I am going to start something fresh and new very soon. This week I saw the first signs of Spring in the Dutch countryside, which means it’s time for some rigorous spring-cleaning. Yes, this means I’m going to declutter in and around the house, but also in my business. I think it’s important to stay close to my ideas and plans and let my business evolve with me, so you’re about to see some big changes around here very soon. Let me explain it to you later in this post, but first let’s have a closer look at the power of a ‘beginner’s mind’ and its connection to mindfulness.
“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
As it’s no longer merely a practice of Buddhist monks, hippies and other spiritual thinkers, mindfulness is becoming more and more popular among the normal people. The people like you and me. We’re practical and believe ambition and a busy job can certainly go together with a calm and harmonious mind set. But with the digital noises becoming louder in our lives, staying relaxed and quiet at times can be a little difficult. Mindfulness can help us to stay focused and ‘tuned on’ in the current moment, in every current moment. Whether it’s making our breakfast, traveling to work/school or doing some housekeeping, we can be there. Truly being in the moment (and not thinking about that thing you said earlier that day, or that phone call from your friend that felt a bit weird, or that you really have to do some grocery shopping…etc.) can be extremely difficult. Especially when things have become a habit, we’re inclined to get distracted by our thoughts, our worries or our smartphones.
We are addicted to distraction. So how can we bring ourselves back to the precious lives we’re living right now, instead of wasting our lives on things that don’t really matter to us?
What can we do to become more mindful? We could start meditating or do breathing exercises and I can ensure you these things are very helpful. But if that’s not really your thing, there are some practical solutions at hand as well. The one I am going to discuss with you today is the practice of beginning anew. Try to remember a time when you learned something new. When was the last time you really struggled to gain a new skill? Was it mastering a new skill at your job? Was it a new hobby you tried or a sport? Even if you can’t think of something new you learned recently, you can always remember your childhood; we were all beginners then. What if you could try to reset this way of thinking? You could try to do something (let’s say making your breakfast or travelling to work) as if you never did it before. This can seem slightly weird to do at first, but by making some small adjustments (e.g. holding your knife/spoon in your non-dominant hand during breakfast or taking a different route to work) you can see the complexity of your day to day activities.
I can hear you thinking: Yeah, great, but what practical use has this? Well, there are two ways the beginner’s mind strategy is a good healer for our distracted minds:
1. A beginner’s mind is focused and creative. When you do something new, or in a new way, you need to bring your full focus to it (because you’re unskilled) and you’re also thinking in a creative way, without even realising it. When we’re on autopilot, we don’t think about our actions anymore, but when we do something new, it’s inevitable to think about the how and the why. These thinking patterns are key for innovation, but don’t get trained often enough when we go through our days on autopilot.
2. A beginner’s mind is compassionate and grateful. Alongside having a beginner’s mind during our actions of the day, we can also ‘start over’ when it comes to our relationships. Once relationships (with a partner, friend, colleague, family member or any other acquaintance) become long-term, we tend to take our loved ones for granted. When you date someone, you do everything to make the person like you and you think the oddities of the other person are more like cute quirks. But once you’re in a marriage of 10+ years, the quirks have become unacceptably annoying and you may snatch at the other person for no reason at all. Once you let go of all these prejudices and disappointments of your relationship with the other, you start to feel compassionate and grateful again. When we look at our partners, our friends and family as if they were strangers, we start to realise that they’re just human beings too, and we feel grateful for their love and support. They’re alive and they’re here for me, isn’t that amazing?
You can decide to start over at any moment in your life, not in a radical way, but in a symbolic way.
Say to yourself: “From this day on I’ll be a beginner again in task X.” or “From this day on I start anew with person Y.” No matter how skilled you’re at something or how long you’ve been knowing someone, it’s never too late to start over.
As for Allaban, I am going to make some big changes. There will be more philosophy, more knowledge and a lot of new insights to make you feel a little wiser. My website is will go under construction for a while because I am going to create some new things that will help you to get a philosophical lifestyle. It will help you to know the right things at the time you need that knowledge most.
If you want to stay updated about what things will be announced here very soon, I’d recommend you to become a member now, so you won’t miss out. Click HERE to become a member for free.
What you do when you’re a beginner again, is to make peace with the past and become open for the future. And when we let go of both the past and the future, the present moment is what remains. We get back home to where we belong: here, in the right now.
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Free of charge and full of joy, for you.
Free of charge and full of joy, for you.