“what it really takes to be ___.”

I’ve had a very interesting second college semester. I can’t (or won’t, rather) get into specific details, but that which remains unsaid has proved to be crucial staples in personal revelation and self-discovery. This blurb, which will remain inherently esoteric, draws energy upon the donning of a new perspective, in which, through its lenses, beauty is observed and appreciated within the scene of an unfortunate disaster. In an attempt to rid these sentences of their clichés, which contemporary pop culture all too often distributes and labels as fads and phases come and go, a person engaged in deep thought needs to reconstruct those familiar maxims, translating them internally to lift the veil that silhouettes the real message contained within… the real message blocked by familiarity.

What happens when a person refuses to open their mind? To put it simply, through experience I’ve seen judgmental attitudes develop; a closed mind shuts out the perceptions and beliefs of others and thereby disrespects and demeans an individual trying to make a point. Surely this may conjure mild disagreement, but what other possibility is there? It makes sense that a refusal to take on various perspectives purposefully in an attempt to understand gives the implication that one doesn’t care… and therefore doesn’t love.

Does opening your mind obligate you to compromise values? Moreover, does the decision to free your mind and be lovingly open to other people subject you to be influenced by those people you open up to? I think not. After all, it takes a mind ripe with experience, a soul adept in nature, and a heart steeped in love, to be able to garner the wisdom necessary to prevent personal foibles and subliminal trickery — it is this search for inner peace that paradoxically drives people to be one with everything in this world, through which God has graciously granted.

I often reflect after a memorable night of meeting new people and creating new connections. It feels like I string webs with amazing networks of people, and as they stretch farther, it ironically brings you closer; unfamiliar environments feel more like home, unreasonable insecurities crumble, and voids of emptiness in a given heart gives way to be filled with an expanse of newly constructed bridges of trust and friendship. And though sometimes sincerity and genuineness comes secondary to some, and some people’s words are aimed to hurt, the truth is that we’re all still a little bit ignorant to people’s intentions. After all, certainly none of us are imbued with the privilege of being omniscient mind readers, and so we are all learning to love and understand each other in the only way we know how: simply by the way in which the world teaches us. However, it doesn’t mean you are obligated to learn the world’s doctrine. But if you allow yourself to be exposed to it, to be respectful of its teachings, you become more capable in defending yourself against worldly canons by which your moral fiber and personal nature don’t agree.

This is impossible if you choose to be closed.

College is of course about many things, and disputes as to what “college is all about” can be argued for practically forever. But what we fail to realize (and one thing we can hopefully agree on) is that our college experiences were never meant to be turned into clichés for others to follow for a little while, only to end up becoming under-appreciated. Rather, I believe that it is meant to be a personal experience of self-disclosure, where people learn to find themselves, holding not onto proliferated generalizations that “sum up” college living, but onto individual realizations that make being in college worth it.

I believe that a failure to grasp a self-contructed reality in the realm of the college experience is a direct result of overt closed-mindedness. It doesn’t mean that you have to compromise or relinquish anything… it simply means that you are willing to respect one another, that you choose to be free from judgment, mental categorization, and labeling (for who are we to criticize?), and that you are willing to love with no exceptions, encouraging all the facets and connotative definitions contained within that word.

The pursuit of inner peace is essential if you want to love without inhibition. Take a moment to think, go out into nature, experience reality. But in remembrance of the words of Christopher McCandless, “happiness is only real when shared.”

To be free is to live.
To live is to share.
To share is to be at peace.
And to be at peace is to be happy.

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