If you want to have an open mind, you must change your mind – and bring your whole mind – to the conversation
So what does that mean? We have two minds, the conscious and subconscious. We think we’re running our lives with our conscious mind, but that isn’t completely true. Our subconscious (un- conscious) mind takes care of our breathing and digestion as well as our heart- beat, blood circulation and many other bodily functions. As we grow up, it also becomes programmed regarding what’s safe to say and how to act in our particular family situation. In addition, it becomes conditioned regarding what to believe, as in religion, politics, cultural and social situations. The more often we hear the same opinions, the deeper they become “set” in our subconscious mind. If everyone in our family believes a certain way, and we accept those opinions, we usually find friends who believe the same way because it’s comfortable to be around people who hold the same opinions you do.
But if we go through life accepting only what we were taught, and listening only to the few sources of information which echo our opinions (which we inherited from someone else), we end up living out our parents’ ideas, which may have been valid and beneficial in their generation, but may not be so useful in ours. And it’s much easier to change our minds about our social habits (because we want to t in) than it is to change our minds about our inherited religious and/or political beliefs.
But it takes intellectual curiosity and personal courage to change our religious or political beliefs if we’ve been brought up in a strict religion or in a family that is deeply committed to the ideology of a certain political party. We have to have a real reason to want to change, because it’s not always easy. The old programming keeps popping up, causing you to doubt whether you should change. You may have quietly rejected the family ideas as a child or teenager. Maybe they never really resonated with you. Maybe something within you sort of “knew” those ideas weren’t for you. That usually launches us on a quest – to find out what other people think and why they think that way… to find out what backstory there is regarding certain religions or political parties. It’s very important to bring your subconscious mind to the conversation – meaning, understand that you were programmed to believe what you believe. And remember instances when you were told certain things or when you heard your parents or friends make certain statements. Sometimes the realization that you were programmed is enough to free you up so that you can do some research and decide whether the old programming is valuable enough to keep or whether you should ditch it. People who get very emotional about their beliefs are usually very heavily programmed. They feel attacked if someone voices an opinion that is opposite from theirs. Rather than standing back mentally and emotionally, staying out of the emotional storm and quietly observing (thereby retaining all their own personal power) they become very defensive and feel they have to jump in and stand up for their (inherited) position. The art of discussion and debate, without getting angry and resorting to name-calling, is actually a lot of fun. That means one must know WHY they believe a certain way, or their side of the conversation is going to be very short and sound pretty uninformed and shallow. We were not born racist or sexist or xenophobic or homophobic. We were a clean slate at birth. We picked up certain opinions along the way and we can decide now why we believe that way and whether or not we want to continue those opinions and beliefs. We have total free will in this respect.
One of the first steps to ask yourself is: WHY do I believe what I believe? Where did I pick this up? Is it serving me now? Or is it just habit? Do I hang onto it because family won’t approve of me if I change my mind? I may have to gradually change my friends if I’m going to think for myself – make new friends with whom I can have intelligent conversations instead of just “preaching to the choir” conversations. If I’m going to be open-minded or change my mind, I must bring my whole mind to the conversation. Examine the reasons for my beliefs. Am I intellectually curious enough to do some research and read about other people’s journey along this same path? Or, am I too mentally lazy? There are millions of people who’ve decided to come into the present and stop living in the past, living out their programming, living “unconsciously” by letting their subconscious minds decide their opinions and run their lives. They’ve decided to stop being a “belief thief.” Concerned about what others may think? Ask yourself, “Are they paying my bills?” Probably not. So don’t give it another thought.
Look at the conflict in the world. If everyone really looked at their programming, including religious, political, social and cultural, and decided what was best for them, for their families and for the world, would they keep their old conditioning? I don’t think so. They’d keep some of it, the practical and useful, and the harmless parts they love. But think what wonderful conversations we could have with former enemies, think how we could be enlightened by learning how THEY were programmed and WHY they believe what they believe. It would be the dawn of a completely new and open-minded society. The media and the powerful elite could no longer depend on that old programming in order to control, manipulate and cause conflict among us. Their fear mongering and suggestions of violence would be laughable. So make a start in your own life. When you stand back, listen and observe, you’ll be amazed how much insight into other people you’ll get. THEIR programming will become very clear to you. And you’ll also be amazed at how free you feel when you make a habit of thinking for yourself.
- Taylor, Eldon. Choices and Illusions. Hay House, 2014
- Bruce, Dr. James E. My Social Belief System in a Nutshell. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014