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Beginner’s Mind

In mindfulness, we try to approach each moment as if it is the first time, because it is. We therefore attempt to approach each practice as a beginner.

We say the same words in davening every day. How can it be that we use the same words to communicate with the Borei Olam every day, even though our lives are evolving, as is, hopefully, our relationship with Him? Having an attitude of beginner’s mind means treating every moment for what it is: absolutely brand-new, a moment we have never before experienced.

A beginner’s mind means approach each moment as completely new, as one that has never occurred before, and will never occur again. A new moment may remind us a lot of a previous moment, such as tying our shoes or brushing our teeth (didn’t we do that yesterday?) but everything is really changing; every moment is indeed new and unique and can be experienced afresh.

Each day, we daven with new kavanos, with a new appreciation for this davening, for this opportunity to connect with the Borei Olam. Yes, we may use the same words that have been used for centuries, and the experience is new and necessary for this moment; if we would daven once a year, we would not be able to build the connection that davening those same words each day allows us to build.

Approaching each mindfulness experience with a beginner’s mind allows us to use this experience to build our mindfulness muscles rather than get caught in the “expertise” of having experienced a similar moment before. This attitude can help encourage us to use similar practices multiple times to help us build mindfulness muscles rather than get caught in the attitude that we already know this or have already experienced this: in reality, this moment has never been experienced before and never will be experienced again.


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