Anchored Mind

Decades ago, the philosophy instructor at my college said something that I jotted in my notebook and underlined. “The moment you have found something, you are already lost. It is an anchor to which mind clings. It kills off ones curious nature.” In keeping the notebook full of class notes, I risked using pithy statements such as the anchor quote as excuses to become mentally lazy.

Paradoxically, the jottings in that old spiral notebook have helped keep me out of the stagnant backwaters that are always present and keep us stuck in uncritical thought patterns. In many cases, we mistake what we have found for wisdom. We don’t question it because someone we respect or a book we revere is its source.

We anchor our minds in certain principles, some sort of knowledge, an image, a belief, or unwillingness to view life from different perspectives.

My friend Jorge mentioned something interesting this week about the self-esteem movement. It regards the platitude that says we cannot love others unless we love ourselves first. On its surface, this seems like pure gold. A problem arises when the person gets lost in loving herself so much that she mistakes her self love for love of others. She spends so much time loving herself that she doesn’t have time to authentically love other people.

Jorge said that when he heard this, it jogged his own thinking and awakened him from his own complacency about his own feelings of entitlement. Another thing he remembered was that just because something worked well for him, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work well or at all for someone else. We believe all the “right” things and say all the correct words and remain stuck in established thought. Jorge asked, “Do words passed down from times gone by help me, or do they only keep me in my place.”

As I think about what my friend said, I see someone who isn’t in danger of grasping onto a rusty old anchor. I know he will keep his inquiring mind vital and maintain the curiosity of a young boy. He will continue to nudge his friends and colleagues out of their comfort zones and their rigidly anchored minds.

We moor ourselves to our schemes, affirmations, and join groups to maintain our attitudes about our aims. In a practical, business way, this makes sense. In the larger scheme of things, is imitation the way to liberation? Do we obey or do we think for ourselves?

The river of life is vast, swift-moving, and deep. For many of us, it’s time to weigh anchor.

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes President Franklin Roosevelt. “To reach a port, we must sail. Sail, not tie at anchor. Sail not drift.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Controversy, Meanderings, religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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