Teaspoon of HappyPractice OpennessSarah May Bates

Or, a little exercise in “what if?”

As humans, we move leaps and bounds in one generation.  By the time we are old and grey, everything will have evolved far past the day we were born – technology, medicine, societal norms, not to mention our understanding of the universe around us. So why would we ever assume that we could comprehend everything that’s possible today?  To assume we could explain everything that happens to us and around us, even when “coincidences” stand out to us as different and more meaningful, seems illogical.  That we could comprehend what exists in spheres we cannot see. That we could explain unlikely phenomenon of all kinds with nothing but the science we have written in books.  That we could conclude what is impossible despite our limited range of understanding, seems to be the more outlandish belief than asking simply, “What if?”

If we learn anything with age, it is how much we don’t know. As we advance in years we correct our misunderstandings from youth, and laugh at all we thought we knew but didn’t. We live so many lives in just one body: forever experiencing change that alters the way we view ourselves and the world.  As we have new experiences, we gain a capacity to feel greater emotion, because we gain the context required to comprehend something’s true weight and value.  With all that you know of the beginnings of humanity and past civilizations.  With all that you know of your generation and how technology has changed.  With all that you know of yourself and how you have changed, why would you think that you could know what is possible? The fact that there are perfectly symmetrical forms that occur organically in nature, again and again, is proof of a greater structure.  It’s something higher than coincidence – it’s following a correct path.

This is not an argument for a deity or deities, it is simply evidence of something that has a perfect form, not created by us.  Why would the form of what is naturally occurring around us and our lives be any different? As a person living in one time and one place in the universe, I assume there are things I cannot see, cannot explain, and cannot know, and I embrace that because it means that anything is possible.  I believe that as humans, we are not capable of comprehending the depth of what exists. And to me, that is a comfort, because it implies there is something much greater.

What ideology am I pushing? (That’s what I would be thinking as a reader.) Openness. It’s nothing more than the way we think, and the process of asking ourselves to consider questions. As an exercise in personal growth, practice being open to new possibilities in every direction: to perspectives that are not your own, and to greater unknowns.  The next time events seem serendipitous, miraculous, or oddly fated, take a moment and imagine that it’s not just coincidence. Be open to that possibility, whatever the connotation.  Let go of needing to have a logical cause, and accept that you cannot know all of what’s possible.

• Be open to seeing connections in your life, whether it’s a reoccurring theme, or certain things that seem to be perfectly falling into place. Allow yourself to consider those coincidences are something more, and let go of the implication.

• Try to take signs to be signs. If something is abstract but seems to have emotional meaning, be open to hearing it as a message. Just be “open” to the possibility that it means more.

• Practice listening to what the universe around you might be directing toward you, in any form. Be open to hearing things you need to hear, in the moments when you really need to hear them.

• Be open to seeing the perspectives of others.  The next time someone tells you something you don’t believe or agree with, give yourself the opportunity to consider it as a truth.  Almost like you would as a child: imagining the existence of secret worlds or the tooth fairy.  Simply tune your ears and mind from “probably not” to “maybe.” When you find yourself being dismissive, stop and just allow yourself the exercise of entertaining a new perspective. No matter how resistant your brain is to it.

What happens when you decide to be more open, is you gain many gifts in many forms.  You learn about yourself, you live richer experiences, you gain understanding about the world and others, you become more empathetic, and you put yourself in a position to grow. And when you begin truly listening for what you need to hear, you’ll find the answers all around you.  Like you’re tapping into a current that holds your truth. And when you follow it, your path in life becomes much more apparent; like you are fulfilling what you are meant to do, as yourself in the most perfect form.

There is so much more to life and the universe than you know. Just like a window, you can only see what’s visible from your vantage point.  Let that be a wonderful and surprising comfort to you in your life and in your future. As you move through your days, practice openness to understanding yourself and others. Listen for what might be trying to teach you, and be open to hearing something that might be meant for just you.  Your world and your lens are but the tiniest fragment of what exists.  Remember that you could never understand all of what happens or why, and at the end of your life, you will know 100% more than you do today. Let the unknown be a comfort to you, because anything is possible.

Happy Sunday peoples! Much love, xoxo Sarah May B.

Featured image via Colin/Murphy

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  1. I really needed to read this. Now I know there’s nothing wrong with believing that maybe it’s not just a coincidence that certain things or people keep appearing in our lives throughout the years. Maybe there is something more.

  2. There are also those daily choices. There is when we run out of time.
    Slowing down to make time to think for yourself is also good advice. You will otherwise be pushed around a lot.

  3. Sarah, this was a beautiful article! I especially loved when you talked about being dismissive, and stopping and allowing yourself to entertain the new perspective “no matter how resistant your brain is to it.” I definitely need to follow a more open ideology, and I thank you for reminding me!

  4. Sarah, thank you for this article! This is a brilliant idea and it feels very deliberating, even to just think about it!
    I, too, find comfort in thinking that there is something greater than us and our choices and that there is a reason why things happen. I sometimes tend to look for patterns and signs and then I go all sceptical to myself. But I guess, why not? Why shouldn’t there be a reason and a pattern? Openness sounds very good indeed! xxx

  5. beautiful written and – once again – it hits the mark. I will change my school in the next month and everything will be so new and different, thank you for this article and the thoughts you gave me by reading it :) xxx