What Is "Beginner's Mind"?


There are a handful of ideas that are super helpful when you’re first learning to meditate. One of them is “beginner’s mind”. We asked WITHIN Teacher Devon Pipars how she would explain it.

I’ve heard that there’s something I’m supposed to practice when I meditate, called “beginner’s mind”. Can you explain what it is, and how I get into that state of mind?

When meditators refer to “beginner’s mind”, it means coming to the practice without ideas, judgments, or expectations.

So, even when you’ve been practicing for years, you cultivate “beginner’s mind,” which means that each and every time you sit to meditate you show up with the openness and innocence of the first time.

When it comes to meditation, being a beginner can be a real advantage! 

How would having that perspective help me meditate better?

As you make a commitment to developing self-awareness through your meditation practice, give yourself the gift of ease. Meaning, if you close your eyes and you are watching a mind-storm, stay as the sky, without resistance, allowing whatever is being expressed to be released by your witnessing.  Then sit again the next day, without re-hashing, free from worry. 

I can see how that would help when meditating feels hard - when I’m feeling anxious, for example. But what about when it feels good? Do I keep that same openness?

Yes. If you close your eyes and find your mind absorbed into the sweetest and deepest stillness you’ve ever known, stay as the sky, not claiming or grasping the beauty of the rainbow.  Then sit again the next day, without expectation, without the hope of reproducing that experience.

So no matter what happens, I’m just noticing it - good or bad, positive or negative.

Beginner’s mind is simply allowing things to be exactly as they are in that moment, without preference or prejudice.

How can meditating with a beginner’s mind help me be less anxious and stressed in my daily life?

It is precisely through this act of observation, rather than participation, that we begin to recognize our true self as the unchanging, peaceful Knower at the back of all experience. 

This realization sets us free from the constant worry, anxiety and stress of identifying only as the ever-changing mind, emotions and body.

We confirm, through our own direct experience, that no matter what is being noticed in the body or mind, we remain pure and free.

Devon teaches our afternoon & evening classes several days a week. She has a passion for helping students deepen their practice, whether you're just starting out or have years of experience. Join her for a class this week, or get a taste of her guidance virtually through WITHIN's channel on the Aura Health app.