Through our whole life we learn, we accomplish, we fail and we grow. We hope to one day have “figured it all out” or to have at least answered the questions that plague us the most. It would be nice to feel that we have “mastered” or become an “expert” in many different areas of our own life. So why do we hear about the value of a “beginner’s mind” come up time and time again? Why on earth would we want to stay a beginner? Isn’t the point of being here to learn, evolve and master? Don’t we all want to move from the beginner class to the expert class?
The practice of a “beginner’s mind” is rooted in a mindfulness practice and in a mindfulness based yoga practice. To be able to see the richness and the fullness in each moment in our days and in our formal practices, it is helpful to be present and adopt this “beginner’s mind”. A beginners mind is one that is willing to see and feel with fresh eyes and an open mind. As we move through our years of achieving and learning, many of us get to points in our lives where we feel that we “know” certain things. A “beginner’s mind” allows us to continue to be receptive to new possibilities and prevents us from getting stuck in the ruts of our own certainty. This is especially helpful if we are spending time sitting in meditation or moving mindfully on our yoga mats or through an ordinary day.
How would it feel to have your eyes and your body fully open and ready to receive? How would it feel to allow your mind to let go of the certainty and just allow each moment to unfold?
There is infinite freedom and space in a “beginner’s mind”.
Next time you unroll your yoga mat be present and notice the texture of the mat in your hands. Notice how the mat unrolls smoothly and where it tends to get stuck or looses momentum. Coming to hand and knees (Table pose), feel the soft depression of your weight under your hands and each finger tip. What joints press deeper into your mat? Feel the cushion of the mat under your knees and feel how that translates up into your thighs and into your hip sockets. Did you notice the texture of the mat on the length of your toes?
Notice how your breath moves through your body while your are on hands and knees (Table Pose). If you have practiced Table pose thousands of times before this moment, can you come to this particular asana with a beginner’s mind? Can you see and feel the freshness in this moment? Can you let go of your certainty of how this pose should be and feel how it is?
A beginners mind reminds us of the simple truth that each moment, each breath, each pose is unique and contains unique possibilities. Have fun exploring!