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Opening the Heart and Mind

Opening the Heart and Mind

Author and American Tibetan Buddhist Pema Chödrön said, “If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” Too often, we close ourselves off from anything that could be a threat to our ego or comfort in life. Rather than exercising compassion and understanding, we close our hearts and minds by ignoring or avoiding anything that we perceive as a threat.

It is easy to become set in our ways. We have beliefs that we want to maintain, despite all evidence to the contrary. For example, we may feel as though our drug use is not a problem. We might believe that it is manageable, and ignore all evidence of the consequences that arose from our addiction. According to the University of Pennsylvania Authentic Happiness, open-minded people are “less swayed by singular events and are more resistant to suggestion and manipulation,” better able to predict how other people will behave, less prone to projection, and even score better on SAT and IQ tests.

Being open-hearted is made up of emotional and spiritual attributes like empathy and compassion. Dr. Rick Hanson, in a 2015 Psychology Today article entitled What is an Open Heart? Try to Make a Commitment to an Open Heart, explains that an open heart allows for clarity, and  “Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama are famous for keeping their hearts open while also being very effective.” When we keep our hearts open, we are able to identify more easily with others, but we also build up a resilience to anger, loathing, and hatred.

When an open heart and an open mind work together, the results can dramatically improve our lives and reactions to situations that may have previously inspired negative emotions. Phillip Mountrose, in a 2017 Huffington Post article entitled Open Heart, Open Mind, explains, “An open heart helps hear the highest notes, an open mind helps read between the lines. With an open mind and heart, you can shine a light on your dreams and live fully.” An open heart allows us to extend compassion and empathy to everyone who crosses our path, while an open mind allows us to see where we may need improvement and make any necessary changes to our actions and behaviors.

Your life doesn’t have to be caught in the painful cycle of addiction. You can begin building a happy, joyous, and free life in sobriety by making the courageous decision to seek help now. Anchored Recovery Community, Southern California’s premier drug and alcohol treatment center located in beautiful Orange County, is more than a program– it is a faith-driven community that believes through fostering faith and belonging, people can be set free from the chains of addiction and alcoholism. For information about treatment options, please call today: (800) 272-4550

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