A new MBSR Course starts this evening, and as always I am looking forward to meeting new people and to working with them on developing the day-to-day practice of mindfulness. Starting a new Course always stimulates me, because it brings me back to starting again, with fresh eyes, a collective ongoing work. I am exploring again, in an intensive way, a familiar terrain. It is not just the work of those who are starting the Course, it is my work also.
It renews my day to day life, because daily practice is an ongoing laboratory for examining my mind and my life. And they are always changing. So meditation is a starting over, a new beginning, every time I sit down. The introductory words said tonight can be freshly applied every day: No matter how many times your mind wanders, simply go back to noticing your breath, without making any judgments. In other words, Don’t be too interested in how well you are doing. Be interested in how well you start over.
It is the same in our lives outside of formal practice. We make intentions to change, to have a new beginning. And often we fail. However, we base our confidence to change on a gentle attitude toward ourselves. When we get lost we simply say, “I will start over again”, without judgment, thus avoiding the negative energy of blame and returning to the present moment. In this way we cultivate faith and confidence and move toward the future.