Most people understand the importance and usefulness of having an open mind.
However, I suspect that most people are not aware how quickly their mind tends to become closed during a time of stress.
Worse, I think many of us are not aware of just how little stress it takes to shut our minds down.
I was blessed to witness a conflict between two people lately. Person 2 had some good points that she was trying to convey to person 1. Person 1 clearly wasn’t listening at all. On a scale of 1-10 for hearing and listening, he was at a -1.
I was amazed because person 2 would say something totally logical and person 1 in his response would say something COMPLETELY different and unrelated. It was as if he didn’t hear person 2 at all. He was so focused on getting what he wanted from the situation that person 2 could have said complete giberish and person one wouldn’t have noticed.
Sometimes you’ll see something similar during a NEWS interview. If a person being interviewed is skillful he will take whatever the interviewer asks and not answer the question but use it as a springboard to talk about whatever he wants to.
However, that is a concious choice. I believe the Person 1 and person 2 example above was a result of person 1’s mind being completely closed off.
What I realized is that this happens to all of us during times of stress, we don’t listen or don’t care to listen to what the other person is saying. We fall back to a primitive mind set, much like when we were children. We selfiishly demand what we want right now.
If you think carefully about this, you will probably realize that you have lots of examples of this within your own realm of experience.
The other thing I realized is that when someone like person 1 shuts down like that, there is virtuallly NOTHING you can do to get them out of that state of mind.
Skillful negotiators recognize how important it is to get a person to relax. Because when a person is stressed and has fallen back on a primitive model of reality, they tend to be impossible to reason with. Just like a crying baby who must have what he wants, NOW. Except the adult person’s potential to do damage is MUCH greater.
If we are to grow as people, we should probably recognize when someone is in such a state and be extremely tolerant. At the same time, we should probably become more aware of just how low our trigger is to be at that point.
We should also be aware of how low that trigger is for other people and try not to let people get into that state. This would probably be best for everyone.
I suspect that the more broad our personal model of reality is, the harder it becomes to get into such a state.
Unfortunately, some people live in a very close minded state all the time. They tend to make demands on everyone and everything. That is the only way they know how to get what they want.
I hope I can guard against going into such a state when I become stressed from here on out.
Feel free to add your comments below.
PS. May I suggest reading Zhuan Falun by Li, Hongzhi? Nothing will expand your model of reality like this book will.