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  4.03 Beginners Mind – video

“Noticing for the first time”

BEGINNERS MIND

The richness of present-moment experience is the richness of life itself. Too often we let our thinking and our beliefs about what we “know” prevent us from seeing things as they really are. We tend to take the ordinary for granted and fail to grasp the extra-or­dinariness of the ordinary. To see the richness of the present mo­ment, we need to cultivate what has been called “beginner’s mind,” a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time.

This attitude will be particularly important when we practice the formal meditation techniques described in the following chap­ters. Whatever the particular technique we might be using, whether it is the body scan or the sitting meditation or the yoga, we should bring our beginner’s mind with us each time we practice so that we can be free of our expectations based on our past experiences. An open, “beginner’s” mind allows us to be receptive to new pos­sibilities and prevents us from getting stuck in the rut of our own expertise, which often thinks it knows more than it does. No moment is the same as any other. Each is unique and contains unique possibilities. Beginner’s mind reminds us of this simple truth.

You might try to cultivate your own beginner’s mind in your daily life as an experiment. 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?

Source- Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., pages 33-40