In gathering information about meditation it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the information that is out there. In doing a simple search with Google Scholar, the word “meditation” had over 128,000,000 articles to appear. I also picked up a special Edition by the Los Angeles Times on Wellness (full of many informative articles). In my search I identified 9 different types of meditation (although I’m sure there are many more). With all of this information it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
The one theme that seems to be true for all of them is that it is a practice to help bring about awareness and a feeling of calmness to the participants. Study after study praises the benefits of practicing meditation on a regular basis. It even boasts benefits when only practicing for short periods of time. The benefits listed were physical, mentally and spiritually.
When I started this project I came across the concept of Shoshin or Beginners mind. In one of the articles in the Wellness magazine, it explains that when we are expecting to see something new we are already in a state of noticing. This practice also opens our mind for new experiences and learning. If we go into a situation as if it were the first time we turn our minds on to learn or see things differently.
Think back to the first time you did something new. Maybe it was trying a new hobby, or a new food, maybe it was going somewhere that you’d never been before. In each of these situations I would guess that there was a sense of anticipation or a sense of wonder. Being open to a new experience helps us learn. We can practice shoshin even in our every day routines.
Have you ever been driving in your car to a familiar plan and you switch to automatic pilot? You might not be really paying attention to what happened between point “A” and point “B”. Paying attention helps in all kinds of ways. We’re more aware and in-tuned to our surroundings. Maybe you go through the work day on Automatic pilot. Or you are just sleep walking through your life.
Try this. Try experiencing something routine as if it was the first time. When you look at your spouse or children really pay attention to them. When you go to work, learn or experience something as if it’s something new and exciting. Take a walk and really look at the details. What a wonderful world we live in. Mindfulness and Shoshin helps us experience things like it’s all exciting and brand new (because if you think about it, every moment is brand new). Try doing something mindful: try tuning in to life. It’s really a wonderful experience.