Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Open-Minded or Wishful Thinking?

“There is a difference between having an open mind and believing something because we want it to be true.” I heard that a few weeks ago on an NPR program. I had to pull over to write it down.

It is imperative that we keep an open mind when we live a life that is based on thinking positively. Circumstances may not always turn out the way I expect them to, but in the long run it is always for the best…even if it takes a while for me to figure that out. When I pray or treat for change I usually end it with “this or something better.” I have come to realize that Divine Mind is NOT stupid and often has a much better idea of what I need than I do. My friend and teacher, the late Rev. Helen Street, used to say, “For heaven’s sake! You’re dealing with Universal Intelligence, not Big Dummy in the Sky!”

But that open mind we have can lead to an endless pit of being used as a doormat if we allow it to happen. We must realize at some point in certain instances that change is not going to occur the way we want it to occur. Trust me – those Nigerian and Kenyan emails will never pay off and be the windfall for which you might be hoping. The same is true of our relationships. If he’s been cheating on you for the past five (or three or ten or how ever many) years, begging your forgiveness each time, promising it will not happen again and you believe him, then you deserve all the heartache you have set yourself up to receive. If you believe that the next time there is a vacancy in your company that the boss will finally appoint a woman to the position senior vice president, even though he has been committed to do so for the last eight vacancies, then you might want to take a reality check. What color is the sky in your world, precious?

Being open-minded and positive does not mean we have to be naïve or live in la-la-land (apologies to my LA friends!). Jesus the Great Teacher told us to be “cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16). We must have the faith that our prayers are answered, but not expect money, people or situations to be delivered to our front door while we sit idly by. We must forgive those who have wronged us in the past, but we also acknowledge our part and make sure not to place ourselves in that situation again. Forgiveness does not mean automatic trust…”cautious as serpents.”

It is a fine line between open-mindedness and wishful thinking, believing in something that will never happen. The latter will not be our experience if we build our hopes and dreams on a firm foundation of faith instead of the shifting sands of popular thinking. Who decides which is which? We must all make that decision ourselves and at the same time, seek to avoid judging those who appear to be locked into making what we consider to be the same mistakes over and over and over again. We would be wise not to think we know what is right for others. How very arrogant to think that we, rather than Universal Intelligence, could possibility know what is best for someone else.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

1 comment:

Sarah Jackson said...

Well said, Terry. I'll have to remember "Big Dummy in the Sky" - that's awesome. This reminds me of a saying I'll always remember: "Pray like everything depends on God but work like everything depends on you."