A Different Frame of Mind

I took another class.  There was nothing to do that weekend and so I enrolled in another class. Six hours later I went home a few thousands poorer with nothing, save for doodles and prejudice.

A week later, I am browsing through a book and realize the misadventure was all mine. There was no wisdom gained, as I had gone with blinders, locked doors and rooms filled to capacity.

The trouble with a conviction that you have found your path is that you steer clear of detours or unexplained routes. You stick to your path, read the proper books, pay attention to the customary lectures, and hang on to your inner circle. Until one day you’re sort of rigid and unbending, without room for anything else.

Prejudice. That’s what I carried with me to class. A fixed notion about you, your world, and how different it is from mine. And because it is different, I leave you no door to enter, no space for us to meet.

It is as though I have searched and searched enough, climbed my Everest, and found an infallible truth. And so ward off everything else. There was neither viewpoint nor frame that could fit into mine. I knew so much, and then knew nothing else.

Now I wish I had abandoned the doodling, or the antagonistic thoughts in my head. Been a poet, open and thankful to grace, instead of a stubborn and resolute fool. I met a teacher and 12 others. I went to learn but I had gone cloistered.

Openness.   Being ready to learn from everything that meets you. Even as the teacher rattles on, telling you stories at odds with yours. You are attentive even while you fidget inside because you’re dying to tell her she’s wide of the mark.

I know I do it all the time: get caught up in my own thoughts as someone speaks.  In judgment or bias, or even in working out an intelligent retort. Except why do we listen on the offensive, or speak on the defensive? I should be confident about my chosen path, enough so that another’s route or journey won’t threaten mine.

And I think it is a tragedy when you grow sort of rigid, relentless about our own course. You die-hard. Or even when we become content with just one frame: the same vista all the time. How do you shoot a stunning photograph? You don’t keep to one frame, you venture into other spaces, examine other angles, take a panorama, a shot at wide or narrow, left or right, up or down. You tilt the frame just so you catch the perfect light. Just so you render the perfect picture.

Tomorrow I will take another class. And the day after. My school of life. I will meet teachers, and countless others. Perhaps this time, I will go to learn. Climb down my Everest and look at another’s vista, widen mine. Take detours despite the chosen path. Tilt my frame, find another angle, some contrast and color, and so perhaps, let more light in.

 Nothing can reveal itself to us which we do not love. And every revelation must fill us with thankfulness, for we ourselves are the richer for it. –Rudolf Steiner

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