Receptivity means the willingness to receive. It determines your learning quotient (LQ). Learning is important to one’s evolution. Else even if you do increasingly well materially, your personality may get frozen in time.
But there are several barriers to receptivity. Let us classify them as natural barriers and artificial barriers. The greatest natural barrier to receptivity is age and circumstance. As we grow older, particularly those of us who are doing well, start to believe we know all. People say that one can learn a lot from children. It is amazing how much one can learn from adults. But few of us are willing to learn from adults. Why? Because the adult has ego which clashes with ours.
So one barrier to receptivity is Ego. There is this story about the son of Ved Vyas. He wanted to be trained by Raja Janak, a wise king. Ved Vyas requests Raja Janak to take his son, Sukh, under his tutelage. Raja Janak asks him to send his son to him. Sukh arrives at the appointed hour outside Raja Janak’s study and knocks at the door. Janak asks, who is it? Sukh replies, “Main Sukh” (I am Sukh). Janak doesn’t open the door. Sukh knocks again. “Who is it”? Main Sukh. Janak doesn’t open the door. And this repeats many times, till Sukh is tired of knocking and waiting. Suddenly a realisation dawns. He knocks again. Janak says, “who is it”? This time Sukh replies, “ Sukh”. Janak opens the door. Sukh realises that as long as he had the “I”, Janak did not wish to teach him.
It is indeed difficult to even share anything with someone who has too much “I”. In fact, when one has too many “I”s he has no ears.
The other barrier is circumstance and environment. When man lived in the jungle he had very sensitive hearing skills, as deciphering the sounds of the predators was important. It is no longer so. Since the need is not there his hearing ability has got blunted. Same is true for his other senses. And since man perceives the world with his senses, when these senses lose efficiency he naturally becomes less receptive.
The other barrier to receptivity is culture. Let us take India as a case in point. Two thousand years ago, India was the most prosperous society in the world. Whenever a society does well materially it becomes interested in finer things of life particularly religion. So did India of yore. Today it is a poor country. Also it is a very materialist society. In fact I would go so far as to say that India is the most materialist society in the world. This materialism is central to the strides that we are taking in this sphere. The downside is that we enter each interaction with our calculators, which tell us, “What is in it for me?” It is almost as if a headphone is attached to these calculators which we are constantly wearing. It plays numbers (numerical) for us. This makes us miss whatever is expressed in non-binary terms. Most of wisdom is non-binary. It is neither zero nor one. It is somewhere in between. We need to go beyond the binary repertoire.