Prescient or Mindful: The powerful benefits of the beginner’s mind

In a post on this blog in January of 2020 I wrote, “Welcome to the new decade! 2020 promises to be another exciting year at MacLachlan and we’re looking forward to continuing our mission to make every student future-ready.”

Whoo-boy! Was that an understatement! Little did we all know what was about to happen a few weeks later and how dramatically our lives were about to change.

In that same post I also wrote, “Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is vital in pursuing a high-quality life because everything we do and feel relates to our well-being. It is important for everyone to achieve optimal wellness in order to manage and reduce stress, minimize the risk of illness and ensure positive interactions with everyone who surrounds us.”

While it would be ambitious of me to claim some sort of prescience all I can really attribute this foresight to is my ability to be in the present moment and recognize what is happening right here, right now and maintaining the cultivation of powerful curiosity. In other words, I approach all of the issues coming at me with a beginner’s mind or shoshin as its called in Japanese martial arts.

Approaching a new subject or problem without preconceptions and maintaining an attitude of eagerness and openness requires a beginner’s mindset.

With practice a beginner’s mind approach can become a powerful way to control your natural impulse to worry in the extreme.

Now imagine there’s a way to catch yourself in the midst of worrying and become more aware of these moments and learn how to shift from reactivity, frustration and worry to greater calm.

It’s about acknowledging (even welcoming!) worries, thoughts and feelings, expressing what we’re feeling when we need to and watching our worries eventually pass. Then repeating it, when worry comes back.

It’s allowing our worry to flow through us, as opposed to trying to stop it, avoid it, put it in a box or control it in some way.

For sure it’s not an easy task and it’s part of the reason we introduce mindfulness practice to even the youngest of our MAC students.

While your worries will never completely leave you, when you bring mindful awareness to them, in time their impact gets less and less.

Wishing you all a mindful welcome back!  Let’s all do our best and come together to bring peace and calm to this new school year for our MAC community.

Author: MacLachlan College

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