The New Year’s meditation retreat vividly reminded us that “mind matters most”.

Indeed, how are we to truly reach our potential if we do not undertake mind training and learn to control our own mind?

And if not our potential, how can we be successful in the next thing we start if we don’t get our heads in a good position?.

Whether that is another meditation session or a conversation with a loved one or with a colleague. Or perhaps a project or a board meeting. Or a new year’s resolution.

Mind training for the masses

Headspace, the online health company specializing in meditation, certainly has gone head first into the new year.  With a smart move of partnering with Netflix to release a series on meditation. Standing on the shoulders of giants, who have helped bring the contemplative and meditative practices, particularly of the Buddha, to the masses over the centuries.  For me, those giants include S.N.Goenka who in an effort to keep the integrity of the Buddha’s teaching created dhamma.org, Jon Kabat-Zinn who brought mindfulness into the medical world and founded the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programme, and Tara Brach, who combines western and Buddhist psychology in a poetic spiritual way.

And with all of them, our mind training starts with the breath.

That which is always with us.

Beginner’s mind

That breath is the foundation of a ‘beginner’s mind.  Which encourages us to start afresh with whatever we face. We learn to approach things and people as if for the first time. Without preconceived notions, assumptions and judgements. We don’t react from a place of what we know but lean into the openness and curiosity of the unknown.  And we deal with what is in front of us. With the reality as it is. As opposed to what has happened or not happened in the past.

If we give ourselves the opportunity to adopt such a mindset, we set ourselves up for a better chance of success.

As Goenka invites us to do in the Vipassana meditation or mind training,

 

“Start.

 

Start with a calm and tranquil mind,

 

An alert and attentive mind

 

A balanced and equanimous mind”

 

Photo by Sabine Schulte on Unsplash

 

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