So here you are. It’s your first time practicing meditation and/or yoga. You may be thinking… What should I expect? What am I supposed to feel? How do I do this? How do I progress? Am I doing this right?
These were some of the questions that I had when I first started practicing, and at times they still arise. In beginning any new activity, we often bring questions and inquiries, as they help us to better understand ourselves and our surroundings.
What I have found through practicing meditation and yoga is that regardless of your experience, you are always a beginner in your level of understanding. A famous Zen master Shunryu Suzuki writes, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities but in the expert’s mind there are few.” I appreciate this quote because through our practice, we begin to explore a deeper notion of who we are and what is actually possible.
Michael Phelps, 31 years old and the most decorated Olympian of all time, states, “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” Similarly, our minds as beginners are blessed by the possibilities of the unknown. With the unknown, comes the possibility of ______________(fill in the blank) to be known. A wonderful gift indeed!
Unfortunately, fear tends to be our biggest crux. Instead of feeling big, strong and confident, we can feel small, isolated and even lost. With fear, we become trapped in our own beliefs and cannot see the beauty that others insist is possible.
I, too, have been victim to my own beliefs and stories about “the way things are supposed to be”. Truth be told, freedom is much closer than we may realize. When we begin to question these strong and rigid thoughts and fears, we start to open up to what is possible. The same understanding that Zen master Suzuki portrays and the same feeling that Phelps described soon become our reality.
As we begin to open our eyes to the possibility that we can experience life as beginners, we start our journey moving forward toward something new, unknown and profound.
As was stated in a famous chant Asato Ma Sadgamaya from the Upanishads:
Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
From Non Reality to Reality Lead me
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |
From Darkness into light lead me
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya |
From death to eternal happiness lead me
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||
May there be peace, peace and ever lasting peace.