According to psychiatrist David Shainberg, Bohm's assertion that thoughts are like vortices in a river should be taken literally and as an explanation as to why beliefs and attitudes are sometimes fixed and resistant to change. Vortices are known to be incredibly stable. An example is the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, which is 25,000 miles wide and has remained just the same as when it was discovered over 300 years ago.
Children are open and curious, partially because they have not yet formed settled beliefs upon which to center their energies and create vortices. For an adult who has formed substantial vortices around cherished opinions and beliefs, a major shift is required in order for them to take in new information and to let the vortex dissolve. Apparently the more fully formed, the more difficult it is to shift to freedom of thinking.
The more rigid a person is, the more firmly fixed is their pattern of vortices.
I suppose to begin to be aware of our own vortices, we might examine what beliefs and attitudes we hold firmly and with absolute certainty. We might explore them in several ways. Look into each and ask yourself a number of times - What other way of looking at this might exist? There's another way of looking at this.
Some vortices can be dangerous to the person housing the vortex and to
any other recipient of the beliefs and attitudes. Think prejudice,
violence to the "other," egocentricity, etc. These seem to be the
vortices of the unaware self, the unexamined life. Here the extreme is
the "true believer" as named by Eric Hoffer. Think of the raving
fundamentalist, the crazed political person, the hyper and extreme
anything - think of anyone so attached to their beliefs and attitudes
that no light of any other idea can enter. I wonder if there is a way to help them shift enough to ask the questions??? Typically, a personal crisis is the beginning of looking around and considering other ideas.
Some beliefs are not dangerous to self or others, except maybe to rigid belief systems. One of my beliefs that I hold is that God is Infinite, so any box anyone tries to put on God is limited, for God is More. Words cannot contain God. Theology cannot contain God. God is always More. In my understanding, any other way of looking at it diminishes God. For me, there is no other valid way to look at God. I understand that some are comfortable with a view of God that is neat and tidy and fits in a box, and they may need that for a time. But, that does not change the Reality of God.
At the same time, I keep asking the questions I suggested above. I keep reading. I keep dialoguing. I keep open to More. There is no way I can fully comprehend Infinite More. So what I believe is what I currently have as formed by experience, reading, meditating, praying, etc., and it is always subject to expand. Alas, there is no arrival at finally I know it all. The journey continues, perhaps for many lifetimes and many dimensions.