Last updated on November 7th, 2018 at 10:31 am

“Being in two minds” smacks of indecision and wavering. Or does it? If we could always be in two minds decision-making becomes easier—there is no uncertainty. While holding our own point of view, we would always be considering another; another anything—person, animal, even rocks, flowers and trees for that matter. How am I being seen, heard and experienced? How do I adapt my behaviour to make myself understood so we all get what we want?

I thoroughly enjoy watching people coo and gurgle at babies sitting in strollers and put myself in the baby’s eyes. It’s an interesting perspective. Poor baby, all they see is a gaping hole making strange sounds—and then we’re astonished when the wee mite lets out a yowl of distress.

My mom at 62 began suffering from senile dementia. She was living with me, and having three generations in a home can be trying at best, especially when one of the generations had to slog through long days at the office. Going home held its own stresses; within minutes being asked the same question over and over again did not call peace to a mind and body trying to unwind from a busy day at the office.

One day while driving home from work, with a sigh I wished my mom could change. The traffic light turned red and, as I stopped I thought, “No she cannot; I must change”—and a wonderful peace engulfed me. After that, it didn’t matter how many times she asked me the same question, I would give her the same answer without the slightest twinge of irritation.

She would start to tell me something—she a talented writer and concert pianist—and the word would be gone. I would watch her struggling to find the word, incomprehension moving across her face, and eventually she would start crying in frustration. I put myself in her mind and felt how heartbreaking this must be for someone used to moving people with her words.

I have, since then, always done my best to be in two minds. The dog that is barking at me? Why is it barking—where is its tail, the ruff on its neck? What is it seeing and does it like what it’s seeing? If not, how do I appear to it and how do I adapt my attitude to calm it down? It prevents being bitten!

Those people passing me on the street? What do they see? Do they perceive me as a threat, a possible victim or as someone who is so contained and full of confidence, with such a huge joyous smile on her face, they simply have to smile back—changing their day for the better too.

If we could always be in two minds world peace would become a probability. It’s not wavering, it’s understanding—and understanding holds knowing, knowing holds acceptance, and acceptance leads to gratitude.

image: rorschach inkblot via Shutterstock
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