Having a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing sounds easy until you think about how much conditioning has taken place in your life, and how many of your current thoughts were influenced by geography, the religious beliefs of your ancestors, the color of your skin, the shape of your eyes, the political orientation of your parents, your size, your gender, the schools that were selected for you, and the vocation of your great-grandparents, to list only some possibilities. You showed up here as a tiny infant capable of an infinite number of potentialities. Many of your choices remain unexplored because of a hopefully well-intentioned conditioning program designed to make you fit the culture of your caretakers. You probably had next to no opportunity to disagree with the cultural and societal arrangements made for your life.
There may have been some adults who encouraged you to have an open mind, but if you’re honest with yourself, you know that your philosophy of life, your religious beliefs, your manner of dress, and your language are a function of what your tribe (and its heritage) determined was right for you. If you made any fuss about going against this preordained conditioning, you probably heard even stronger voices insisting that you get back in line and do things the way they have “always been done.” Fitting in superseded having a mind that was open to new ideas.
If your parents were Jewish, it’s unlikely that you were raised to honor and respect the Muslim religion, and vice versa. If both your parents were Republicans, it’s improbable that you heard the virtues of the Democratic Party extolled. Whatever the reasons our ancestors may have had for not having open minds, it’s true that they inhabited a much less populated world than we do. In today’s overpopulated world, we simply cannot continue to live with those old styles of closed mindedness. I urge you to open your mind to all possibilities, to resist any efforts to be pigeonholed, and to refuse to allow pessimism into your consciousness. Having a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing seems to me to be one of the most basic principles that you can adopt to contribute to individual and world peace.