Is it possible to enter every exchange and activity as if you were doing for the first time? Obviously there are times when the first time experience is real, but what about times when situations are similar, or the theme resonates through your life. How do we face a life-altering diagnosis with new eyes? Is it possible?
The Buddhists speak about beginner’s mind. When I first heard the idea I was puzzled because I didn’t understand how you could wipe the slate clean as if you have no history. Over time I realized part of the process is abandoning your expectations about the outcome. Relieving yourself of the a definitive outcome before the experience has happened. This seems like an easy thing to accomplish, but in reality it’s probably one of the more cumbersome practices of your spiritual life.
When facing an illness, beginner’s mind can focus on the idea that your experience is only your experience. That means that anything others have told you about their experience is anecdotal and doesn’t predispose you to the exact same experience. Whenever we are facing new experiences as humans there are too many variables to take into account. Think about friends who have been pregnant, some have morning sickness from the moment of conception and others are still waiting for the experience.
Allow yourself the opportunity to take your treatment, your support system, your spiritual practice as individual as you. Give yourself the opportunity to be surprised at the outcome instead of imprisoned by it? Find new ways of making the experience your own and leave it at that, your experience. We can share our experience, but only as a place of empathy, not the final say i the outcome.