Is your Mind Set?

Last time I discussed decisions and choices, and this is on a similar theme.
We often hear people talking about ‘mindset’ and this word has different meanings.
It can be a set of different thinking tools or frameworks – how you and I approach different situations or ‘problems’.
Or it can be, as Mary Morrissey explains, that the mind is ‘set’ to a particular way of thinking, a specific way of looking at the world, life, or whatever is going on.
This latter description is the realm of bigotry, stubbornness, refusing to see any view or possibility other than that within which the mind is set in stone.
But it can also encompass the other description of mindset as people often have a set, or collection, of fixed approaches – set minds, set ways of thinking to deal with any situation.
We see this very clearly in politics and religion, which of course are essentially the same thing.
What they both do is to define mindsets which their adherents adopt and promote to others while claiming that people with different views or open minds are traitors or blasphemers.
Mindsets can be really dangerous when they are allowed to lock people in to specific ways of thinking to the exclusion of all others.
Set minds though, can be very comfortable.
Having a set mind relieves people from the pressure of having to think.
Henry Ford said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it” and following on from this Bob Proctor draws a distinction between ‘just thinking’ and ‘really thinking’.
‘Just thinking’ is akin to our ‘operating system’ doing the stuff it needs to do, a lot of which we don’t actually think about – ‘just thinking’ is what we do when we’re crossing the road, washing up, or just ‘following’ the rules or procedures that have been laid down for us.
‘Really’ thinking is different.
Really thinking engages some of the unique gifts that make us what we are, the genius that we are.
Imagination – Intuition – Perception
Which lead into Creativity and Understanding.
As I’ve mentioned before ‘just thinking’ is about the acquisition of knowledge, ‘real thinking’ is about understanding and applying it.
The thing is, if your mind is ‘set’ – or if you have a set of ‘set minds’ then you cannot do any of this.
The opposite of having a set mind is open mindedness and this includes the characteristics of awareness and mindfulness, which are closely associated.
Both are about understanding and thinking about what is going on – awareness having more focus (but not exclusively) on the external, and mindfulness in the same way on the internal.
But you and I often meet people with fixed views, people who are not ‘open’ to considering anyone else’s point of view.
Often they don’t really understand the view that they have, often they have never looked at it from another ‘point of view’, a different perception.
They know they are ‘right’, they ‘believe’ in their opinion, they have never really thought about it as that would be blasphemy or treachery. They are ‘right’, and that’s it, end of.
They only listen to what they wish to hear and only read what they wish to read.
Until . . .
Until something ‘happens to them’ (as they see it) that causes them to adopt a different mindset. It’s usually a significant event or trauma.
They rarely, as discussed previously, actively ‘change their minds’.
It usually takes therapy to get people out of a set-mind situation, but this can only be done if they have reached a point where they really desire to ‘un-set their mind’ because it’s causing them sufficient pain.
Ford said that thinking is hard, and he was right.
We are not taught to think for ourselves, but to absorb and adopt a certain mindset, a set of rules of thought, an acceptance of the rules of whatever society or culture we come from.
Original thinking and open mindedness are not encouraged, children who question too much are often labelled as disruptive.
Although some people like to ‘think outside the box’ usually this just means to think inside a larger box, and when people come up with intuitive imaginative ideas they are often thought of as crazy – as were most of the great inventors and philosophical thinkers.
Many were even put to death for getting out of the mind-set of the time, being convicted of heresy, blasphemy and witchcraft – and in some countries today it is still happening.
Using our genius attributes can be dangerous.
But if you and I are to progress it has to be done.
We wouldn’t have imagination, intuition, perception and all the other characteristics if we weren’t supposed to use them and we won’t evolve as a species if we don’t.
And there’s another mindset – that we are at the peak of our evolution – the mindset of arrogance.
We are nowhere near that, we’re only just starting, as Neale Donald Walsch explains in his ‘Conversations With God’ series we are, as he titles the fourth book, coming up to the ‘awakening’ of the species – in the first five minutes rather than as many would believe in the last five minutes of the evolutionary timeline (whatever that might be)
You and I need to examine how we think. Everyone has mindsets – what are yours?
People glibly talk about changing your mindset but it’s not as easy as it sounds, often taking many years, but it usually starts with a flash, a light-bulb moment that sparks off the process.
Trouble is that many people miss it, because they’re ‘too busy’ with something else or don’t recognise it when it happens.
But that’s OK because they happen all the time – we just have to watch out for those intuitive flashes of inspiration and take it from there.
Stop and think – really think – is it time to un-set your mind?