The third attitude that Jon Kabbit Zin recommends we bring to mindfulness is beginner’s mind. The beginner’s mind simply means opening up to the richness of the present moment experience. In yoga philosophy there is something called samskaras. These are the habitual patterns that form the “well-worn” paths in our lives. We do certain things so many times we don’t even have to think about them.
A less glamorous way of talking about it is called being in a rut. A beginner’s mind is unencumbered by samskaras because they have not yet formed. We allows our beliefs about what we think we know about the experience prevent us from seeing things as they truly are. Even in yoga because we repeat the postures so many times we take the ordinary for granted and fail to grasp the extraordinary powers of what is happening each time we come into a pose. In order to experience the richness of the present moment Jon Kabbit Zin says we need to cultivate a beginner’s mind and experience everything for the first time. Shunryu Suzuki says “in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.” As you practice your yoga today, as you do these sun salutations for perhaps the 100th, 1000th or even 1 millionth time, can you step out of the samskara of your own experience and come to them with beginner’s mind?