The Mindfullness of the Beginner


Summer Cookout

In practicing mindfulness we enter into the essence of the thing. We become one with the action we are performing. In Japan there is a word shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.” As a beginner, the first time you do something you have to concentrate on it in order to do it correctly, but as you become adept at it you soon stop paying attention to the doing of it. The idea of shoshin is to retain the mindfulness of the beginner even as the task becomes routine. In this manner you are able to enter into the essence of what you are doing and that makes all the difference. Doing anything mindlessly is pointless. However, the more fully you enter into something, keeping mindful of it, the more point or meaning it has and the more alive youfeel by doing it.Musicians, dancers, or artists who are able to enter into the essence of their art, become their art – they transcend the doing and are just being. In the same way our eating habits can be instilled with much more meaning by entering into the essence of it. The quality of the food we eat is enhanced by the presence of mind we give the act of eating.

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