I have been thinking a lot about how to keep motivated within my practice. I have been struggling to deal with distractions and I realise that this might be because it can sometimes be difficult to see meditation as engrossing. Let’s face it meditation is almost the opposite of what our brains are used to.
This brought me to the idea of beginner’s mind. This is a Buddhist concept and while this blog does not subscribe to any religion it would be pointless to deny the influence that Buddhism has had on meditation and mindfulness. Beginner’s mind is the attempt to constantly approach things as if seeing them for the first time. If you think about the awe and wonder with which little kids have when they are introduced to something that we take for granted, then that’s what we are aiming for. Not that that is going to be easy, but in the context of meditation practice, if curiosity can be brought to the breath (or whatever the chosen focus is) then maybe meditation can be as intriguing as and addictive as any other passion or obsession.
There is this idea that in every day life our mind is like a teacup, that fills up and fills up until it is overflowing and can’t take anything more in. Beginner’s mind is about trying to ’empty your teacup’ More on that idea here
In every day life practising beginner’s mind may help me, because the more I practice it the more I will remind myself not to expect experiences to always be the same or turn out the same way. Instead if I work at it then beginner’s mind will hopefully lead me to look for the changes in everything. I think this is a particularly useful skill when you may regularly have to face challenges that may otherwise leave you cynical.
I thought I would leave you with an explanation from Jon Kabat-Zinn, a very inspiring mindfulness teacher.
I hope this has been helpful. Have a good week.
The video is also available on YouTube. No copyright infringement intended.