2021~ Beginner’s Mind
Beginner’s mind, also often stated as “begin again” is more than a phrase, it’s a stance, or even more aptly, a state of consciousness.
What this is not.
This is not an attitude of resignation, or a case of messing up therefore I should begin again.
What this IS.
This is a state of curiosity, of openness, perhaps even of wonder! There are neither negative thoughts nor emotions accompanying this stance.
When to use Beginner’s Mind.
Beginner’s mind is often used as a tool to stop the age old habit of beating up on one’s self, of seeing one’s self as wrong, or shaming one’s self for making mistakes. Beginner’s mind is employed consciously to a situation in which you recognize that you are in the midst of a learning curve and you’ve gotten off course. It’s time to redirect or re-engage anew. In this case beginner’s mind gives us the opportunity to begin again with the same fresh energy we had at step one.
Beginner’s mind is also a very helpful tool when we think we know something. As you may have figured out by now, people who think they know something are the worst kind of students! Well hello! Those people are also us! We all, at times, suffer from too much smugness. When we think we know something we stop listening. Beginner’s mind opens our field of awareness to engage with greater curiosity and sensitivity. It kicks us out of auto-pilot and back into a state of wonder!
The older I get, the more I notice that things I once thought I knew, I was merely scratching the surface of. It seems that anything worth even the slightest contemplation becomes a bottomless well of potential knowledge once you engage curiosity. In other words, the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. Therefore, beginner’s mind is an ideal mindset in which to approach anything you already think you know.
And then there’s this: if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that change is gonna come, and it’s not likely to come in the ways we expect.
Beginner’s mind, I’ve often thought, is a spiritual mindset … A mindset that’s open to stepping through portals into new possibilities. A mindset that makes room for the unexpected. A mindset that’s less fixed and more fluid.
Consider letting beginner’s mind be your companion as we step forward into 2021. Try it on, see how it feels. Perhaps reach for this mindset especially when you think you know something or when you're feeling stuck in your ways or perspective. Allow beginner’s mind to become your teacher and guide this year … use it as a touch stone, see it as a lens that makes everything brighter and more open, feel it as a hopefulness that keeps you feeling just a bit more safe with uncertainty.
Afterall, none of us knows the end of this story we’re in the midst of. All we know is the space of this moment, and one thing we can count on is uncertainty and change. Beginner’s mind might be one of the shifts in our collective consciousness that’s going to help us make our way through this portal we’re in the midst of, having left Kansas behind … and rediscover our world anew, which may be a lot more like Oz than we once suspected.
May we greet each new day with openness, curiosity and warmth!
Blessings to you and yours,