“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”
–Shunryu Suzuki (Founder of SF Zen Center)
I love this quote because it reminds me that the mind is the filter through which we see the world around us. What Suzuki meant by “beginner’s mind” is that when when we look at the world with fresh eyes, there is a newness and vividness to what we see that allows our minds to be open to new possibilities.
When we take things for granted, when we stop seeing with fresh eyes, the world around begins to get stale. Old and uninteresting. Beginner’s mind is a way of thinking and being in the world that can re-kindle the freshness and newness that makes everything around us sparkle with vibrancy. When we see the world with beginner’s mind, we become inspired, energized, and excited.
The first step is to engage in a simple thought, try saying this these words to yourself. “I don’t know, but I am curios” Repeat several times and notice how it feels to be in that place of not knowing but openness.
Now, use the trigger question “What is happening right now?” to uncover how are you blocking yourself and what obstacles stand in the way from seeing the world with fresh a new eyes. Take a few moments to either note silently to yourself or to write down everything that you can perceive which includes what you are seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, thinking, and feeling.
Try this exercise in different settings throughout the day to start to develop your beginner’s mind muscles. After all, when you change the way you see, the things you are looking at also change!