Mindfulness involves a focus on becoming aware of all incoming thoughts and feelings and accepting them, but not attaching or reacting to them. It also gives people a greater awareness of their own body, helping them to become more aware of emotional states and thoughts.
What is Beginner’s Mind
Beginners mind (Shoshin 初心) is a word from Zen Buddhism which asks us to have an attitude of openness, experiencing our world as if we were an alien from Mars, having never experienced these things before. So when we engage in mindfulness, we want to engage from our Beginner’s mind; from our non-judgmental, open, almost childlike capacity, where we use our senses and trust our gut.
The below meditation aims to support you in developing the skill of beginners mind to help you slow down and engage in your world non-judgmentally. However with practice, we hope you can begin to engage with yourself and your emotions in a similar way, being inquisitive and curious, but open and non-judgmental with it.
This meditation is a sense exercise, asking you to become aware of what’s around you from beginners mind. So hear, see and feel as if these sensations are new to you. For example, instead of categorising sounds as ‘plane’ or ‘door closing’, try and really hear the sounds. An amazing client once told me that there were hundreds of different sounds just in the engine of a plane, so when listening to a plane, she tried to focus on the many different sounds and their qualities.
Try and open up your senses so to hear, see, smell etc with your whole body – to focus your whole being on your senses, and each time your mind wonders (as it will), just gently draw it back to your senses.
Find a comfortable position, gently allow your mind to follow your breath, and when ready, engage your senses:
- Sight: Look around you notice 5 objects you can see – notice colours, textures, shapes, hues. Spend time opening up your mind to these objects, noticing what you normally wouldn't notice about them
- Touch: Touch 5 different objects, noticing the texture, temperature, mass and weight as you do so.
- Smell/Taste: Smell or taste 5 different things, noticing texture, taste and aroma. If you can’t taste or smell anything where you are, then simply notice this without judgement.
- Hearing: Close your eyes and listen for 5 different sounds. Try not to categorise or label, just open your ears up to what might be around for you.
Check in with yourself at the end of the exercise and notice how you feel. Mindfulness is about practice so see if you can do a Beginners mind exercise each day this week! Over time you will build up your capacity to experience things from this new, non-judgmental place in your mind.
Join us – We offer individual mindfulness sessions in Guildford and Godalming, Surrey. You can join our Mummas Mindfulness groups in Guildford which are a mix of informal and formal exercises. The course is 6 weeks of sessions to teach you how to BE mindful. It’s not about simply teaching you the theory behind it (as we can learn that from a book). We develop your mind muscle (a bit like exercising at the gym!) as the more you practice using the muscle, the stronger it will be. You will find that the more you practice, the more you are able to pay attention non-judgmentally. There are real benefits to physical and emotional wellbeing and it even helps with management of pain and sleep issues! We have an Early bird price for our course starting in April. If you are interested, drop us a message or book here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mummas-mindfulness-6-week-course-tickets-43511744800
Dr Jo Gee
Mummas Wellbeing - is a specialist mums wellbeing service, in Surrey, UK. We offer Arvigo, hypnobirthing, counselling, psychotherapy, nutritional therapy, massage, mindfulness, osteopathy, physiotherapy, pilates, postnatal doula and reflexology for women through fertility, pregnancy, the postnatal period and parenting.
Tel: 07933 343180