This is my fifteenth post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.
O= Opening Yourself Up To New Experiences: It is easy and comfortable to get into a routine in our lives. We take the same way to work, we see and talk to the same people every day, watch the same TV shows, read the same genre of literature, order the same items from the same restaurants, etc. While routines aren’t inherently bad, if we aren’t careful our routines can become a rut that cuts us off from the rich experiences that life has to offer.
Our comfortable routines can also prevent us from progressing down our path of personal and spiritual development. I personally have found that situations which have caused me to get out of my comfort zone the most, have actually led to powerful insights and drastic changes in my perceptions. I think that this is the case because just as a stone or wood needs friction to polish it to its true beauty, when we get out of our comfort zone, we can encounter the friction that we need to uncover our true potential, and enjoy life to the fullest.
I have found that the following 7 tips have been especially helpful in getting myself out of my comfort zone in order to experience new facets of life, and open myself up to new experiences:
1) Talk to someone new, or have a meaningful conversation with someone that you may have only interacted with only casually before. You may be surprised at the level of camaraderie and insights that can be obtained from unexpected people, or in relationships that you have never devoted much time to before.
2) Give someone whom you may have an unfavorable opinion of a new chance. I have found that some of my best and most lasting and meaningful friendships have been with people whom I didn’t have a great first impression of.
3) Try reading or watching a news source that is on the other end of your normal political persuasion. By looking at the opposing perspective, you may reveal blind spots in your own ideology and belief system that you never knew existed before. It is also important to view other sides in order to not fall victim to “confirmation bias“, where you merely expose yourself to ideas and viewpoints that already fall in-line with your own, because in essence you will begin to view the world with a pair of blinders on.
4) Try a new hobby, or take an art class. Hobbies and/or art can provide us wonderful ways of expressing our interests and talents. Since I don’t make any income off of this blog, I consider it to be a hobby, and it has provided me with a wonderful medium to express my ideas and insights, as well as interact with a lot of fascinating people that I would never have had the opportunity to do so with otherwise.
5) Try a new food or menu item: Food can not only satisfy our nutritional needs, but it can also titillate our senses, and even allow us to experience new cultures and customs. One of my favorite cultural cuisines is Indian food, and I had never even tried it until a few years ago when I agreed to join a friend at an Indian restaurant in Oklahoma City.
6) Visit a worship service from a different religion, or try out a new spiritual practice: Some of the most memorable moments on my path have come from visiting the worship services of other religions, and trying different spiritual practices. By visiting other worship services, and trying new spiritual practices you may discover new insights into yourself and the world around you, as well as cultivate relationships outside of your normal spiritual circle, which may prove to be invaluable to you in the future.
7) Take on something that you have traditionally shied away from: By taking on situations, tasks, or responsibilities that we have traditionally shied away from, we force ourselves to overcome self-imposed obstacles. Personally, I have always been horrible at memorizing things. while I can remember the gist of a rule, a quote, or a passage from a play or book, I am horrible at remembering language verbatim. Therefore, I’m lucky that I went to law school, and practice law, in the digital age where I can quickly look up rule numbers and language rather than memorizing them. This has caused me to shy away from opportunities and responsibilities that have involved memorization. Therefore, I have recently begun taking on more tasks and responsibilities that require more memorization, so I can hopefully get better at memorization, and overcome this limitation.
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” – Auguste Rodin
I would love to see your thoughts and comments on what you have done or plan to do to open yourself up to new experiences. If you wish to use the topic of opening yourself up to new experiences as a point of reflection during the week, I would love for you to share any thoughts or insights that come up.
Please come back next week for the next installment of this series, and as always if you enjoyed what you read, please share on social network sites, subscribe to this site, and share this site with others!
Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)