The Beginner’s Mind

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I’ve been thinking about the role of humility within a spiritual practice. Healthy humility is powerful. In the Japanese language beginner’s mind is Shoshin 初心  and if you look at each kanji character it is new and heart (or at least that’s what I have been told within spiritual circles). Coming to any endeavour, new and open, each time is like wiping a slate clean, and aids in expansion.

What I’ve noticed, is that we all have a tendency to think we ‘know’ at times, and are moved into the realm of arrogance when we believe we have all the answers.  Thinking we ‘know’ is what stalls deeper self-growth because it keeps us in stasis. When we think we have nothing left to learn we become mired in old patterns, turning the same experiences over, again and again.

The only way out is to adopt mental neutrality, humbly beginning anew each time, open and fresh. Asking The Self questions like, ‘what am I not seeing’ ‘what is this teaching me’ ‘how can I learn something new from this’ add the element of reflection that deepens the journey.

The beginner’s mind is not the same as un-healthy humility. When humility is unbalanced it keeps our light small. It closes us off to our greater wisdom because we second guess what is real. It is the voice that says ‘who am I to say these things’ or ‘who am I to do these things’.

When we meet our life with the beginner’s mind, we open ourselves up to deeper curiosity. Life becomes a never-ending adventure full of opportunity, expansion and depth.

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Embrace Nuance, Watch What Happens

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There is room for so many ways of being here. So many pathways of existence. There is room for the nuances and grey areas too. When we get stirred up we don’t want to believe that, because discomfort is something we have deemed ‘bad’ and ‘death’ is the worst … we think that if we embrace nuances here that it means we condone acts of violence and ignorance. But the hardlines and the soft edges of our existence converge in a neverending energy matrix and we can’t have one without the other. It is, by contrast, that we grow vaster, wiser and more compassionate.
We become better as we go.
Our world is poised for a shift, there is too much contrast for there not to be something come of it. The question is, are you on your path sitting in love or are you feeding fear?
We want so much to make living simple. We like to categorize everything into right and wrong, good or bad, because things that twist-us-up make us feel horrible, and from that place of discomfort we want to feel better. We chase ‘Better’ in many ways and for most of us, we are beginning to see that the things we have chased are not working.
So, I’m beginning to see that ‘better’ isn’t something outside of myself. ‘Better’ comes in how you begin to shift your awareness to something larger. How you focus yourself and your time here in a body is up to you. Taking responsibility for what you need, not by making anything outside yourself change, but by shifting your own actions is one way of feeling better.
Even that which we find abhorrent, that which makes us twist and turn, has a purpose here. It doesn’t mean you walk away, it means that you meet what you encounter with compassion. With love in your heart, from no other location than inside your own body, where do you want to focus your attention?
Again, as so many times before, how do you feel? What do you need? From a place without hate or fear, how do you want to spend your personal energy?
By answering these questions in this way, you don’t expect anything outside yourself to change.
Don’t worry so much about arranging other peoples energy to match your own, or you will ( never-endingly ) be putting out fires that seem wrong to your path.
Turn back towards your heart, make your choices based on feeling ‘right for you’ in the moment. Set your intentions for what you stand for. Follow your inner promptings. Don’t feel threatened by those who don’t believe your truth. There is no comparison on a sure path.
Check-in with your self often, see if those things have changed and know that they will over time. Give yourself space to shift.
And don’t worry so much about what isn’t stirred up in others. You don’t know their path, but you can feel into yours.
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I’ve been quietly working through layers of my psyche. Wondering why I should try to capture awareness that is ephemeral and non-translatable past personal experience?

The art of refining oneself takes time and an immense amount of patience, a willingness to pay attention to personal nuances. I’ve noticed that my human nuances change as fast as my chemical balances shift. I’m not sure if this is a human thing or a woman thing, but I’ve become fascinated that I have the same thoughts and feelings, impulses and worries within a three-day window every month, all month long.

Our bodies are such a chemical cocktail, informing our thoughts and reactions. It begs the question, is anything we think even real?

I’ve noticed a leap in my allowing since I started to pay attention to my inner patterns. My hard lines are softer and my desire to place everything in an easy box has diminished, just because I’m giving space for my body rhythm.

Today I was thinking about how this is an infinite universe, with room for many perspectives, and it all depends on what vibration you are holding for what you experience. ‘Being’ is easy, our bodies are set up to run. The ‘softening’ is the work that challenges what we think we know, continually redirecting our engineered beliefs. This is what changes our experience here.

How do you feel? What do you need? Are you allowing space for what comes up?

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