Think Day 13 – Are you seeing the miracle in this moment?
“When you believe, your mind will find a way to do.” – David J. Schwartz (Magic of Thinking Big)
Today let’s talk about a 3rd frame of mind to adopt in cultivating mindfulness: The Beginner’s Mind
Beginners generally have no idea what to expect when they jump into something new…so it can be much easier to believe that amazing results are possible…
Or even probable!
Then what happens as soon as they begin??
Either 1) they have ASTONISHING results (which people attribute to beginner’s luck, but which is more likely from their BELIEF in the possibilities), or…
2) They fail to meet their ‘too lofty’ expectations and now they have a new belief that ‘This is hard!!’
In the first option, people with success generally believed that they could do it!
“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success. ” – Norman Vincent Peale
In the second option, the failed attempt, with the trusty new belief installed that ‘this is hard’, the rest of their experience (if they continue at all) is a self-fulfilled prophecy and whatever is attempted is a struggle.
So now that they are no longer a beginner, usually this happens: Either it’s A) super easy, and now they are overconfident, or
B) It’s way too hard, and not even worth the effort.
This happens with many regarding mindfulness. In either case, we can be prevented from the deep riches of mindful awareness if we follow one of those paths.
The key then, is to ALWAYS BE A BEGINNER.
If you are always a beginner in your mind, you are not encumbered by beliefs of how challenging this should be, and you get the fresh, fun perspective of something new without getting into the arrogance of over-confidence.
“OK, Aaron, sounds great…but how the heck to do I just ‘be a beginner’ all the time??
I knew you would ask that…you’re so smart! J
“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. Cultivating a “beginner’s mind” is a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Notice how he said ‘a mind that is willing’?
It starts with the simple willingness to choose to see something as if for the first time.
This can be challenging…our minds get conditioned to notice patterns FAST and even as soon as the 2nd time we see something our mind immediately has it classified, categorized and stored in some efficient stereotyped compartment.
This is actually an amazing and beautiful function our minds automatically perform with precision!
We just need to be aware of when to override this function and HOW.
Without our ability to classify and categorize we would be massively inefficient as a species.
But, if we run on ‘classifying autopilot’ all the time, we can miss the beauty right in front of our eyes.
Many of us are running on unconscious autopilot in so many areas of our lives it’s like those things may as well not exist…because we don’t even notice them.
How do you wash in the shower? Do you notice the soap or the pattern you follow washing with it?
How about jumping in the car, turning the ignition, driving to the store? Automatic routine right?
Are you beaming with joy at the miracle of this big hunk of metal floating you through space across the earth to arrive at your destination where you will purchase from an array of abundant fruits and vegetables that miraculously just appear in every shape and variety every day??
Or is it perhaps just another chore to ‘go get the groceries’?
“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.”
“Ask yourself if you are seeing a 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.”
“Or am I actually seeing them through the veil of my own thoughts and opinions? Try this with any person (ex, family, friends, co-workers), pets, with problems as they arise, outdoors in nature, etc.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Here’s another question I would ask to cultivate the beginner’s mind daily.
“Am I seeing the miracle in this moment?”
You can incorporate that into any moment of your life.
By tuning your awareness to the miracle of each moment, it will help you remember that in each moment you truly are a beginner.
Each moment is new, you’ve never been here before in this exact situation…so you truly are a beginner.
Now you can shed the belief that this must be hard, because it has always worked that way before.
Simply allow yourself to be here in this BRAND NEW experience of now, and really see it.
Be a beginner at everything.
Think Day 14 – Rest day from email.
We’ll take a break from training tomorrow, but keep on meditating! Don’t mess up your streak!
And are you tracking this? If not, a super helpful practice is to print out your calendar, put it in your journal, and mark off each day you meditated for any amount of time.
This helps a lot in keeping you mindful of the goal and seeing your progress.
Make Today Amazing!