"Every human being has everyday life experiences that we share common ground with one another, even if it's not an exact empathetic match to our own. Nonetheless, we are often being prompted to focus more upon our differences instead of what unites us as fellow imperfect human beings with stress-filled lives, who are also trying to get through the day – the week – the month – year.
"This practice re-minds us how similar other people are to us, thereby cultivating a sense of inclusion and equality, as well as fostering other powerful, so-called "soft skills" like kindness, compassion, patience and non-reactivity, so vital when we are in stress inducing situations or interactions where we may at least temporarily forget our shared humanity."
"We can become so full of ourselves with our own knowledge, ideas and opinions and so trapped by old mental patterns and conditioning that we've filled ourselves up to the brim and nothing else can get in. Mindfulness practice allows us to see that much of the mental conditioning and belief systems we've been taught, and how they keep us from seeing new possibilities and ways of being and doing. The state of beginner's mind that was first taught by Zen Buddhist teacher Suzuki Roshi in his book Zen Mind Beginner's Mind is what is often referred to as bringing an empty rice bowl to our practice."