Imagine seeing something for the first time. Its texture, its smell, its sound and maybe even its taste.
Think about a small child seeing something colourful and the joy and their mothers voice. What about that first taste of chocolate or ice cream?
A beginners mind captures just that. That innocent anticipation of something new and exciting. Basically the thrill! As life develops we allow so much to interfere with these sensations and forget to enjoy and savour the simplest of experiences.
- let our thinking and our beliefs about what we ‘know’ stop us from seeing things as they really are.
- lose the ability to see things as if for the first time with a sense of curiosity and genuine interest
- stop being receptive to new possibilities.
- forget that each moment is unique and contains unique possibilities.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
By definition, having a beginner’s mind means having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and freedom from preconceptions when approaching anything. Beginner’s mind is actually the space where the mind does not know what to do. It is that delicious state when you are sure of nothing, yet completely fearless, totally available to the moment.
We all start off with a beginner’s mind! Every time you learn something new, you are in ‘beginner mode’. Then what happens to that wonderful attitude down the line? The moment something becomes familiar to us, the mind tries to take over, calling up memories, and creating expectations and fears which stop us from connecting directly to the reality of the present moment.
- Try it with someone you know – next time, ask yourself if you are seeing this person with fresh eyes, as he/she really is? Try it with problems… with the sky… with the dog… with the man in the corner shop.
So what can we do to bring beginners mind into our everyday lives?
Here are a few practices from Mary Jaksch of Goodlife Zen:
- Take one step at a time.
- Fall down seven times, get up eight times.
- Use Don’t Know mind. Don’t pre-judge.
- Live without shoulds.
- Make use of experience. Don’t negate experience, but keep an open mind on how to apply it to each new circumstance.
- Let go of being an expert.
- Experience the moment fully.
- Disregard common sense.
- Discard fear of failure.
- Use the spirit of enquiry.
- Focus on questions, not answers.
With a Beginner’s Mind, you will be more open to possibilities and more creative. You will also form closer bonds with others in your life as they experience your interest in them and your appreciation for their thoughts and ideas.
What adults can learn from kids
This short TED talk by “child prodigy” Adora Svitak is getting a lot of buzz this week. What Adora says is not really anything we do not already know, but perhaps we need constant reminding. I guess children are good at reminding us about what’s important.
Imagine as a child going to the circus for the first time, seeing the beach or putting your feet into the sea and sand. The textures, the wnd on your face, the colours, thelights!!