Thought for the Week: Beginner’s mind

September is typically a back to school month and so I’m looking at the theme of “Back to Basics”. I’d like to begin with the topic of “Beginner’s Mind”. Initially the term “beginner’s mind” comes from the Zen Buddhist tradition. But it reaches farther and deeper than just any one tradition. To put on a beginner’s mind, step into the arena of becoming as a child. Children are open, they have no preconceived notions or expectations when presented with a new situation. They are also curious and aren’t afraid to ask questions. They approach experiences with the notion of learning and accept that they might not do something perfect the first time around.

By looking at each situation with fresh eyes, we avoid jumping to conclusions and are able to fully live in the present moment. Life never duplicates itself. Each moment never happened before. The wise beginner stays away from making assumptions and thinking they know all the answers. To live in the present moment can give us unexpected gifts.

One of the most supportive ways you can act with a beginner’s mind is to simply say to yourself, “I don’t know.” When we let go of pretense and are open to newness, we are teachable. Let down your guard. Remove the word “should” from our vocabulary. Drop the ego’s voice that says, “I know that!” Make the concerted effort to approach Life one moment at a time. If you go to your favorite restaurant and order your favorite dish, remember to be open for a fresh taste this time around. Remember, Life never duplicates Itself.

Say with me: “I intentionally view each moment with fresh eyes. I am open and curious. This moment is as perfect as it can be. And I am grateful. Thank you, God. And it is so.”

—Rev. Gay Beauregard, Alpine Church of Spiritual Living


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