When we learn as we are experiencing the moment, or learn as we go to put it a different way, we are embarking on an experiental journey. It’s adapting to the new experience as it is unfolding. Such is the way of life, and doubly so as I head out on my Hawaiian vacation.
In “Calming Your Anxìous Mind”, Dr. Jeffrey Brantley highlights seven essential attitudes for cultivating mindful awareness. One of these attitudes, “A Beginner’s Mind” focuses on being “open to the experience in each moment as if meeting it for the first time. Our “thinking mind tends to believe it knows all about what is happening” and even tries to put it into neat little categories. It acts as a filter between you and the direct experience.
So how does one approach life’s journey, a vacation, a trip to the store or even a bout of anxiety with new eyes and a chance to learn?
Each moment is unique. Though you may have been to the store a hundred of times, you haven’t experienced this trip before. You may have been to Hawaii — but you haven’t had this exact trip before. Find the unique, differences. Approach the experience as a child — see the moments as they are now, from the sights to the smells and the tastes. In short, don’t label it as “been there, done that” but rather enjoy the moment for what new thing, item it can teach you.
I think there are times that we get wrapped up in our to-do lists. We journey from destination to destination, tourist hot spot to tourist hot spot without actually stopping to smell the orchids. We get so focused on what we have to see, that we fail to see what we are looking at.
Toss away the tour guide or must see list and lose yourself in the moment – whether it is on the Big Island or in the spice aisle at the grocery store. Every opportunity offers us a chance to learn about ourselves, our surroundings and gives us a deeper sense of connection.
See the world through a beginner’s eye. Step out of your sensory rut.