If you’ve been around meditation for a while, one keyword you’ve heard over and over again is beginner’s mind. And if you actually take the concept seriously, you know just how important keeping it can be. For those new to meditation, beginner’s mind refers to a state in which a person experiences each moment for what it is. Meaning, the ability to meet a moment unbiased by one’s story, habits, or judgments.
In this Huffington Post from Michael Sigman, the benefit of beginner’s mind is explored. According to Sigman, meeting each moment fresh allows a person to experience the coincidences that are so much a part of life. More so says Sigman, beginner’s mind during meditation is akin to play, a vital and necessary state for a person’s overall health and well being.
The biological need for the “altered state” of play is the focus of psychiatrist Stuart Brown’s books, articles and this remarkable TED lecture. Demonstrating the transformative power of play, Brown offers a scene of a polar bear and a husky — normally mortal enemies — cavorting together without a trace of hostility.
Modern technology reveals that play lights up the brain in such desired areas as clarity and memory. Common sense tells us that if we’ve been encouraged to play as a child, beginner’s mind comes more naturally as an adult. Conversely, Brown’s research suggests, the absence of play in early life can have dire consequences. In fact, he claims, most serial killers were deprived of childhood play.
Read more on beginner’s mind during meditation and how it can lead to play here.