Home > Reflections and Insights A Through Z > Opening Yourself Up To New Experiences

Opening Yourself Up To New Experiences

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.

(c) Shelby Hurst Photography 2010

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)

  1. Dean Monroe
    September 3, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Mathematics has always been a struggle for me. In studying math I found significant enlightenment, and thought, subsequently that mathematics was the way to enlightenment. In reflection, I now find that is the experience and the overcoming of obstacles that was the path to my personal enlightenment. It is truly an opening experience to do something that you thought was closed to you – a chance to see things as they are, not as they appear to be. You have a great post here.

    • September 3, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      Thank you brother! I think there is a profound amount of truth in your statement, “In reflection, I now find that it is the experience and the overcoming of obstacles that was the path to my personal enlightenment. It is truly an opening experience to do something that you thought was closed to you – a chance to see things as they are, not as they appear to be.” Take care brother!

  2. September 3, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Great post! To keep the mind and heart open (at the same time) is what keeps life interesting and colourful. Good advice too. Like the first and second point. Thanks for reminder. Shall try. Will try convince my hubby about point nr.5. haha.

  3. September 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    My wife and I have recently gone Vegan/Vegetarian. We’re doing it for health reasons, but it’s more about doing things I’ve wanted to do but was afraid of doing. Great post!

  4. Dave
    September 4, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Watching media reports on politics is, difficult for me, and I have to admit can have my blood pressure up several points in moments. While neither Republican or, Democrat, I am enraged when media hides behind a cloak of ‘news’ while blatantly reporting from one side or, the other.

    Can I try one of the others? I’ll look in to 4 & 7, as I have feared this camera with multitudes of features….at least for me.

    Great post.

  5. September 4, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Thank you for this Jason. Very thought provoking suggestions. I am on this path. Very scary and unfamiliar at times, but that it where growth happens.

  6. September 7, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Thank you for the like on my blog! It gave me a chance to read yours. You have a wonderful way of sharing nformation, practical, and helpful!

  7. September 8, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    Hi Jason
    Like always ,your post is a real boost. It is awakening. I totally agree to the fact meeting new people and taking up new hobbies do widen our view points. Interaction with new people means exchange of knowledge.Looking forward to read more of your posts.

    Sayori 🙂

  8. September 10, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    I call this idea…. “surprise myself”…opening myself up to expanded ways of thinking, doing, exploring opportunities and possibilities. Thanks for the helpful suggestions in this post.

  9. Forest Fay
    September 13, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    Thank you for visiting and liking some of my posts 🙂

  10. September 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    This is great advice! I started studying French a while back because I’d always been bad at languages. It’s been difficult, but my French is decent now and my outlook on life has changed dramatically because of the effort and because of the new experiences it has offered.

  11. September 17, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Opening Yourself Up To New Experiences…has given me additional tips which I must include in my plan to actively seek a BQOL (Better Quality of Life) thanks for this series so helpful.Peace & Love!

  12. September 22, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    I so agree with you. I try to open myself up to new experiences everyday. Something to look forward to in a sense.

  13. September 29, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    These are things I have found to be very helpful in my personal growth, also. Great list!

  14. October 6, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Well said! I think you gave me quite a bit to think about! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  15. November 15, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Wonderful post! I love the over all theme of being open to new experiences, to not be judgmental but free to learn from every experience. Very well done.

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