Open Heart, Open Mind

How open-hearted and open-minded are you? Surely, it's better than being close-hearted and close-minded.


Open-hardheartedness is associated with being warm and kind, an emotional quality. Open-mindedness is a mental quality, associated with being impartial and receptive to new ideas.

The heart and mind do like to work together. So a closed heart links to a closed mind and an open heart (OH) links to an open mind (OM). Let's explore this heart-mind connection further.

There are many emotional and mental attributes involved for staying open to life. We will focus on some key areas, and pair related emotional and mental qualities.

Be Compassionate (OH), Be Discerning (OM)

If you see a person crying you probably can relate to him or her. An open heart empathizes with others, acknowledging their difficulties. Then the heart delves deeper into compassion, walking in another's shoes, so to speak.

For example, when you encounter a person from a war-torn country, you heart goes out to them. You feel their losses, connecting with your journey and ordeals, too. So you generate self-compassion as well as deep caring about another's suffering.

An open heart also can offer "tough love" -- like to a misbehaving teenager. In this sense, you show your care in a way that may even be unpleasant or confrontational, in this situation, for the higher good of the person in your care.

A related quality to compassion that comes from an open mind is discernment. The open mind takes a neutral and evaluative approach. It wants to come to a good understanding and, if needed, a decision. It weighs the short- and long-term gains for the situation at hand.

If I took that job, what are the working conditions? How purposeful is it? Where does it lead? Putting together facts, research, personal experience -- and having an open-heart -- creates discernment.

Be Intuitive (OH), Use Higher-Thinking (OM)

Your open heart accesses the realms beyond logic, where inner feeling, hearing and seeing exist. It connects with your inner knowing, where you just know it's true or right, although you can't prove it.

The open heart detects nuances in people's voices and facial expressions. It can find the sublime in works of art. For instance, it feel people's souls in Rembrandt's portraits. Your heart can be a gateway to your own soul and adds soulfulness into your life.

Like your heart, the mind reads people and situations too. Your open mind; also, there seem to be too many spaces after mind) creates thoughts for effective thinking. It uses logic and also knows when logic alone is insufficient, deferring to the heart's wisdom.

When your mind opens, it can explore a never-ending universe, with endless knowledge and possibilities. It can contemplate time and space and allow for eternity and infinity.

Shakespeare was talking about an open mind when he said, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

To Give and Receive (OH), To Learn and Grow (OM)

The open heart both gives and receives love. It readily offers genuine praise and receives feedback (both positive and negative). When your heart is open, you listen carefully and respond graciously.

In addition, the open heart uses gratitude to stay present with one's life. It feels beyond itself, connecting to others in appreciative and respectful ways.

Similarly, the open mind has its own kind of broadcast system. It learns and grows, seeing failure as an opportunity to improve. Life is impermanent. And the phoenix can rise from the ashes of loss and destruction

Touring New York City, Sian Green was hit by a runaway cab. She lost her leg and later said, "I could have died. My leg is the least of my worries." Ultimately, she set up a charity to help other amputees.

A loss, a defeat, a tragedy -- although challenging -- can be a way to go deeper, to transform and even transcend.

Signal and Noise

In today's busy, contentious world, it would be an easy choice to simply turn off the noise. Tune it all out and just stay where you are and all is fine.

But if you tune out the noise will you hear the signal? Will you fall into confirming what you already know (confirmatory bias)? Will you avoid anything which you don't want to see (ostrich effect)?

Open Heart, Open Mind Checklist

To avoid shutting down the heart and mind, you can use the checklist below to stay open. It incorporates the attributes of an open heart and open mind we discussed above.

You can use this checklist for considering any new idea or project, new relationship, business decision or action step. Rate each area 1-10, 10 being the highest.

How compassionate am I?
How discerning?
How intuitive?
How much am I using higher-level thinking, exploring possibilities?
How much am I giving?
How much am I receiving?
How much am I learning and growing?

How do I feel about being open-hearted in this situation?
How much do I feel open-minded in this situation?

Final Thoughts

A closed heart and mind shut down life, putting a bottleneck on your possibilities. An open mind and open heart expand possibilities and can reveal any blind spots or hidden obstacles that are holding you back.

An open heart helps hear the highest notes
An open mind helps read between the lines
With an open mind and heart, you can shine a light
on your dreams and live fully

An open heart helps you hear the highest notes; an open mind helps you read between the lines. With an open mind and heart, you can shine a light on your dreams and live fully.

Opening your heart and mind helps you take charge of your life, deal with uncertainties, and be resilient. It uplifts you, inspiring you to be more of who you are, who you are becoming.

For more on a life purpose, holistic coaching and healing and life purpose see our holistic blog.