Cultivate Beginner's Mind for Mindfulness - dummies

Cultivate Beginner’s Mind for Mindfulness

By Shamash Alidina, Joelle Jane Marshall

Seeing afresh or seeing with ‘beginner’s mind’ is a useful approach that can make you view life in a new way. The personal physician to His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, ‘Empty your bowl of yesterday’s rice.’ This means letting go of your perceptions, ideas and concepts and allowing yourself to look at life with new eyes.

As a child, you saw things afresh, but as you grew up, things became familiar and no longer exciting. A rainbow doesn’t get you jumping for joy, washing the dishes isn’t a fun task and you ignore a plane flying past.

Mindfulness encourages you to reinvigorate the miracle of being alive and see things with a beginner’s mind. The fact that you’re alive is a huge mystery itself. By being mindful, you can begin to live in this exciting way, as if everything is miraculous.

  1. Sit or lie down in a relaxed and comfortable position and close your eyes.

  2. Notice the sensation of your breathing and the feel of your body against the surface you’re sitting or lying on.

    Prepare to see things as if for the first time when you open your eyes. Prepare to be amazed at the experience of color entering your eyes.

  3. When you’re ready, gently open your eyes.

    Notice colors with a sense of wonder. Notice the range of different colors, the shades and hues, the shadows or bright light.

  4. Continue to operate this way as you go about your daily activities and see what happens.

Living with beginner’s mind is fun. You can’t live every single moment with wonder, but by doing mindfulness exercises regularly, you’re more likely to experience how special it is just to be alive.

The beginner’s mind attitude isn’t easy to develop, but it is fundamental to practicing mindfulness.

Jot down some daily activities that you do without really paying attention to them. Notice what happens and what you discover when you do them as if for the first time.