Non-judgemental Beginner’s Mind

This is a topic I’m currently working on. Not judging people, places or things. It is not easy as we had to quickly judge things to survive. Let’s pretend one of our ancestors was almost killed by a lion. He again sees the lion out and about. I don’t think he thought oh the big kitty was just having a bad day, I’m going to see if it wants to be friends now. Quick judgements helped us survive.

In many situations our judgements no longer serve us and they take energy away from the task at hand. When I first started teaching outdoor yoga I put a lot of negative energy toward the planes overhead. They just totally interrupted my class plan. Now I say if we hear a plane and you can’t hear me we just hold a pose a little longer. We also might practice warrior 3 known as airplane pose.

One of the hardest things for me is to practice what is called beginner’s mind. It can help with judgements. Beginner’s mind is looking an event, person, place or thing without preconceived notions. When I was a hiring manager, new employees would often ask me what is Bob from Accounting like? I would always say, “I will let you form your own opinion”. In yoga we are often encouraged to come to our mats with a beginner’s mind. We attempt to stay in the present with an awareness of how our practice feels in each moment. It does not serve us to spend the hour being worried about toppling over in tree and knocking the whole row down with us before we even attempt the pose.

I just took my first long cross country train trip. This new way of travel opened my eyes again to how incredibly beautiful the world is! I had been to some of the states before, but the train helped me see them with a fresh new view. We often admire how little kids still get so excited and are interested in so much. The constant questions asked by young children is beginner’s mind. Every day we have a new opportunity to look at things in a new and different way.

We do need to recognize patterns. If someone in our life is constantly disrespectful to us, I don’t advise just seeing them with beginners mind. It might be time for a conversation. Beginner’s mind can help solve problems too. There is a saying look at something with a fresh set of eyes. If we are stuck, beginner’s mind can help as we patiently wait for the answers.

“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Resolve to be always beginning – to be a beginner.” –Rainer Maria Rilke