One of the basic tenants of mindfulness known as “beginner’s mind” describes the practice of seeing a well-known situaion with a fresh perspective. How we often act in the presence of someone we “know well” can help illustrate the opposite of beginner’s mind, which we could call “expert mind,” or “know-it-all mind,” where we predict how someone will behave.
Expert mind can cause much unhappiness, so why do we take this stance? It may be because we think we can protect ourselves from our familiar friend or family member’s frustrating quirks or outright bad behavior by predicting in advance, but taking this inflexible stance can keep us stuck in unsatisfying relationship patterns.
Try focusing on beginner’s mind in your mindfulness practice this week to help break the bad habit of expert mind. No matter how many years of practice and training you may have, beginner’s mind is always helpful. If it feels too difficult to practice beginners mind in relationships, try seeing your commute to work or school as if you are traveling the route for the first time. No matter how well-worn your path is, each day is an opportunity to view the scenery afresh.
Check out some of these basic mindfulness skills to help you with beginners mind:
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!