In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind, there are few.
We spend years accumulating experience and expertise, which helps us to achieve our goals. But do you ever feel a little bored and burned out, or like you’ve “been there, done that”? Do you find yourself repeating patterns that you’d like to change? Are your set beliefs inhibiting your curiosity? Do you need some new sources of inspiration and creativity? The remedy might be to embrace a beginner’s mind, or the Buddhist concept of “shoshin”.
Adopting a beginner’s mind means questioning and maybe even shedding our conditioned beliefs and assumptions and loosening the grip of the ego. It means embracing the unknown. It might even mean admitting that we “don’t know”, rather than feeling like we must always have the right answer.
Think about children, who are ‘”beginners’ at life. They approach the world with boundless curiosity, questioning everything, and eager to learn. They ask “why?” hundreds of times each day. They are not jaded or cynical, and they find delight in simple aspects of life. This leads to a constant flow of wonder-filled discoveries. Or you can think about the fresh perspective Ted Lasso came with to the world of soccer, er, I mean football. Everything could be questioned, which led to amazing results.
On the Mat.
We already know that our practice is different every time we come to the mat. The same postures feel different depending on how tired we are, what we’ve eaten, what stressors we are dealing with, and more. Yet we still often come to the mat with expectations. To cultivate a beginner’s mind, let go of needing to “execute” a posture perfectly, or to feel as flexible or strong as you were in a previous practice. Approach the practice with curiosity, noticing the rhythm of the breath, the feel of the mat under your hands and feet, and all of the sensations in the body. It’s great to come to a posture that you do often, such as Downward Facing Dog, and approach it as if it were your first time. With that approach, it may feel fresh and new, and perhaps even point you to some new insight.
On Your Drive Home.
Are you ready to be a beginner again? And again, and again? Try these tips and share some of your own! Let me know how it goes!
Be Well. ~Lisa