Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Beginner's Mind

The third element, or habit, of the mindfulness attitude is “Beginner’s Mind”.  What is beginner’s mind?  It is “having the willingness to observe the world as if it were your first time doing so.  This creates an openness that is essential to being mindful”.
Most adults have a difficult time having a “Beginner’s Mind”.  As we get older our minds become so filled, mostly with junk, that being open enough to have the curiosity of a child is very challenging.  When it comes to “Beginner’s Mind”, my greatest teacher is my granddaughter.  I spend time with her most weekends and during this time she teachers me to see life like a child.  However, as she gets older she is losing some of her childhood innocence.  Now she is more questioning of life as she should be and as I would expect.  People with “Beginner’s Mind” tend to see life, not only with curiosity, but with simplicity.  When one sees life directly, and with the simplicity of a curious child, one is usually very present to the reality of the moment.  Life is not usually seen as complicated to a child.  It just is.  I remember once asking my granddaughter if she was happy.  At first she seemed confused by the question.  She looked at me as though she was wondering why I would ask such a silly question.  Her eyes said, “Paw Paw, isn’t being happy the normal way of being”?  Only someone with a “Beginner’s Mind” would think being happy is the normal way to be.  My granddaughter’s mind was open and fresh and her vision was pure.  She was full of curiosity and could be present to the moment in a way I can only hope to be.  Sadly, growing up and seeing the world a little more realistically has affected the purity of her vision.  Unfortunately she will likely grow up to be like the rest of us and she will lose her former effortless ability to be present.  At some point she will need to consciously work to regain it just like her Paw Paw is trying to do now.   

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