A quote from author Richard Rohr says: “To become more present, we must reach into a deep inner spaciousness.”
Because we are human, inevitably we are inclined to “judge” others through the filter of our own personality, which sometimes leads to misunderstandings.
Our values, attitudes, beliefs and faith tend to be affected by our parentage, family, society, education and much more.
One way to expand our inner spaciousness is to explore these influences, especially those which are so much a part of us that we are not even conscious of them.
We are born, grow and are shaped and imprinted. Some of the imprints were unspoken and these are particularly powerful. Unless we go looking we remain unaware of them, but they’re there all the same!
In early childhood as we take in air to breathe, without thinking about it, we absorb attitudes and values, healthy or not so healthy. We decide early whether life is good and exciting, to be explored, or if the world is bad and dangerous, to be feared.
We decide that, on the whole, people are kind and loving or not to be trusted, cruel.
Our spiritual beliefs begin to be shaped before we can even pronounce the word.
We are taken to a mosque, temple or church or none of these.
Pausing and taking time to wonder, “Why do I …?” can be helpful and freeing. As we gradually discover the origins of these influences and identify them, we can look at them and choose whether (though they may have been right in our past) they are still relevant for us today. We can then decide whether we want to retain them and, if we don’t, let them go.
To quote from Victor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”