Beginner’s Mind

Today I came to an important realization, and wanted to share a short post.  As I thought about many of my old blog posts, I realized that some of them were written the way an insecure teenager has a conversation.  A lot of imposing beliefs, incomplete thoughts, and trying to control what people think. I am both humbled and thankful to have come to this realization.  I had a friend take a look at some of my posts a while back and he gave me good constructive feedback that should have tipped me off. Instead it took several months to come to realize the substance behind what he was trying to tell me.  

Many of our life’s roadblocks are created from a place of good intentions.  These blog posts started with good intentions.  I had gained a new sense of freedom, found myself happier, more content, and more effective than I had ever been.  Out of this came an idealistic view that I could share what helped me with others, and they would love it.  I was so excited about this path that I failed to realize two important things.  First, I was only beginning the journey, not an expert.  Second I assumed that if it was good for me that it would be good for everyone else.  The truth is that not many people read my posts at all.  All my effort to shape the way someone else was thinking would have been better used trying to more clearly articulate what I was learning. This would have furthered my own learning as well.  Instead I was trying to come off like the expert in these blog posts.  This left me unintentionally closed off to seeing the value in having a beginner’s mind.

Shoshin is a concept from Zen Buddhism that means “beginner’s mind”.  Zen masters would teach their students to approach things from this perspective. In my own words, it is the understanding that no matter how much you know, there is still so much more to know that you are still a beginner.  If you approach a new endeavor with a beginner’s mind, it leaves you more open to learning, and less likely to find yourself closed off from the truth.  From today forward I think it might be beneficial for me to proceed with a beginner’s mind.  If you are one of the twenty or so people who have been reading my blog posts regularly, thank you for bearing with me through this lesson.

In my next post I want to share what this experience is teaching me about the freedom provided, and the importance of not judging others. 


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