“You will never be free until you free yourself from the prison of your own false thoughts.” Phillip Arnold
Are there thoughts that restrict your life? Why do you think this way? What has happened in your life that helped you let go of these thoughts?
What we think and the ideas we believe form who we are. If the source of the information beneath our ideas is reliable, it can allow us to make reasonable choices and take sensible action. If the information is flawed, we may make decisions that lead us down the wrong path.
During this pandemic, getting the correct information about the virus has been a challenge because of conflicting viewpoints. Who is more likely to understand a disease than a medical doctor or researcher despite what some politicians tell us?
If we want to eat healthy food, who is most likely to give us the most accurate information about the best vegetables and fruits to buy? The producer who grows organic products or the farmer who uses banned pesticides on his crop? When we understand the source, we can make the wisest choice.
Why Do We Ignore Facts?
But, what if our conclusions about a subject are based on something other than facts? At times, we ignore facts because we have already developed prejudicial attitudes. For example, if we have grown up in a cult or a strict religious environment that taught us that only our way is right, we may reject others whose beliefs are different and consider them “unholy.”
We may also have political or racial biases because of the way we were raised. In my family, I grew up with a mother who taught me that all people were created equal and deserved respect. Her attitude came from her Christian upbringing. My father, on the other hand, often made racist remarks. Fortunately, I chose to think like my mother.
My parents were both Democrats and I’ve always been politically liberal partly as a result of being at college in the 1960’s when I became further aware of the nation’s inequities. But again, how I was raised without luxury contributed to my thinking. My family never went without food, clothing, or shelter but we never experienced material abundance.
However, if I had grown up surrounded by luxury, attended a prestigious school, had a new car to drive to college across town, I might not have noticed those who did not share my wealth. If my parents had taught me that poor people were just lazy, I might have closed my mind to their actual situations.
Releasing Our False Thoughts
So how do we release thoughts that are not based on reality—thoughts that limit our thinking and create an inaccurate picture of the world around us?
To free ourselves, we have to accept the possibility that there is another viable way to see a person or situation. While some people care about others because they are Christian and have been taught to do that as a core part of their belief, there are others who care about other people because they have chosen to place love at the center of their lives.
Learning From Diversity
One reason for being boxed in by limited ideas is that we simply haven’t been exposed to sufficient diversity. In a country that is rapidly becoming more diverse, it is very helpful to join a group in which we interact with people who have different views. It is easier to understand another point of view when we get to know the person who holds it. By learning how and why they think differently, we learn to respect them and their differences.
By freeing our thinking, we free ourselves to love and respect all human beings, for it is love that heals all wounds, personal and societal. Love to you all!
© 2020 Georganne Spruce