Two years ago I decided to finally take my haphazard meditation practice to the next level. I downloaded the app Headspace and I went through the various levels and teachings. Without sounding too dramatic, it was life-changing. One particular lesson I learned was about Beginners Mind where you try to go into the meditation with a sense of wonder and curiosity. You don’t go into the mediation with any expectations for it to be like the other times.
I carried this lesson with me everywhere. This Beginners Mind is what allowed me to create my Weight Loss Secret System. Taking what I learned from different teachings, different ways of cultivating long-term change, and integrating over five different sciences to make something unique. The opposite of Beginners Mind is the words I know. These two words can be the biggest roadblock on your weight loss journey. Let me explain.
Have you ever uttered those two words while rolling your eyes appalled that someone would think you didn’t know about what they were saying? I know I have. Let me explain what happens when we do this. First, there’s a big difference between knowing something and doing something. I know a lot of things. Do I do all of them? Nope. So what happens when I declare I know to someone trying to tell me the importance of breathwork? I am simply giving myself an ego boost, declaring my brilliance for knowing about a particular thing.
As someone who likes to dip their toe into various knowledge pools, I try to catch myself when I utter the words I know. There is nothing wrong with the current knowledge you have. The knowledge you have is valid and warranted but it’s also cool to be curious about what someone else might be able to add to, or completely change what you know about something.
When you utter the words I know you put up a brick wall to new things trying to find you. Some people wear their I know like a shield. They’ve learned one way of doing or being or thinking and stick with it like gum to a shoe. Stubbornness is real. I think stubbornness steams from fear. Fear of failing, fear of being wrong, fear of change, fear of actually succeeding. But no matter how much you know, there is always more to know, more questions to ask, more combinations of possibilities, and different sides to the story.
There is no way you can know everything. Drop your ego, you don’t have to be right, there is nothing wrong with being curious to know more. When you drop I know, you can take more leaps of faith and see your blind spots. We like to use our knowledge as a barometer of power. We were taught knowledge IS power and when our knowledge is prodded our power is at stake. We’ll do anything to maintain this sense of power to the point where we don't see how we can be just as powerful with different knowledge.
Resentment and Judgment
I have a friend who is doing a lot of things that I know I should be doing to improve my health and wellness. Am I doing them? Nope. Am I moving the dial forward towards improvement? Not in those particular areas. Do I feel a sense of resentment towards this person simply because I feel less than for not doing these amazing things? Yes. Am I still doing other amazing things for my health and wellness? Yes.
This resentment from guilt and or shame causes us to avoid whatever it is that we know we should be doing but aren’t. Maybe we speak poorly about it or make fun of those who are doing it to make ourselves feel better. Judgment is a defense mechanism. If you find yourself in a similar situation/scenario, you have two options, either start doing the thing or be okay with not doing the thing. If you chose option one, understand that your experience will be different than everyone else’s. It may look different, it may feel different. If you choose option two, understand that there is no room for shame or guilt here. Not everything is for everyone. Maybe it’s not the right time for you but whatever the reason for choosing not to take action, don't beat yourself up over it.
If in the past you’ve followed a certain protocol to lose weight but didn't get the results you wanted you can not assume the same thing will happen in the future. Why? Because you are not the same person you were when you first tried it. You’ve been through some shit, and there’s likely at least one thing different about you. I believe you’re automatically a new person because you have this new experience under your belt. Yet why would you expect the results to be the same?
These expectations, be them good or bad, are what block endless possibilities. Playing with uncertainty can be scary (that’s why we love control so much) but we can’t even begin to fathom the unlimited combination of potential possibilities. This is where beginners mind comes in handy. It doesn't matter how many times you’ve done something and you think you’re an expert at it, step into it with a childlike wonder and curiosity of what this current experience has in store for you. Every time you go into the activity do so with a beginner's mind. This allows you to be curious about your potential and to be less judgmental about yourself. There is no need to compare your current self to your past self.
How to let go of I Know
Before you can let go of I know you have to know where it comes from. It could come from a preconceived idea, expectation, or prejudice stemming from as far back as childhood. The first step is to being aware of when you say I know and why.
When you notice yourself saying I know and shutting down further conversation about something, ask yourself:
“Why am I opposed to this idea?”
“What is it about this idea that feels like an attack on my sense of self?”
“What could this person or concept offer me?”
You will drastically accelerate your weight loss journey and your personal development when you become aware of your I knows and implement beginners mind as often as you can.