Life is made of many moments, and if we miss the moments, we lose much of the richness in our lives. When I first learned to draw it took a long time to learn to unsee. My ideas of what a body looked like, a house looked like, and a tree looked like got in the way of seeing what was really there. I had to unlearn seeing.
To see with a beginners mind, is to see as if for the first time. When I began to do this, my drawings begin to reflect what was in front of me rather than the very flat and stereotyped representations that lived in my mind.
Growing a beginners mind can help us see and experience the richness of the present moment.
A beginners mind is a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time. This is an attitude that we bring, as best as we are able to our meditation practice.
It doesn't matter what practice we are doing, whether it is a body scan, sitting meditation or yoga, we bring our beginner’s mind with us each time, to free us from of our expectations based on past experiences. This keeps our meditation fresh, allows us to notice new things and stops us from being blinded by our expertise.
In truth, no moment is the same as any other. Each moment is unique and contains many possibilities. Seeing this is the harder part.
Beginners mind is something we try out in the first week of an MBSR course. We then take it into life asking, "how can I experience all of my senses as if for the very first time?" We try this out in many ways. We eat the first few bites of a meal with a beginners mind, greet our partners when we get home with a beginners mind, have a shower, going for a walk etc.
It's a beautiful practice. It's worth revisiting regularly or giving it a go for the very first time.
"The next time you see somebody who is familiar to you, ask yourself if you are seeing this person with fresh eyes, as he or she really is, or if you are only seeing the reflection of your own thoughts about this person. Try it with your children, your spouse, your friends and co-workers, with your dog or cat if you have one. Try it with problems when they arise. Try it when you are outdoors in nature. Are you able to see the sky, the stars, the trees and the water and the stones, and really see them as they are right now with a clear and uncluttered mind? Or are you actually only seeing them through the veil of your own thoughts and opinions? " Jon Kabat Zinn.
What was that like? The capacity to have a beginners mind is the starting point for being more mindful.
A great way to learn more about mindfulness is to book into some good, in depth training. An 8-week Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction course is a wonderful place to start. MBSR has been around for over 30 years and is the course that much of the mindfulness research is derived from. It's practical and enjoyable. Our next course starts Feb 20, early bird ends Jan 24.
If you've done an MBSR course you might be interested in the annual follow up course, Living Mindfully With Compassion. This starts Feb 14. Of the 15 who participated in 2017, 6 came back for seconds in 2018. I've just had the first person book for a third round.
For more information go to www.headrest.com.au