Returning to the Beginner's Mind

When I first began the practice of meditation I felt myself wild, unfocused, and ultimately, untamable. Perhaps a part of me that still exists in my kinky side. ;) ...I wasn't sure how to calm my mind and for the life of me, I could not sit still. It took a lot of patience and a whole lot of self-will to begin the practice of seated meditation; to sit with my running thoughts, my worried mind, and my racing heart.

I began in small doses. A few minutes at a time here and there. Then I worked up to trying 10 minutes in the mornings, slowly building in took me a while before I committed to sitting for 10 minutes everyday for one whole week. Once I could do a week, I tried a month, challenging myself to a long term process of discipline and self-study.

Even though sitting still for 10 minutes first thing in the morning wasn't always what I wanted to do and some mornings felt like torture, it did become more manageable. My thoughts began to settled down. My heart felt less anxious. My body began to calm. I could feel my insides shifting and I slowly began to see this shift reflected all around me.

My practice has shifted over the years since that time. I have found meditation in movement: thru yoga and dance, walking and cooking, as well as massage and energy work. I have increased my capacity for focused meditation up to 1 to 2 hours as often as I can, spending most of my days in some form of embodied meditative practice, and for this I couldn't be more grateful.

My life has vastly changed, yet there are still moments where those running thoughts, that worried mind, that racing heart comes back to me. They show up when I least expect them to, or even when I think I am doing everything right. (The important word there is think.

It is this beginner's mind I must always attend to. This place of not knowing what will happen next or how things will unfold. It is a practice of letting go and surrendering to the mystery of life. It is a practice of acceptance and gratitude: being grateful I don't have to know everything and be in charge. It can look like being willing to not be Allowing things to be as they really are without forcing them to change. Tho, that doesn't mean I don't accept responsibility for myself and my actions. It just means that I can humble myself my being honest and authentic and focusing on the only thing I can change: me.

It is said that anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but thinking you can control the future. This is why the practice of meditation is helpful. It can help us to quiet our thinking so we can become clear about what is ours to take responsibility for and what is in the power of the universe to carry out.

For some ways to begin or return to a beginner's mind, here are some helpful links:

*Meditating on Breakfast and other simple instructions for meditation

* Tara Brach on How to Meditate with Downloadable Free Booklet

*Guided Meditation for Stress & Anxiety

*Guided Meditation for Sleep (Yoga Nidra)

*Gentle Yoga Sequences (Beginner Friendly)