Beginners Mind: Cultivating Healthy Attitudes in Sober Living

lily pads

Beginners Mind, or (Shoshin, in Japaneseis a popular term in the Zen School of Buddhism. A beginners mind is considered an “open mind” or an “empty mind.” When your mind becomes demanding, or longing for something or lacking it, then your mind is restless and small. The beginners mind is the mind of compassion and is boundless.

Jon Kabat-Zinn describes Beginners Mind as a perspective of freshness in every moment. Seeing all things and people as if you were seeing them or it for the first time. We often like to see ourselves as  “expert,” filling us with very few possibilities, since we already “know it.” Often we are stuck in our opinions, projections,  feeling states, cycles of behaviors. In Beginners Mind, we approach people and things as open and perceptive minds that experience each moment as new and exciting!

Beginners mind is suspending judgement, bracketing the labels in life. We label everything, including ourselves! Once we label something we cannot see it any other way. In Mindfulness practice we are encouraged to see things as they are…see and experience others as they are, instead as the labels and judgements in our minds.

In sober living, we foster beginners mind.  We ask residents to experience their work, family, other residents, places and things in a different – “label-less” fashion. Too often, people in early recovery bring (or carry) negative labels that either they have developed and fixed, or others have taught them regarding people, situations and countless other perceptions. These labels often lead to strong reactivities and put a person in early recovery in “threat mode” and possibly relapse.

If you, or a loved one is in need of a healthy environment that fosters beginners mind in early recovery and decreases the chances of relapse, then call us today at (215) 834-7979 and speak with one of our highly credentialed therapists and staff.

“Always be a beginner” 
Shunryu Suzuki

Related Posts