Guiding Light: Beginner’s Mind

Guiding Light: Beginner’s Mind

Ritesh AswaneyUpdated: Friday, March 08, 2024, 08:23 PM IST
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There’s something quite precious about a no-moon night, a dark sky, like a blank sheet of paper, with infinite possibilities, and the stars, like little bubbles of ideas, shining brighter than ever. Maha Shivratri of course takes this to an entirely different level, as that union of the energies of nothingness and infinity becomes available all at once. A night when we celebrate the grandeur of Shiva, in all his forms, through song, dance and meditation.

Years, or even several births of existence have clouded our minds, and there is a deep connection between the moon and the mind, as described in our ancient texts, including in astrology. Our mind is nothing but an identified collection of thoughts; when there is no thought, it ceases, even if briefly. Operating from a beginner’s mind is the perfect antidote to the prejudice and preconditioning that we find ourselves burdened with, giving us the opportunity to open ourselves to new possibilities, and approaching things with a fresh pair of eyes.

Our limitations are often self-imposed, they only exist until we start believing that what we want to achieve is within reach. We fall prey not just to peer pressure, but also negative self-chatter, which causes us to doubt our own abilities, sometimes even when there is a past track record of achievements. Being grounded in the present allows us to operate from our current frame of reference, rather than being lost in the past or thirsting for the future.

Being in the absolute present is a state of no-mind where, free from thought, one abides in the state of being. It is easier said than done, of course, as the modern age of knowledge work has made us so dependent on our minds that it’s almost impossible to even press pause for a minute, leave alone turn it off. It’s incessant and oftentimes draining.

Maha Shivratri presents a unique opportunity where there is a natural upsurge in our consciousness, if we become available to this energy. You don’t need to do much, but there are certain things that help. What we eat and how we breathe greatly control how we feel, therefore eating sattvic food and focusing on your breath are a great start. So if you have always intended to start a spiritual practice, grab this golden opportunity with both hands, and plant the seeds of pranayama or meditation on this most auspicious night of Shiva!

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