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Face every moment with curiosity

Unsplash - Curiosity

I don't have a concrete daily routine to be present, except from focusing on everything I'm doing. 1 exercise, however; I do every morning. Meditation using an app which provides an exercise of roughly 10 minutes, covering new topics every day. Although topics do change, the technique is always the same. In a nutshell, it's focusing on your breath to stay present. And if you notice your thoughts wander, let focus on your breath again. After a couple of days, it felt repetitive. I started struggling to motivate myself to do it.

One day, the meditation was about "Shoshin" a Japanese Zen term that translates to "Beginner's mind". It suggests facing everything with curiosity, with the mind of a beginner, no matter how often you believe you have faced this situation.

Remember a newborn baby who is facing every new second with excitement and curiosity as he or she grows up? We all can learn a lot from children. Probably, this isn't the first time you read or hear it, and probably you were saying this several times to others yourself. As we grow up, our mind grows as well. Absorbing and adapting to what the world teaches us. This starts very early in our family, and if not, at the very latest in school. We are confronted with concurrence thinking, striving for recognition, being judged, measured against what our society has defined that one should be, know, or behave like. We've trained ourselves to think that way and ended up becoming slaves to our own minds, which always craves rewards, so that we can feel "good", recognized, important, and happy. Problem here is that we perceive and value the world in exactly the same way.

Over time, our thinking has become an expert of millions of situations. I wrote already about it from a different view angle in my post "Experience what you see instead of what you think you see". If we make ourselves aware of this whenever we encounter a "known" situation. Adopting a beginner's mind, things will suddenly start to "feel" differently, as if they would with the mind of an expert. At first, our mind will throw in thoughts like: "Ok, I'm focusing, but what's so special now? I see a landscape I have seen before or listen to that guy who's always talking about the same things that I have heard a thousand times. Except that I'm paying more attention. It still is what it is." That's absolutely normal. It requires practicing, wherein our mind won't help us much. Obviously, because our mind has learned it differently and we're trying to change the way our mind worked so far.

If I take the example of meditating, always focusing on the breath to stay present. If you do meditation, you probably feel or felt the same repetitiveness as I felt at some point. Adopting a beginner's mind, supporting curiosity. Concretely, observing the detail of your breath, which definitely hasn't always the same rhythm, depth and so on. Also, paying attention to everything around your breath. Following your breath through your body. How does your throat feel when inhaling and exhaling? Just note the difference between what you thought you knew and how you're experiencing it right now.

The situation doesn't matter. Meditation was only an example. You might think about it when you go for shopping next time, or something else. Just pay attention to whatever happens, like a beginner would do. Notice the difference in lightning, or smells. Since you probably hate going shopping after work, notice how and where you feel the stress within your body. Notice how other people appear or behave while going shopping. Be present whenever you can. Your mind will adapt after a while.

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