Mindfulness opens us to the experience of Beginner’s Mind. With each inhale, each exhale, we practice sensing as if it is the first time, the only time, we’ve felt our breath. Which it is. Although we may have felt past breaths and may feel future breaths we can only feel the breath we are breathing now. Past and future are imaginary. This breath right now is the only one that’s real. Beginner’s mind or “don’t know” mind can release us from stale concepts into freshness. And in freshness, creativity abounds.
No matter how long you’ve been meditating, you will come to the point of attentional wandering. It is inevitable. It is necessary. Without wandering, there is no returning. Without returning, there is no attentional skill building. Practicing with the breath allows you to develop a loving and gentle return to your intention over and over again. Just like life. We fall, we fail, we make mistakes, we stumble over and over again. The loving and gentle return to our intention, both internal and external, is what matters.
The most beautiful insights we can have often come as a surprise. The proverbial “Aha” moment. Developing a still and quiet space inside ourselves ripens us for these insights to emerge. We don’t have to find them. They find us. We don’t need to force them out. We need only to practice softening our mind’s grip by letting thoughts become what they are… just thoughts. Through a gentle loosening around believing that our thoughts are facts, we may be surprised at new perceptions, recognitions, ideas that our current thinking blocks us from seeing.
Connection is the source of all human relationships, whether it’s connection to ourselves, each other, the world, or the divine. It’s the experience we all crave from the moment we’re born, to the moment we die. But connection without compassion is hollow and often times leaves us feeling empty and still longing. Practicing qualities like loving-kindness, patience, forgiveness towards ourselves each time we make the choice to turn our attention to our embodied experience- no matter what we find- we deepen our ability to feel compassion. And when we finally feel it, we can expand it to whomever and whatever we come into connection with.