“The greatest barrier to discovery is not ignorance … it is the illusion of knowledge.”
You have been spoon fed for so long through schooling and books and television and Internet so much information that you do not know how to discover anything for yourself. Become your own project and discover who you are by your own investigation; not by what you have been told through learning. There is nothing wrong with learning, in that it can help you get around in the world, but be wise with what you come to believe about what you learn. You don’t want to buy into anything too rigidly.
An open mind is one that doesn’t become fearful of knowledge but brings light to knowledge. It’s not about going out and fighting a system but to begin to step out of it so one can see it. How can you see what you are in, when you are in it. Step outside of the norms of life, do not accept that everything is how you have believed it to be, allow the possibility that you maybe wrong about what you think, feel and believe and begin to watch the world from an “outside” view … not as a good or bad, you just begin to view it like you would a project or an investigation. You begin to watch yourself and the world as an “unknown.” You begin to see if what is being shared about you and about the world you live in … is actually true. You look at what you call "your life" and see if it reflects what you are being told. The internet, news, TV, radio, friends and family will tell you to be afraid or that only bad things happen … however, how often do you actually “see” a bad thing happen for yourself, how often does something actually happen that makes "real" fear arise?
One must begin to step out of the boxes they put themselves in? One goes in a box so that they “look” like they “fit in” the world. Those boxes are all the things that you say that you are … what your religion is, what your nationality is, what your country is, what your beliefs about anything is … all of them are boxes to make you feel like you are safe in the crowd, but what is a box but a coffin and the more boxes you have the more layers you have been buried in.
What is it that draws one to being in a box … a coffin? It is the fear of standing alone … at least in a graveyard there are others seemingly there; but if you get out of the casket you are alone. To be willing to live outside of boxes one must first face fear. The fear of being alone, of being misunderstood, of being outcasted, and ultimately of death. If you face the latter first, the rest naturally begin to fall away.
How does one do this? Take off a box and see if you are willing to die. If you are religious … drop your religion for a time maybe even just an hour (you can pick it back up later) become willing for even God to disown you, be willing to die and not know what will happen … you don’t anyway you just believe that you know … but beliefs don’t make things real … they just make boxes. If you are married, be willing to not know what marriage is, it doesn’t mean you go and leave your spouse or get divorced, it just means that you don’t know what it is. You have been told what marriage is … but what is it really, what is it to you, has it become a box or is it something that stimulates your growth? These are investigations for you to look into alone ... your spouse can not do this for you.
Those are two big ones but if even a slight bit of fear comes up to even look at it; you might begin to see the box you have put yourself in and in this, fear becomes a friend, a tool you can use to gauge how deeply you have dug yourself in. You can use anything that has you feeling "comfortable" as a tool to dig with. If you believe you are “Human” look into that box … what actually is a human or is it just a label placed on a body because one doesn’t actually know who or what one is. Do you really know who you are? That is a genuine question to ask? You may think that it is more comfortable to assume that you know all these things, because you have learned them … and everyone seems to agree that they are true, but comfort leads to stagnation and a very unfulfilling life.
It’s not that one shouldn’t be comfortable it is about becoming aware of the unknown, which leads to vibrancy, energy and stimulation, creativity, you begin to see that you don’t ever know what is going to happen, but it becomes obvious and beautiful that you don't. You aren’t rushing to put everything back in place attempting know how everything should be. You begin to experience life as it actually is; without any beliefs or boxes or coffins to rest in and to rely. You become extremely close to the present moment; the one that you are in but continuously overlook. You become more childlike, you didn’t have to know how to be a child to be one. Your parents didn’t know how to be a parent and to raise a child and yet they did and if you are honest and have children you don’t either, but you don’t need to know, you just become aware of yourself and watch what it is like for “you” not anyone else but “you” to be a child, a adult, and a parent. You begin to Trust the river of life without boxes, without conformity, without having to pretend to be someone.
It is wise, every once in awhile to step away from the TV, the Internet, friends and family and see what is true in your not what you are spoon fed to believe. Then when you come back and turn the TV on, the Internet back on, sit down with a friend or family member ... pay attention to what you watch (what you feed yourself with) what you hear and what you speak ... what kind of information do you take in and spit back out? As you do these things, you become more clear in yourself, you begin to know who you are more intimately. No one is going to have this life experience for you, don’t waste it on what someone else has lived. Take the best from every experience, yet have your own.