Returning to Beginners Mind

December 19, 2015

Floating is a practice. As with any learned experience, it is tempting to take on an attitude of knowing what to expect as we return.

But, floats are always shifting—and they are primarily an art of letting go. On days we arrive to float with this expectation of knowing what to expect, we may actually feel held back from our deepest experiences and levels of relaxation.
Floating is described as “effortless”, but with our mental powers this description comes with a bit of irony. The greatest hindrance to relaxing is often our own minds. The environment of the Float Pod can effortlessly relax us—more so to the degree that we can stay out of our own way.
Though we “learn” to float with each session and experience greater benefits, our mind can still get in the way, from time to time.
Here are a few suggestions to to approach your 100th float with the same beginning mindset as the 1st.

3 Ideas to Enter a Float With Beginners Mind:

1. Return to Original Technique.

Breathe. For the first float we recommend counting breaths (as many as 300) to help you relax while bringing the mind to the present moment . If you’re anything like me, you may be tempted to ditch your “beginner” technique a few floats in.
After several sessions that felt distracted and less than relaxed, I returned to counting breaths; my sessions returned, again, to taking on a deeper note.
As you breathe, you might imagine softening your body as much as possible, consciously relaxing more and more from head to toe. Combined with counting breaths, you’re apt to find yourself more relaxed and experiencing a greater sense of openness.
When we have expectation as to how we expect a float to go, we are inherently attached to an outcome—restricted, anticipating—yet floating’s greatest transformations may occur in the space and softness of letting go that we allow ourselves to experience.

2. Embrace the Adventure of Not Knowing.

Before beginning your float, consider spending a few minutes deciding to “just see what happens”—this time. When we believe we know what to expect, or how to do something—we have limited our ability to experience the full richness of what this float has to offer.
Floating is both a verb—and a transformative therapy. Both our experiences of the floats, and the person experiencing them (us) are shifting—see what today’s unique float has to offer. Maybe today “getting what we need” means deep relaxation—or falling asleep. Maybe today is humbling; a reminder that—whether the first float or the 100th—our mind still has thoughts…lots of them.
Trust that your body and mind will get what they need, without your conscious effort.

3. Refrain From Beating Yourself Up.

Nothing keeps a float from being as awesome as it could be more than ridiculing yourself for having thoughts—which only furthers a struggle to let go and relax. Remember that floating is not staying present—it’s the practice of returning to the present.
Put differently—the thoughts won’t go away, but we can approach them differently: rather than latching on and resenting them, with practice in the Float Pod we can develop a skill of letting them “flow” by. As a coworker once told me: you need to let go of letting go. Step back, and let floating just happen.
But, when you do get distracted, focus on gently returning—rather than ridiculing.

What are your tips for embracing beginners mind? Please share in the comments!

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