious little in or out. It is comprised of boxes that are only filled once and afterwards are locked and abandoned.
Many things cause people to close their minds. I believe that fear is one of the factors. People who are afraid of the unknown–who are afraid of change–have a tendency to restrict the amount of data that they process.
Hurriedness is another reason that people close their minds. We live in an age of multi-tasking. The people who do the most, multi-task to do so. Multi-taskers are prone to review a matter once, make a decision, shut that door, and move on. While that might be a quick way to get things done, I feel sure that multi-taskers make many mistakes. I often question my own decisions that I made in haste, and upon further contemplation, I often discover that my hasty decisions require a second thought.
A more effective practice requires continued thinking on a matter and continual reflection. An open-minded person would revisit one’s plan time and again, and he would check and balance his behavior. Anything less is like working with blinders on. It is a fast trip to denial, where a person attempts to function with partial information. I have written several posts about denial, and I believe that anger is a cause of denial–and likewise, a reason for closing one’s mind.
When we get mad, we have a tendency to stop listening, and when we stop listening, we lose empathy, and we end our thought processes. The person in denial has the tendency to slam the door on any further consideration. Then, he throws away the key, and he never looks back again.
Healthy people can become frustrated and angry. In her book the Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron says that Anger can actually be a good and helpful thing. The key is that of not making it the final response. Anger should lead us to another, healthier behavior.
“Anger is meant to be listened to. Anger is a voice, a shout, a plea, a demand. Anger is meant to be respected. Why? Because anger is a map. Anger shows us what our boundaries are. Anger shows us where we want to go. It lets us see where we’ve been and lets us know when we haven’t liked it. Anger points the way….” Cameron, Julia. the Artist’s Way, p. 62.
. . .
“Anger is the firestorm that signals the death of our old life . Anger is the fuel that propels us into our new one. Anger is a tool, not a master. Anger is meant to be tapped into and drawn upon. Used properly anger is use-full.
“Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not. Anger is our friend. Not a nice friend. Not a gentle friend. …It will always tell us when we have been betrayed. It will always tell us that it is time to act in our own best interests.
“Anger is not the action itself. It is the action’s invitation.” Cameron, Julia. the Artist’s Way, pgs. 62-63.
Unhealthy people elect to remain stuck in anger. If a person who is stuck in anger is prone to denial, he may no longer realize that he has become stuck. Especially when anger and failed relationships are in play, I believe second or third or fifth or tenth thoughts are worthwhile. Before we throw people away, we should examine our behaviors and scrutinize them. Forgiveness may be in order. Our states of denial may be preventing us from recognizing our needs for forgiveness.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ― Mahatma Gandhi, All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections
For whatever reason, a closed mind is a sad or even a dangerous thing.
Minds Are Like Parachutes. They Work Better When They Are Open!
In life and in art, process is better than product. If there is a final word, it is that there is NO final word. We never move beyond our needs to process and re-evaluate.
©Jacki Kellum May 13, 2017