We all grow up in Little Worlds, Little Worlds that begin with our families – for better or worse – and gradually expand into the world that surrounds us, that Big World, that foreign place. For some of us, that foreign place intrigues, and so we spend our lives widening and widening the boundaries of the Little World where we began.
For some of us, Big World is a frightening place – which it surely is – and so we use our precious energy to make sure the boundaries of our Little World are never broken. We live within the confining – and supposedly safe – shell of Little World. We take our Little World with us, wherever we go.
Our minds hold our Little Worlds, embrace our Little Worlds, surround our Little Worlds. If we think we have open minds and still, our world does not embrace the wideness of the world and its varieties of thinking and people and ideologies and practices and dresses and rights and wrongs, then our minds are not open at all. We are locked in our Little Worlds, the only worlds our minds can hold. Whenever we think: “how can they be that way?” or “how can they think that way?” we are living within the limits of Little World. That’s how our minds think; that’s what keeps us in Little World. Often our Open Minds are not Open at all, they are only the Little World, unable to give way to Big World.
Experience teaches us – hopefully – that our Little Worlds are not big enough for life. We try to control our Little Worlds, keeping the Big World away; sometimes we are startled awake, startled alive, have our minds broken open. When our minds break open the edges of our Little World gives way to Big World.
Our minds are broken open when our hearts are broken open – by failing, by submitting our privilege, by addiction, by depression, by the truth that whatever rules we learned in the Little World cannot carry us in Big World. Our minds are broken open when we realize we do not know, we cannot know what is right or good for another. We learn that we don’t even know what is right or good for ourselves. We learn that the rules we learned in Little World don’t work in Big World. The rules we learned in Little World are meant to keep us small, and safe. Big World is not safe; Big World is an adventure.
We – those of us who have had our Little Worlds broken, are grateful for those things that have broken us, for they break the Little World. And this, this alone makes the world a safer, kinder, gentler place, for all. Big World is a place of love, of limit-less love.
When Little World is broken, Big World appears.