I have been reflecting on the concept of receptivity lately. For me receptivity is an attitude of openness and trust; rather than striving and achieving. It is about being open to allow opportunities and experiences to arrive, rather than the closed attitude that usually accompanies reaching for specific goals and targets, or in maintaining the status quo.
In myself I have noticed periods in my life when I have felt I have reached capacity-that I cannot take on more work or other opportunities. Although I may have been promoting events whilst feeling that I was at capacity, I was doing so with the hope that there would be a certain outcome attached to these events. In effect I was closing myself deliberately to receiving opportunities through my attitude and mindset.… I was not receptive to what may be. I did have some awareness that I was closing myself off to opportunities at the time however, and so I was not surprised or upset with the outcome. I am also aware that there have been times in my life where I have been extremely focused and driven towards achieving specific goals, and in this my perception has been quite blinkered-looking only towards those goals. I realise now that I may have missed other opportunities along the way, and indeed perhaps even much pleasure in life.
The two examples presented above represent a very active part of my mind and action, which in mindfulness terminology we would term the “doing mode”. What I have noticed as my own mindfulness practice has developed over time is that I am more and more adopting a being mode which is where I feel this receptivity in attitude and open-mindedness sits. When I have adopted this attitude of receptivity I find that I am open to connecting with others, that I am open to new opportunities and that they find me rather than my having to go and search for them. It is as though the universe provides what is needed-and perhaps this is where the trust comes in-trusting that you will see them and in turn be able to receive. It feels much gentler and kinder to myself to be living with this receptivity.
Of course there are times when I move into the doing mode and this is absolutely necessary for some things in life. However spending more time” being” creates more balance in my life and enhances my mental and physical health and well-being. This attitude of receptivity however is not something that we can work towards in the same way that we might work towards other goals or targets. In meditation it is common for beginners to try to get to a particular place; maybe they reached a particularly blissful state during a previous meditation and they are attempting to get back there in the meditations that follow. This of course will not happen while we are trying to reach it, this state is more likely to occur when we meditate without expecting or hoping a particular outcome will occur. The attitude of receptivity! The attitude of receptivity , I believe, comes as softening towards our experiencing without expectation. And it could be that just as I realise this is where I am…that it flows away with awareness. Just as a child learning to ride a bike realises that their parent has let go of the bike and they are actually cycling on their own, that they then wobble and fall off. And once again I am learning the lesson of impermanence…