The concept of Beginner’s Mind comes from the Zen Buddhist word ‘Shoshin’. You will hear these terms used interchangeably. Beginner’s Mind is having a new or blank state of mind, free from preconceived notions and judgments. This conscious choice can allow you to best learn and receive. It’s often applied to studies, even (and especially) if the student is studying an advanced subject.
While Beginner’s Mind is a great way to approach learning, many have adopted Beginner’s Mind in their lives beyond studying subjects. They’ve applied the concept to very mundane, everyday activities, relationships, work, or things they have struggled with in the past.
You’re well aware how much we are on auto-pilot in our lives. Beginner’s Mind is a form of Mindfulness. It allows us to slow down, make better decisions, for ourselves and those around us, and ultimately, relieve stress.
We often readily believe what we hear or quickly fill in blanks we should think longer about. Can you recall the last judgment you made? What might have happened if you didn’t have the judgment? Would you have had a more pleasant experience? Would something regular seem like more of an adventure?
Beginner’s Mind is about viewing life with an open mind and fresh eyes like a child would. And it has the power to awaken curiosity, imagination, and possibilities.
Here are some of the benefits of Beginner’s Mind:
1. Every day is like your birthday
Birthdays just feel extra special, don’t they? It’s a day that we wake up and wonder what the day will have in store for us. Every choice you make on your birthday seems to be so much more intentional. With Beginner’s Mind, you can have that feeling every day.
2. Fewer expectations
We’re often anxious about events we have to attend, people we’re about to meet, presentations we have to give, etc. With Beginner’s Mind, one free from being infected by the past, you can wonder what will happen, rather than worrying that something bad might happen.
3. We’re better people
With Beginner’s Mind, especially with people we are in very close long-term relationships with, we can see situations much more clearly. Rather than being influenced by our history with them, we can just see them right now, in this moment. They will sense that energy and might even act differently than you expect. Beginner’s Mind is a blessing.
4. Approach work with more joy
Dread, burnout, and boredom can ensue at a job you don’t like or have been at a long time. When you put your Beginner’s Mind on, you can actually enjoy each detail of the work. You will view your work in an entirely different way. It may even reawaken a passion.
Now that you’ve learned about Beginner’s Mind, where in your life do you need to apply it most?
Everyday life and in small decisions, like what you eat? How you spend your time? How you treat people around you as you go about your day?
Do your relationships suffer? Would they benefit from some extra attention and something new?
Try this activity.
Choose an area of your life that would benefit from you having a Beginner’s Mind about it.
Imagine that you’ve never done it before. How would you do it if you’d never done it before?
Take your time looking at or feeling each detail of the activity you’re doing. Are you noticing things you hadn’t before?
How do you feel about what you are doing? How does it feel different than how you’ve done it in the past?
Beginner’s Mind sounds truly magical and transformational, doesn’t it? Won’t you try it and share with us your experience in the comments below?