What came to mind when I saw this picture of these two easels…I thought about beliefs. When we have a strong belief about something, and are presented with an opposing thought that we cannot fully take in as a valid possibility, we’re like the first easel – there is a part of our mind that is closed, along with our creativity. There is a part of us that is blocked and we cannot see or hear anything other than our own thoughts and beliefs.
Then there is the 2nd easel, with the blank paper on it. We still may have a strong belief about something, however, when presented with another person’s belief (that does not align with ours), we take it in. We are curious about it. We imagine being that person and we relate to them on a human level – meaning, they are here in this world, just like us. This person with this opposing belief has desires, hopes and dreams, just like us. They have fears and worries, just like us.
Who says we always have to understand each other? Communication can be complex. After all, even with the best descriptive words, the best intentions, the best communication skills, how can one person fully understand another’s words…we are not living their life; we are not in their bodies; we have not lived their experiences; we do not share their memories. Yet, we all can understand each other on a human level…a level that is without words, without complexity. We can understand a facial expression in an instant. We can understand human suffering in an instant. We can understand anger, grief, pain, passion, love…in a split second of being fully present with another – without saying a word or hearing a word.
What a luxury it is to always hold onto a blank sheet of paper…to always be open to another way, another possibility. We do not need to feel pressured into believing something we don’t, even if we feel another person is pressuring us. If we stay open minded – stay curious – we are not threatened. We are safe. Safe to wonder. Safe to embrace, “What if?” with the mindset of, “this other belief must be important, because a fellow human being thinks it is.” What is the downside to being open like this? In the end, you always have a choice – to embrace your own belief, to modify your belief, expand it, or even throw it out because you’ve experienced a revelation in your own thinking.
From one imperfect human to another, let’s always stay curious. Life is more interesting this way and offers a greater sense of ease…knowing we always have a choice about what we believe.