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Mindfulness Meditation: Beginner's Mind


Updated August 29, 2008

Beginner's mind is an aspect of mindfulness that is difficult to grasp but is very important, particularly if you are struggling with symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Beginner's mind means looking at things as if you are seeing them for the first time. Beginner's mind can help us to see things in a new light, rather than automatically respond to them with the same old patterns of behavior.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Look around your bedroom and find one object that you have had for a long time -- something that is very familiar to you. It may be a wall hanging, book, plant, or even a piece of clothing.
  2. Sit down somewhere you can view the object you have chosen, close your eyes (if this feels comfortable), and take a few deep breaths. Set your intention to cultivate beginner's mind.
  3. Open you eyes and look at the object you have chosen. Imagine you are from Mars and have never seen anything like it before. Really look at the object without judging it.
  4. Notice the unique qualities of the object. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Where does it catch shadows or reflect light?
  5. Continue to really examine the object. Do you notice anything about it that you hadn't noticed before?
  6. When you are done looking at the object, reflect on this exercise. Did you learn anything new about the object you chose? What would it mean if we were able to approach everything in our lives with beginner's mind? Are there objects, people, or situations that you tend to react to "automatically," as if you already know what they are?

What You Need

  • A quiet place
  • A familiar object
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