Shoshin - The Beginner's Mind
I was doing some reading and reflecting last week, and came across the concept of the Beginner's Mind in several different ways, so it made me do a little digging on the origin's of this concept.
The term itself is the Japanese word Shoshin, made up of the two characters for beginner and mind, rooted in the ancient practice of Zen Buddhism. It was popularized in the English-speaking world through the 1970 book, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki. One of the things he wrote to summarize Shoshin was, "in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few."
I think part of the reason I was drawn to this idea is because I am getting ready to turn 55. That feels like a significant milestone, or at least a good reason to do some self-reflection! One of the conclusions I have come to in this reflection (so far!), is that I don't want to become "set in my ways" as I continue to mature. I want to be a life-long learner. Someone who lives from a place of curiosity and openness, rather than being closed and thinking I already have everything figured out.
I think maintaining a child-like beginner's mind is one of the ways to do that. It certainly doesn't discount all of the learning I have already received, or the experiences I have already encountered. It just means I continue to remind myself that there is still a lot of room to grow and learn and adapt as life continues to unfold.
How about you? Where are the places in your life it would be helpful to embrace the beginner's mind perspective? Are there situations or relationships that you think are set in stone and there is no room for growth? What would it mean to approach those with a mindset that looked for new angles or possibilities you haven't considered before?
Today is a good day for Shoshin - The Beginner's Mind! Be Well, Stephen
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